I originally wrote this last week, but after today's action, I figured it needed an update. Note in the picture how clean Nate Kaeding is!
Wow. It's just incredible that the roughest, toughest game of all gets to be decided by somebody who can't play. If you saw the Arizona Cardinals beat the Green Bay Packers in overtime last week, you know what I'm talking about. Probable Hall of Fame quarterback drove the Cardinals down to easy field goal range for what should have been a game ending kick. Game ending kick. How I hate that phrase. One of the best playoff games of all time was going to come down to a routine play.
For the record, kickers made 240 of 287 attempts from 30-39 yards this year. That's just a hair less than 84%. The kicker who caused this article was even better - 6 of 6 from that distance and 6 of 7 from over 40 yards. I don't have the stats in front of me, but in the NBA, I'm sure that free throw averages are less than that. Only basketball players have to get fouled in order to shoot a free throw.
In the NFL, if you get halfway close, you're pretty much guaranteed 3 points. The worst part is, the guy doing the kicking isn't even a football player! Just in case you don't know, this kicker missed. His team won the game anyway.
Of all the professional sports, only football allows a player to contribute who has never played the game. It doesn’t make sense.
You can't name any professional sport where you could bring somebody into a game who has never played the sport before, who could decide the outcome with a game winning effort. None. In fact, the thought is ridiculous.
Baseball? Commonly thought of as the least athletic of the major sports, you won’t be able to beat the bushes and find someone who can either throw or hit a 95 mph fastball unless they’ve been working at it for some time. Let alone play the field.
Basketball? Nope, you might find a guy could make 100 straight free throws, but he would never be able to compete in an NBA game.
Hockey? I don’t think so. I don't know hockey, but even a goon would have to stand up on skates a little bit.
How about Golf? Volleyball? Cycling? Nope. Nope. Nope. Curling? I wouldn’t know, but those guys seem to know their way around a broom. I bet no is the answer there, too.
But football? Just about any soccer player could walk on to a football field and kick a game winning field goal. Sure, he (or she, and I can’t wait) would have to practice a little bit to be any good, but the fact remains, if you can kick, you can decide NFL football games. Most soccer players could be ready in a week. Absolutely ridiculous.
Some will say that they are highly trained and blah blah blah. I bet they are the ones when a team has a fourth and one and everybody in the stadium is pleading for them to go for it, there's this one guy screaming at he op of his lungs, "No no no no no NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Kick a field goal!"
There is nothing worse than a brilliantly played football game coming down to the final minute, then being decided by a field goal.
In fact, the better the game, the more likely a kicker will be the one to finish it. The only time a field goal attempt is exciting is when they botch the snap! They might as well drive down to the 25 yard line, run the clock to 3 seconds, and flip a coin.
Anybody who says, “I’m going to keeeck a touchdown,” as Garo Yepremian once did, has no business on a football field.
You will be happy to know I have a solution for this. Have a kicker. After all if no one kicks off, the game can't start. But instead of some clown who couldn't possibly play the game, have the kicker be an actual football player. You know, somebody who blocks or tackles or catches a pass. Make it be somebody who appears in 20% of a teams offensive or defensive plays, so you couldn't hide a guy who could only kick in the lineup just so you could have a better kicker.
What could happen? Maybe, on fourth down, coaches would go for it more often. Is that a bad thing? Maybe, in the last two minutes of a game, you would see a running back trying to get a first down instead of positioning himself in the middle of the field to set up a kick. Maybe, you would see football games decided by football players. That, in the words of convicted felon Martha Stewart, would be a "good thing."