Jeff Feagles, The Unsung Hero!
As bloggers, writers, reporters, or what ever title we who chose to use this forum to express ourselves use, when it comes to football, we tend to magnify the meat and potatoes of a team. Especially when it comes to personnel, mainly the offensive and defensive players.
For those who enjoy offense, we write about the quarterback and his likeness to God. Examples of the durability and elusiveness of running backs grab many headlines. As well as, the sheer speed, fearlessness (for those who choose to come across the middle) and ability to gain position for receivers.
Then there are those of us who appreciate a great defense. We foam at the mouth for speedy defensive ends that routinely hold meetings on the back of quarterbacks. The line backers that can cover anything in a 20 yard radius. And not to mention the shutdown corner and the hard hitting safety. As a fan, the performance of those positions garners so much attention because they are very visible.
However the glory the offense and defense receives rarely seems to find its way to special teams. I understand that special teams are not overly glorious, with the exception of the kick or punt return for a touchdown. Many fans take them for granted. Unless you get to watch Devin Hester every week, special teams is that thing in the way of your offense or defense showcasing its respective talents.
For those, who think that way, you are sadly mistaken, especially for New York Giants fans. As a loyal legion that goes to games wearing jerseys with #10, #17, #80(lets be honest, very few of us are going to throw a $75 jersey away just because he’s in New Orleans) just to name a few, I have never seen a #18 jersey at the meadowlands. (It could be due to the fact they don’t sell them, but some one could have created a fake jersey, but I digress.)
The readers that are still here, I know what you are saying, is he paying homage to a punter? The answer is a resounding yes.
Mr. Feagles has proved to be as valuable as any member of the G-men. Part of the success of the defense is a direct result of his play. In 2007, 25 out of his 71 punts were inside the 20. While 10 of those 25 were inside the 10. When your punter is putting a third of his punts that deep, it makes the opponent’s offense work much harder to score.
If we delve even further into those stats, he had 71 punts, 17 of those were fair caught. So out of the remaining 54 punts, the Giants only gave up 173 punt return yards. That equals a whopping 3.2 yards a return. So, for the punt returners, they caught the ball took three to four steps forward and were tackled, pretty impressive.
In the post season, he proved to be just as efficient. In 19 punts, 5 were fair caught. Of the remaining 14 the Giants allowed a 2 yard average. (He consistently gives the defense a chance to succeed when the offense is stagnating.) The artistry in which he directional kicks and pins the opponent is something that should not be taken for granted.
I understand it is hard to ignore the Manning to Tyree catch. Who didn’t see Osi embarrass Winston Justice in prime time? Or even how Brandon Jacobs bruises potential tacklers, just ask Charles Woodson and Nick Barnett. However, watching a team’s offense start a drive on its 3 yard line is just as impressive. Or seeing Devin Hester totally taken out of a game by great directionally punting is sensational.
Going Into his 22nd year in the league Jeff Feagles has proved to be Mr. Reliable. Jeff Feagles is not your typical player on special teams. He does not trot out on the field, with that embarrassing single bar helmet like so many of his predecessors. He has a job to do, and he does it exceptionally well. Hopefully, fans of big blue appreciate this unsung hero, and maybe one day Feagles jerseys will be the chic thing to wear.
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