Long the ugly stepchild in locker rooms, the NFL kicker in recent years has seen quite a gain in popularity.
Postseason heroics of guys like Adam Vinatieri and record-setting efforts like Matt Prater’s have helped kickers’ credibility, but it’s the increased strength in their legs and their smack talk where kickers really have made inroads.
And now one of the biggest trash-talking punters just set the bar at an all-time high — in the strength of his legs and his words.
The Indianapolis Colts’ Pat McAfee, long a must-follow on Twitter, on Tuesday told the Indianapolis Star he wants to pull double duty one day (presumably after Vinatieri, the current Colts kicker, retires), and that if called upon now, he could connect from 75 yards out.
Again, 75 yards.
The current NFL record is 64 yards, and that just happened in December off the foot of Prater. In the mile-high altitude of Denver.
"We could legitimately go from 75 yards. Not even a question about it," McAfee told the Star. "I think in warm-ups I’d be able to hit from 80, like full strain. Probably try it a couple of times."
In 2011, McAfee released a video of him hitting from 75 in Whitewater, Wisc. Hard to judge the wind from the video, but the city sits at an elevation of 823 feet (or nearly 4,500 feet lower than Denver). See the feet (OK, the feat) for yourself:
Talking a big game is nothing new for McAfee (though admittedly he usually does his talking through Twitter).
For you haters, he has these tweets:
Tired of all these "Claims" and "says" talk by writers w/o doing research.. This video was filmed at sea level
And if this plan backfires, it wouldn’t be the first time a Colts kicker put his foot in his mouth. Shortly after Indianapolis lost to the Jets in a wild-card game in January 2003, Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt criticized quarterback Peyton Manning and head coach Tony Dungy, questioning their mellow demeanors and their leadership.
And here was Manning’s response at that season’s Pro Bowl, which will live in infamy.
Vanderjagt was replaced by Vinatieri before the 2006 season — and the Colts won the Super Bowl in that first post-Vanderjagt season.
And let’s enjoy some other classic moments in kicker revelry: