You remember all the big moves this offseason: Edgerrin James, Drew Brees, Terrell Owens, Daunte Culpepper, Mike Vanderjagt, Adam Vinatieri...
Wait, what? Since when has football degraded to the point that relocating kickers receive this much press? In Indianapolis, Vinatieri is absolutely dominating headlines with the state of his non-kicking foot. He says it's fine, the team says it's a sprained ligament, Vinatieri's mom says it's a broken foot. Either way, he hasn't kicked yet and his availability for week one is questionable.
In Dallas, Mike Vanderjagt is polarizing fans more than T.O., which is something I quite frankly never thought imaginable. Vanderjagt missed two field goals in overtime, 32 and 33 yards, and now finds himself answering questions about his psyche after the hilarious missed field goal which helped eliminate the Colts from the playoffs last year.
Here's a quote I find interesting:
But Vanderjagt remains confident, pointing out that he was 1-for-3 in the 2003 preseason, then made all 37 of his kicks in the regular season.
"I've shown I have the ability to turn it up when it counts," he said.
Right. You have the ability to turn it up as your team is rolling through such stiff competition as the Titans and Texans. But what about that pesky Pittsburgh miss? Isn't that when it really counts? I mean, the Colts almost went undefeated last year and were trying to erase doubts that they couldn't win the big game. That nagging question was lodged between your holders finger and the field, and you pushed it wide right. So, maybe you can't get it done when it counts?
But what this proves to me, more than ever, is that there is no place in football for kickers. I know this is a heated debate, and has been, but what do they really add to the game? Many argue that the possibility of a climactic ending -- the game on the line, dangling on the chances of a 50-yarder -- makes the end of football games more exciting. That certainly holds water. But ask the players on the sideline, the ones who've just fought for 60 or so minutes, how exciting it is that the outcome of a game they worked entirely on is going to be determined by a guy who spends the game kicking a ball into a net 5 feet away. Besides, one of the most exciting ends to a Super Bowl to me personally was Kevin Dyson coming up a yard short against the Rams. That game ended on a pass, not a field goal.
Eliminate field goals, eliminate extra points. What's the purpose of PATs? Why not make touchdowns 7 points? Or, if you want to give teams the ability to tack on after a touchdown, why not make 2-point conversions mandatory? By eliminating field goals, you're forcing teams to go for the big play. You're making the coaches step up their efforts as it pertains to scheming, and you're making the players try harder. You're opening up opportunities for hail marys, elaborately drawn up trick plays, and laterals.
That would put the end of games into the hands of the players who actually play them -- right where they should be.