Dan Bailey: Why Bailey Is the Dallas Cowboys Most Underrated Player

Michael Pizzutillo@@Mike_PizzutilloCorrespondent IIIDecember 19, 2012

Bailey has been sensational for the Boys
Bailey has been sensational for the BoysRonald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s time for Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey to receive some well-deserved recognition.

For a long time, the Cowboys were searching for a solid and consistent kicker.

They have finally found their man.

Over the years, the Cowboys have sent a laundry list of kickers onto the field with one simple instruction—kick a field goal. Accomplishing this simple task seemed nearly impossible. To a kicker’s credit, a field goal takes skill, knowledge and ice running through the veins.

The majority of Cowboys' kickers lacked one, if not all of these necessary skills.

Former Cowboys kicker David Buehler was supposed to be the man for the job. After the revolving-door of players before him, Buehler was ready to take the reins.

The result was the same—another failed kicker.

During the second game of the 2011 season, the Cowboys were visiting the San Francisco 49ers and Bailey received his opportunity. The Cowboys took the opening possession and drove the ball down to the Niners’ three-yard line. The Cowboys wasted no time in testing their new kicker.

Bailey missed a chip shot from 21 yards.

Fans and the entire Cowboys' organization were left shaking their heads at another terrible kicker.

But Bailey would have his redemption.

In that same game, Tony Romo injured his ribs but managed to remain in the game. Bailey was called on again to attempt a 48-yard field goal, only this time it was with seconds remaining in the game and the Cowboys were down three.

Bailey nailed it.

It took a moment for fans to realize the magnitude of the kick, as this was not something the Cowboys faithful were accustomed to viewing. 

Later in that game, Bailey kicked a 19-yarder in overtime to seal the victory. The earlier miss was now forgotten and replaced by hope. Tony Romo was the focal point of the Boys' victory, but Bailey had quietly earned the respect of Cowboys Nation.

Since then, Bailey has evolved into the consistent kicker that the Cowboys have been missing for many seasons, and when he steps onto the field there is an air of confidence among the fans and players. According to Rainer Sabin of Dallasnews.com, Bailey recently tied a Cowboys' franchise record with his seventh game-winning field goal, an amazing feat considering Bailey is still in his second season. 

Now if only the Cowboys could find a strong safety.

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