Tag Archives: forward pass

NFL17 Cherry Picks W9: It’s Paradise Found For Gridiron Leg-Men In London Town

4 Nov

NFL London Games is proving a Paradise for those players rostered to leg the ball, whether it be field-goals, kickoffs or punting the pigskin (cowhide) to opponents in an act of sportsmanship on their own failure to fashion a score.

That last bit is on slim chance a reader new to North American football (China, GreatBritain, Mexico, etc.), just happens to read my post and could use a little insight into just exactly how the gridiron game works and why (I’m still cricket-challenged). And that’s a chance slimmer than the one the Cleveland Browns presently hold (0-8) for winning the 2018 Lamar Hunt trophy (+ SB52 ticket to Minneapolis 2.2.17). But you do what you can.

In this age of massive passing stats, still highly-valued run-games (See; Ezekiel Elliott), sieve-like defense (prevent) and corresponding scoreboard tilt, kickers in football have generally been treated by most fans as chopped liver: Not a salivator but good for the mind and body.

One man’s punter whipping-boy can be another’s perfect athlete. That’s the case for NFL kickers when they sail off USA shore to the other side of the pond.

Here’s what the Browns injury-sidelined, perennial All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas had to say in observation of the Twickenham Stadium crowd while in attendance of last Sunday’s Pond East contest (and loss) against the Vikings, with Wembley Stadium serving as the other NFL London venue:

“The English sure seem to enjoy the kicking plays, the biggest applause seem to be these punts (USAToday – sports, 10.30.17 (@ JoeThomas73 on Twitter))!”

In actuality, this would be more of a return to paradise than a first find, as the kicking game was, in football’s early years, one of its most valued aspects.

Names like Pat O’Dea (UW 1898-99 (CFHOF 62)) and Jim Thorpe (Carlisle 1910-12 (CFHOF 51)) made national headlines with their famous footwork, long before Walter Camp turned the forward pass into a gridiron strategy staple.

The English (rugby) and the Mexican (fútbol – soccor) can teach us Yankees a new perspective, a broader appreciation for all the aspects of our own game. Because as every NFL fan knows, the kicking game, with all its memorable moments both good and bad can, when you least expect it, prove decisive.

And that’s the way we want to keep it. ¡Sí cómo no!

NFL17 Cherry Picks W9

Cincy @ Jaguars: 11.5 CBS 1:00: Jackson
LosAngeles @ NewYork: Fox 1:00: Giants
Atlanta @ Carolina: Fox 1:00: F-Birds
Baltimore @ Tennessee: CBS 1:00: Ravens
Arizona @ SanFrancisco: Fox 4:05: 49ers
KansasCity @ Cowboys: CBS 4:25: Dallas
Raiders @ Dolphins: NBC 8:30: Oakland
Detroit @ Packers: 11.6 Disney 8:30: Lions

Record: 34 – 23

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFL-symbol, wikiproject, 2011; mini-skirted-legs, wc.cca, S/E-England, 1972, IXIA; J.Thomas, D.Whitner, E.Drost, 4.14.15, wc; Cherries-ripe, wc, 6.24.07, Chirak; mini-skirted-lady, wc, 8.5.70, PiccadillyCircus, JaneArt
Posted: 11.3.17 @ 11:29pE; Copyright © 2017


NFL15: Tinker Bell Alert at Owner’s Meet

23 May

They’re back at it.

The tweakers, or as I’ve begun to call them, the tinker bells.


Those in the NFL’s upper echelon, probably under 30, who seem never satisfied with their wildly successful enterprise and must tinker or fix something that most often seems to work just fine. Change for change’s sake.

The Tinker Bell reference has nada to do with the Disney computer animated fairy, but rather, the J.M. Barrie character in the 1904 play titled, Peter Pan, who “mended pots and kettles…of the fairy folk (Wikipedia).” Just wanted to be clear.

Case in point: At the 2015 NFL owner’s meeting being held in San Francisco this week, the Competition Committee voted upon and discussed a number of topics, among them the placement of the PAT attempt (point after TD), also known as the extra-point (XP).

Overwhelmingly, members voted to change the point of placement from the 2-yd line, a spot it’s been for about 100 (?) years, and move it back to the 15, with Oakland and DC voting, nay. In addition, if defenders recover the ball on a block or fumble, it can be returned to the kicking team’s end zone for 2-points. Yippee!


And word is, more changes could be in the offing.

One famous sportswriter has called the extra-point attempt the “most boring” play in all of tumultuous merriment (I was a fan of sportswriter Heywood Hale Broun). He actually wrote “sport (“Fixing the Most Boring“ / 5.19 / P.King / SI).”

Myself, I’d argue the most excruciatingly “boring” part of any NFL game telecast are the scads of TV time-outs that water-down the action we attempt to drink in and digest with some semblance of continuity.

Every NFL fan knows as much and appreciates that the “PAT” has historically added a finer point of skill-test, diversity, as it were, to the game.

And though proponents of the change would probably say, ‘We didn’t ditch it, we made it more challenging so it can work as it may’ve been originally intended, as a possible point of distinguishment to prevent tie scores.‘ Fair enough.


But apart from the fact that nobody, not so’s you’d notice, was complaining, this constant tinkerment with kicking aspects of the game of gridiron appears headed to what a small sect of ants-in-their-pants types seem more set on and that is elimination in its entirety of the foot-game from football, an aspect that’s pre-dated the forward pass, put at 1906 by some, 1876 by others (Camp & Thompson).

Buffalo Bills’ 29-year old place-kicker Dan Carpenter, who’s entering his 8th year as an NFL assailer of pigskins (spheroids today made of cowhide) and who made the 2009 Pro Bowl, is not all too happy with the XPA rule changes.

Dan wonders why a change that is likely (not “more probable than not”) to increase the rate of harder “collisions” with the 2-point gain gotten in a return of blocked kick, when the League and union have taken steps to reduce chances of such violent contacts?


And for the record, Carpenter has missed but a mere two XPAs in his NFL career (217 / 219). Highly challenging they are not.

Change can be good, for many reasons. Maybe best when it leads to the eliminations of unnecessary risks to player health, unsportsmanlike conduct or enhances a valuable competitive spirit of the sport.

But when agents-for-change ($) seek to validate their jobs by fixing things that work, including logos & uniforms which remain pleasing to the mass of fandom (See; Nike), in utter indifference to the Big Boring (tons o’ TV time-outs), changes that can sometimes go haywire (See; NCAA OT), it’s time fans sent the NFL a message: Stop tinkering with our game, tinker bells. We’re happy. If the faux fans are not, they can take up biking, watching HSN, solving math puzzles or tune into Disney’s ESPNU. It’s 24/7. Knock yourselves out, with loads of fun.


Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: B.Cundiff, wc.cca, 8.2.14, E.D.Drost, CLE-NFL; M.Crosby, 10.7.07, wc.cca, P.Cutler, GB-NFL; J.Reed, wc, 9.29.08, Andy, PIT-NFL; J.Brieske, Michigan, wc, 1947; R.Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG, T.Wade, USMA; Tinker.Bell, WonderCon, wc, 7731, Mooshuu, 4.19.14; NFL-symbol, Wikiproject.
Posted: 5.22.15 @ 11:26pm; edit 5.23 @ 1:07am EST