the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brothers in Feet

Brothers that kick have a long storied history. 

Most recently (just this past weekend) the Brothers Prater were in the spotlight.
Older brother Matt, the kicker for the Denver Broncos, hit a 59 yard field goal against the Jets. It was the longest of his career and the second longest in club history (some guy named Elam once hit a 63 yarder).
Younger brother Mason, the kicker for Webber International, also connected from long range - hitting a 54 yarder against Edward Waters College.

Two other brother pairs, each with one in the pros and one in college, have also been in the news this season. The Brothers Folk are having a successful 2010. Older brother Nick Folk, the kicker for the New York Jets, has bounced back this year after a disappointing 2009 that followed hip surgery. In the above mentioned game against the Broncos he hit a team record 56 yard field goal. Younger brother Erik Folk, the kicker for the Washington Huskies, was the hero earlier this month with his second annual game winner against USC. The Brothers Barth are also having successful seasons. Older brother Connor Barth, the kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is inches away from being perfect this year. His only two missed field goals - both this past weekend - hit the uprights. Younger brother Casey Barth, the kicker for the North Carolina Tar Heels, was named special teams player of the game following his instrumental role in a win over Rutgers last month. The Brothers Feely could soon join the group. Older brother Jay Feely is the kicker for the Arizona Cardinals and younger brother Tyler Feely is a freshman at Columbia University. It's not surprising that both ended up as kickers as their father Tom Feely runs a kicking school.

For kicking pairs where both brothers reached the pros, the Brothers Gould presently fit that bill. Older brother Robbie Gould, the kicker for the Chicago Bears, is currently the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. Younger brother Chris Gould, the kicker for the Chicago Rush, was named AFL kicker of the year back in August.
"Competitive would be an understatement. We hated to lose. If I had to go in and break my arm to win against Rob, I'd do it. Neither of us would let the other have an edge." - Chris
The NFL has seen several pairs of brothers over the years. For the Brothers Mike-Mayer, older brother Steve Mike-Mayer spent six years with four teams and younger brother Nick spent 11 years with three teams. For the Brothers Gramatica, older brother Martin Gramatica spent 11 years in the NFL with four teams (primarily Tampa Bay) and younger brother Bill Gramatica spent four years with two teams (primarily Arizona).
"Martin's the most serious of us, Santiago's the smartest, and I'm the loudest, but beyond that we're pretty much alike. We grew up close and expect to stay that way." - Bill
If we expand the family parameters, the Brothers-Cousins Zendejas had the most players in the NFL - with four. Joaquin Zendejas played for part of a year with New England. Tony Zendejas played for 12 years with four teams. Max Zendejas played for three years with two teams. Luis Zendejas also played for three years with two teams.
"Practicing by yourself is lonely. It's easy to make excuses not to do it. But having all of them around makes everyone try a lot harder." - Tony
In terms of sustained success in the NFL, the Brothers Bahr are atop the list. Older brother Chris Bahr played for 14 years with three teams (primarily the Raiders). Younger brother Matt Bahr played for 17 years with six teams (primarily the Browns). 
"Chris and I are three years apart and we've never really had to compete directly against each other for anything. So there really is not the sibling rivalry there. And we've always said we hope it doesn't come down to a last-second field goal on either part, simply because we wouldn't want to be put in a position of rooting against family." - Matt
In terms of historic impact, the Brothers Gogolak were front-runners in two significant changes. Pete Gogolak and Charlie Gogolak were among the first of the soccer style kickers that would eventually supplant the straight-ahead kicking style. Pete was also the first player to make the switch from the AFL to the NFL, when the Giants signed him away from the Bills, opening the floodgates which led to the eventual merger of the leagues.

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