Mike Vanderjagt is losing his mind. He's shattered emotionally. He cries in the team showers after everyone else has left. He drinks excessively to drown his sorr...well, Peyton told us that already. My point is, he's a shell of "the most accurate kicker in NFL history," a term that once described Vanderjagt as well as "idiot kicker," still does.
Last season's missed field goal against Pittsburgh, I think, did something to Vanderjagt. This season, he's gone 10-13, missing one each from 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49 yards. This, of course, includes yesterday's missed 35-yarder, which could have won the game but instead found nothing but the flesh of Troy Vincent's hand. Time was, Vanderjagt would be, to use a cliche, automatic with the game on the line, especially from 35. Not so anymore.
It's reminiscent of the stories of Byung-Hyun Kim and Rick Ankiel, to a certain degree. All three were accomplished (or young and extremely talented) players, two of whom (Kim and Vanderjagt) had a specialized role that the team depended solely on them for. And all three had embarassing blow-ups in the playoffs -- Ankiel against the Braves and Mets, Kim against the Yankees, Vanderjagt's miss against Pittsburgh -- that appeared to shatter their confidence and effect the rest of their career.
Right now, Bill Parcells is weeping. The Cowboys' two biggest offseason additions have been flops compared to what the Cowboys thought they were getting -- I don't remember seeing Terrell Owens drop this many balls ever, and Vandy can only kick between fits of self-loathing and tears.