Kickers: still a big part of the game

It’s the first week of October so you know what that means… It’s time for me to recycle my column on kickers, revise it and publish it again.

Once again my favorite aspect of football, special teams, has been assailed by another member of the media who thinks kickers are incompetent fools who belong on a soccer pitch rather than the sidelines of a football stadium.

This time the foolishness comes from the mind of ESPN’s Skip Bayless. This is the same guy who has nothing positive to say about almost any athlete and is a journalistic vagabond, who before landing with ESPN, trashed athletes in Chicago, Dallas and San Jose. I forget that he has the same amount of athletic skill as many NFL kickers do in their left nostril.

Kickers, and special teams are a vital part of any football game. Had Delaware State’s special teams been anything less than stellar in the Hornets’ victory last month, FAMU would be 3-2 on the season rather than 2-3.

How many other people on campus were asked to tryout for the football team six months ago, after nailing a few 45-yard punts? Here’s guessing none.

To quote Bayless:

“Giant, gifted men battle their guts out playing a violent game, and the outcome is all too often decided by some former soccer player who has absolutely nothing to do with football. No football talent. No football heart. No football mind.”

Is he serious!

I guarantee Rattler kicker Wesley Taylor has football talent, certainly more talent than Bayless.

Another ESPN columnist, David Fleming, wrote a column on the exploits of Carolina Panthers kicker John Kasay during training camp. In a nutshell, Fleming described how Kasay and the rest of the Panthers specialists didn’t do much in practice. So much is true. At least Fleming acknowledged that he would not envy kicking a last minute field goal to win a game.

Mr. Clutch, otherwise known as New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinateiri, might have nerves of steel but not all kickers do.

I almost lost my lunch when I had to attempt a crucial field goal in high school, kicking is that stressful.

One missed field goal can cost a lot of people a lot of things. It cost my high school an undefeated season in 2001. It has cost Bobby Bowden at least one national championship. And it cost Scott Norwood a career.

You remember Scott Norwood, the guy who missed a 47-yard field goal in Super Bowl XXV to cement the Buffalo Bills fate as the biggest losers of the 1990’s.

Bayless, and others, may think kickers don’t belong in football. However, I doubt he could thrive under the pressure of being fired should he botch one commentary.

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