Could someone kick 75 yard field goals with a 10% success rate?
December 26, 2004 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Does there exist a suitably gifted living individual (in the entire, bitchen world) who could kick 75-yard field goals successfully on ten percent of his attempts? Please note that an assessment of the kicker's worthiness for any other pursuit, or a discussion of the utility of such a person, is irrelevant to my question.
posted by Kwantsar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total)
I'm guessing yes. Watch those guys during practice and they really hit the ball. In a game situation, though, the trajectory is too low and in the reach of the defensive line. I think it's as much about blocking as it is about kicking.

Did ya know that the guy who set the current NFL record of 63 yards did it with only half a foot?
posted by Doohickie at 9:34 PM on December 26, 2004

Ola Kimrin hit a 65 yarder in a preseason game a while back. With suitable weather conditions, no pressure, and a red bull or two, I don't see why he couldn't hit one from 75. Sure.

Kimrin ended up being a kicker for the Redskins this season after their first kicker was injured. Kimrin can hit them far, but wasn't accurate and was then replaced when the original kicker was healthy again.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:45 PM on December 26, 2004

It's conceivable but seems highly unlikely. This is 20% farther than the record. Nor would the kicker's worthiness for this pursuit be very helpful; 10% is poor odds and would result in yielding superb field position far too often.
posted by mookieproof at 9:50 PM on December 26, 2004

My Australian husband answers: "Ha! Like, half the guys who play Aussie Rules." More seriously, I immediately thought of Johnny Wilkinson, the English rugby player that won the World Cup for them last year. He's utterly unbelievable. He takes drop-kicks at a full run - with either foot - from just about anywhere on the field. I think the problem is that kicking is so marginalized in American football that there's not a lot of value in specializing in it. In other sports elsewhere in the world - like Aussie rules, rugby union, and Gaelic football - kickers have a lot more potential to achieve "superstar" status.
posted by web-goddess at 10:17 PM on December 26, 2004

Yeah, considering the popularity of kicking-based ball sports worldwide, I'm pretty sure there's a few guys with the leg strength and general accuracy to perform such a feat if left unblocked.

Then when they're tackled by the ultra-massive American-size defensive line, they'll be remembered as a great kicker and a tiny bloodstain. (I kid, I kid. Sort of.)
posted by Saydur at 10:23 PM on December 26, 2004

the problem is that kicking is so marginalized in American football

... it would be interesting to know what percentage of total points are scored by kickers in a typical football season. If it's only 1/7, that's still 14%. With a field goal or two a game, that's pushing 25-30%. A kicker could easily be one of the highest scoring players on the team. Right?
posted by fourstar at 10:39 PM on December 26, 2004

A kicker currently holds the "Most points scored" record.
posted by esch at 10:51 PM on December 26, 2004

Ok . not really an answer to your question but an interesting "where are they now?" story about those crazy kickers. The college record for longest field goal is 67 yards held by three players, viz. — Steve Little of Arkansas, Joe Williams of Wichita St. and Russell Erxleben of Texas. Erxleben was one of the rare first round kicker picks (by the New Orleans Saints). After a lackluster 2-year NFL career, Erxleben eventually made his way into finance and is currently in prison for bilking clients. (and, on the this tangent the other kicker drafted in the first round, Sebestian Janikowski, has seen his share of trouble, an acquittal on Federal Bribery charges and assault.)
posted by Duck_Lips at 11:03 PM on December 26, 2004

You ever seen a rugby player, Saydur? They're not exactly small, and they're not wearing any padding either. :)
posted by web-goddess at 11:40 PM on December 26, 2004

I've seen a few kickers who could, with no cross-wind nor wind blowing against him, somewhat consistently kick the ball through the uprights on kickoffs, which would be 75 yards at the college level. So, field goals, with no running start and with a human holding the ball, probably not, but under perfect conditions, then probably yes.
posted by gyc at 12:05 AM on December 27, 2004

Off topic a bit but quite interesting, a discussion not so long ago over on SportsFilter led to rcade coming up with this:

Professional football player R.C. Owens nicknamed Alley Oop was considered one of the greatest leapers in NFL history. His jumping skills were so considerable that in addition to football he was also an accomplished athlete in both basketball and the high jump. In the high jump, in fact, he recorded a jump of nearly seven feet.

With this in mind, Owens and some of his teammates came up with the idea that Owens might be a formidable field goal blocker, only not in the traditional sense. They reasoned that longer field goals, if they make it at all, usually just miss the crossbar. So Owens decided to try blocking the attempt, not at the line of scrimmage, but in the end zone at the crossbar.

In 1962, Owens, playing for the Baltimore Colts, stood in the end zone and blocked a 40-plus yard field goal attempt by Bob Khayat of the Washington Redskins by leaping in the air and flipping the ball away as it was about to eke over the crossbar.

His victory was short-lived, because not long after, the NFL changed the rule and made this kind of block illegal. It's a good thing, too, otherwise modern fans might be putting up with high-flying basketball player, Dennis Rodman, through two sports seasons.

posted by geekyguy at 1:45 AM on December 27, 2004

Just adding to what esch said - usually, the kicker will be the highest total scoring player on his team during any given season, assuming he plays the whole year.
posted by swank6 at 3:40 AM on December 27, 2004

Might add that if you had a kicker that was capable of hitting 50% from 75 yards then you would still be giving up the ball on your own 25 yard line half the time all but guaranteeing the opposing team a scoring opportunity. No doubt a bold decisionwhen it works but a decision that would be certain to get a coach run out of town.
posted by geekyguy at 6:18 AM on December 27, 2004

On the 35 geekyguy, the field goal distance counts the 10 in the end zone.
posted by jmgorman at 6:38 AM on December 27, 2004

If it weren't for field goal kicking, the Packers wouldn't be on their way to the playoffs.
posted by drezdn at 6:49 AM on December 27, 2004

going back to the fact that there's agreement that some kickers have been able to get the ball through the uprights from a kickoff spot, why would kicking off a tee be "easier" than kicking with a holder? is there really enough energy being transferred to the holder's index finger to make it significantly more difficult?
posted by sachinag at 7:12 AM on December 27, 2004

going back to the fact that there's agreement that some kickers have been able to get the ball through the uprights from a kickoff spot, why would kicking off a tee be "easier" than kicking with a holder? is there really enough energy being transferred to the holder's index finger to make it significantly more difficult?

I think the fact that the ball is "teed" up helps here...with a field goal, its just sitting on the ground.
posted by keep it tight at 7:29 AM on December 27, 2004

As a fan of Aussie Rules footy, I've often wondered why more NFL teams don't bring some of the better players over. The Chargers had Darren Benett (I think that was the guy) for a number of years but he's the only one. Not necessarily so much for kickoffs but for punts, and lest any of you doubt it, these guys are as tough as ruggers from what I've seen while playing on a much longer field.
posted by billsaysthis at 11:57 AM on December 27, 2004

Kicking in NFL is far easier than in Rugby/Aussie Rules because you're always kicking from straight in front of the posts in American football. In Rugby/Aussie Rules you can be kicking at a huge angle to the posts meaning that not alone do you have to kick it 50m or whatever but that the apparent width of the goal posts decreases because of the angle.
posted by daveirl at 1:52 PM on December 27, 2004

I have a friend who could, in high school, *reliably* - like more than half the time - kick a field goal from the 65 yard line, although not in a game situation.

5 yards more, though, and he couldn't make it over the bar at all.

Poor fella didn't turn out all that well though - became a neurosurgeon.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:19 PM on December 27, 2004

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