It must be rough to be a kicker in the NFL. Most of them are great at their job. I mean, they only have one job to do. While players on the offense and defense have to learn complex schemes to score points, stop the opposition from scoring points, dish out and take huge hits, the kicker only has to put the ball through the uprights. But sometimes, things go incredibly wrong in the worst possible moments. In the spirit of scapegoating, I present the top five idiot kicker moments of the modern era.
5. Mike Vanderjagt, 2005 AFC Divisional Playoffs
The Colts, who at one point trailed the Steelers 21-3, rallied back to get the game to 21-18 with 21 seconds left to play. Mike Vanderjagt, who had been damn near perfect all season, was called on to send the game into overtime. Well, he blew the kick about 75 yards to the right and his career fizzled out afterwards. (Video quality is a bit shoddy, only one I could find that actually showed the kick. The little kid talking says ‘he’s gonna miss it.’)
4. Billy Cundiff, 2011 AFC Championship
Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff was a Pro-Bowler in 2010, and was 16 for 16 in the 4th quarter all season before this kick. The Ravens had played their hearts out this game against the favored Patriots, and Cundiff crushed all their hopes and dreams by shanking this chip shot. But, the Ravens did win the Super Bowl this year. No harm, no foul. Right?
3. John Carney, 2003 Regular Season
This missed extra point by Carney defines insult to injury. In what became known as “The River City Relay”, the Saints used a series of laterals to score in unbelievable circus fashion on the final play of the game. Carney came on to attempt the extra point, and completely missed it. This would have been number one had the game mattered, but the Saints playoff hopes had already been crushed earlier in the day when the Cowboys won their 10th game.
2. Gary Anderson, 1998 NFC Championship
This absolutely blows my mind. Vikings kicker Gary Anderson hadn’t missed a field goal all season long, as the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings seemed destined to go to the Super Bowl in 1998. With the Vikes leading 27-20 late in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons, Anderson came on for a game-clinching 39 yard field goal. To the shock of everyone on the planet, Mr. Perfect blew his perfect season and the Vikings season with one kick, as the Falcons went on to tie the game and win it in overtime.
1. Scott Norwood, Super Bowl XXV, 1991
Wide Right. The only Super Bowl of the four in the 90′s the Bills were actually competitive in, and Scott Norwood couldn’t hit the 47 yarder to bring a title back to Western New York. Some don’t realize it was the longest kick he had ever attempted on grass. Probably the closest the Bills will ever come to the promised land. Skip to 4:00 for the dramatics.
I wonder if he pushed it to the right because it may have been blocked had he kicked it right to the middle: