Perhaps with the exception of punters, kickers have the easiest job in the NFL.
Now sure, you could counter that statement by claiming a third-string QB has it made and I’d probably concede rather than debate you to no end. However, if said quarterback ever finds himself thrust into action, forced to swap his ball cap for a helmet, he’s undoubtedly going to get hit. Hard. And once he shows why he’s a third-stringer, will probably be released following the game — Case Keenum being the most recent exception to this rule. Even still, through two weeks, Keenum’s showing why Minny chose Kirk Cousins over him this offseason.
Meanwhile, kickers NEVER get hit, nor are they forced (much less expected) to tackle. Offensively, they can’t run, catch, or throw…
…yet, they’re still considered football players — participants in a game notorious for handing out free concussions as if they were EPs in Times Square. When was the last time a kicker suffered one of those? As morbid as it sounds, suffering a concussion is sort of a pre-requisite to calling yourself a football player. Thankfully, the league is working tirelessly to eliminate that reality.
Instead, kickers “battle” through timeouts called to mess with their confidence, commonly referred to as “icing the kicker” — why not make these fools chug a Smirnoff beverage before attempting game-winning kicks? How’s that for innovative thinking? Maybe then, we could actually refer to a kicker’s job as being tough.
*few more high kicks now to make sure the leg is warmed up*
Losing because Aaron Rodgers “goes off” is one thing. Rodgers is arguably the game’s best player. Losing cause your kicker spent too much time watching Ray Finkle is entirely another…if Rodgers beats you, tip your cap and move on. Quarterback is undoubtedly the game’s toughest position, even if you can no longer touch them.
I didn’t get drafted by an NFL team, nor did I dedicate my life to kicking sport’s most oddly shaped ball…but both Daniel Carlson and Zane Gonzalez did! And since the former became a member of my preferred team and subsequently forgot how to kick a ball through friggin uprights, I’ve lost all patience with him, not to mention the rest of these football imposters.
(Apparently, so to did the Minnesota Vikings who announced recently their plans to sign veteran kicker Dan Bailey, after waiving the rookie Carlson after only two games)
Carlson was drafted by Minnesota in the fifth round of the 2018 draft and was thought to be the kicker of the future…the Vikes even moved up in the draft to get the former Auburn standout, forfeiting two picks in the process. But after Sunday’s dismal performance, Carlson finds himself unemployed with a craptastic resumé, in terms of professional accomplishments. *Welcome to the show, DC*
Go ahead and call me all the names you want…I probably deserve to be called most of them anyway…but not for my reaction to this display of kicking ineptitude. There is no excuse to not be a near flawless kicker in the NFL today, though many will claim they face unparalleled pressure, to which I call BS…
Every player in the NFL is subjected to unimaginable pressure. But let’s stick to the offensive side of the ball, shall we?:
- I’ll skip quarterbacks because if you’re not aware of the pressures they face each and every play, you’re not a football fan which begs the question “why are you reading this?”
- Running backs absorb bone-crushing hits from substantially bigger human beings and cannot, under any circumstance, fumble the football. Meanwhile, they are given a mere 40 seconds to recover before having to do it again. Too many fumbles and you’re done in the league.
- Wide receivers, while more protected today than in eras past, must still make catches and hang onto balls as defenders hurl themselves at them like human torpedoes. Too many drops and they’ll find themselves unemployed. Also only have 40 seconds to shake off cobwebs left from jarring collisions.
- Tight Ends need to block AND catch passes. In some cases, they are asked to help block some of the game’s most elite pass rushers.
- Offensive linemen are the most underappreciated athletes in sports — it’s frightening watching what they go through each and every play.
Kickers who forget how to kick, whether through waning confidence or a sudden regression in skill, do not belong in the NFL. Given how many available kickers there are, second chances shouldn’t be automatically granted to those who spend Sunday’s booting footballs out the side of stadiums. They’re simply wasting the efforts of all their teammates, all of whom are real football players.
The prosecution rests.