Indianapolis Colts: The Saga of Kicker Mike Vanderjagt
Thank goodness the Indianapolis Colts washed their hands of Mike Vanderjagt when they did. Though Vanderjagt was the most accurate kicker in the history of the CFL and NFL at the time of retirement, he is remembered for his choke in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, ruining a fantastic season.
Well, six years later, Vanderjagt took choking into his own hands. (The 2005 NFL playoff game was played on January 15, 2006.)
After taunts and insults about his '06 field goal attempt that never came close, Vanderjagt took his frustrations out on a middle school student. Vanderjagt reportedly grabbed the boy taunting him by the neck and began cursing at him. His career as a soccer coach is now in question.
And Colts fans should be loving every minute of it.
It's not the fact that he missed the field goal that Colts fans should love. Vanderjagt was so accurate that when he shanked away overtime and a chance to host the AFC Championship game, Indianapolis was stunned and heart-broken. But there's a reason he was referred to as "Vanderjerk."
After a playoff loss in 2003, Vanderjagt ripped coach Tony Dungy and quarterback Peyton Manning. He claimed that Dungy was too mellow and questioned Manning's leadership. Funny thing is that Manning gave it right back to the kicker, calling him an "idiot" who got "liquored up and ran his mouth."
So the kicker butted heads with his own coach and quarterback. Publicly criticizing his organization was embarrassing and showed Colts fans the "idiot" he really was.
Do you pity Mike Vanderjagt?
Then came the infamous 2005 playoff game against the Steelers. Now, we are all human, so while Vanderjagt's kick never came close, Colts fans should have sympathized with him. But like a child, Vanderjagt slammed his helmet into the ground and picked up a 15-yard penalty. Though the penalty had no impact on the game, the lack of composure and professionalism did not represent the Colts in a good manner. And after that incident, it's fair to complain. Come on, NFL's most accurate kicker, you're in a dome!
Well apparently, Vanderjagt wasn't too upset about the kick. Four days later, he attempted and converted a 46-yard field goal on The Late Show with David Letterman. How he could miss the kick and go on Letterman four days later to have fun was mind-boggling. A public appearance, an easygoing and content one nonetheless, was the last Indy would see of him.
The Colts went out and got the respectful and clutch kicker with a "V" last name. Adam Vinatieri. And he appeared in two Super Bowls and won a ring with the team.
So go back to 2012. It's just hilarious that Vanderjagt hasn't matured. Don't pitty Vanderjagt for his missed kick. Scott Norwood missed an even more crucial one for the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, but conducted himself like a pro.
How low must a man go to choke or strangle a middle schooler for taunting him? He could have shown the boy how he is a top-five most accurate kicker of all-time. And Vanderjagt can't deal with criticism? At least his coach and quarterback, two likely Hall of Famers, never called him out.
So Colts fans, enjoy Vanderjagt getting a taste of his own medicine. He is a classless man who never won a thing in Indy.
And I think his 2012 choke might be a tad more controversial than the '05 one.
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