Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thoughts on Kickers

I really don't know why the subject of kickers and punters has been on my mind lately, but it has. Here are the two thoughts that cursing me:

Whatever happened to barefoot kickers and punters? If you were an NFL fan in the '80s, then you can remember a time when numerous kickers and punters used to kick barefooted. As someone who grew up in a northern climate and who has damn near shattered his foot a few times kicking a football in the cold, I always found it idiotic. As such, I never paid much attention as the practice disappeared from the game until one day I noticed that nobody did it anymore. So what did happen?

Well, there are two theories. This one, put forth by Chuck Klosterman at ESPN, proclaims barefoot kicking to be a fad in a sport prone to fads. Possible, but it didn't seem like a very strong theory. The second theory seems much more plausible. Apparently, barefoot kicking is banned at the high school level in 48 states. Because of that, most kickers are learning to kick with shoes on. Changing to a barefoot style in college after growing comfortable kicking with feet clad in cleats could affect performance and therefore be seen as a risk not worth taking. So let's put the reason for the extinction of the barefoot kicker at 10% theory #1 and 90% theory #2.

Why is there no outrage over the lack of black kickers? When it comes to the NFL, race and the QB position have been a sensitive topic for years. But there is one position on a football team that has been decidedly non-black, and that is the kicker position. Where is the outrage, people?

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