the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Game, Two Game Winning Kicks

Adam Vinatieri did it again - another clutch playoff field goal. With 53 seconds remaining and the Colts trailing the Jets 13-14, he nailed a 50 yard field goal. Unlike his kick in the snow and his Super Bowl winners however, this one will not be long remembered by history. For in the subsequent 52 seconds the Jets negated his efforts by managing to pull out their own game winner by Nick Folk. Vinatieri noted afterward:
"Crap. It's one of those things where you go from a super, super high to a super, super low. You just sit there and swallow that pill for a long time."
History will remember Nick Folk's kick on the final play of the game.
"There's been some game-winners, but I don't think anything to this magnitude with this much on the line. Our season's done if it doesn't go in."
He'll be remembered along with Matt Bahr, the only other kicker to face a win-or-lose kick on the final play of an NFL playoff game. Other big playoff kicks still had time left on the clock (see Adam Vinatieri above) or had a tie score as one of the possible outcomes of the kick.

Folk's game winner ended up being a 32 yarder, comfortably less than his self-determined range.
"I told them 35 [yard line] was a good number for me. I can hit a 53 pretty confidently. I think that's what they were thinking and then they called a timeout and Schotty [offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] called the play to Braylon [Edwards] and Braylon went up and made a great play."
The kick process itself as described by Folk was all text book... Treating the kick just like any other kick:
"I really wasn't thinking much. I was just trying to go out there and make it look like an extra point."
Clearing the mind and relying on muscle memory:
"I couldn’t tell you what was going through my mind at that point. I’m happy it went in."
Hitting the sweet spot and knowing the result at the moment of contact:
"I've had some good ones, but nothing like this. I knew it was good when I hit it."

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