the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Field of Unpleasant Dreams, part 1

In the ideal world, every snap, hold, kick & punt would be successfully identical. In the real world, numerous factors make that impossible at times. Of course the former could be rather boring and the latter can be very exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Aside from human factors, the surrounding environment also plays a big role in each play. Some football venues are closer to the ideal than others. Some are not. We asked our array of experts the following question:
What is the most difficult stadium/field/arena in which you ever kicked/punted/snapped?
Uwe von Schamann, NFL kicker 1979-1984
"Two come to mind. The old Metropolitan Stadium for the Vikings and Shea Stadium when the Jets played there. Also any stadium that shares the baseball team. Early in the season you had to kick off the dirt infield."

Todd Covington, All-Star Kicking
"Mine was at Morgan State. It was awful.... field was lop-sided, holes in the field, and the grass was about two inches tall!"

"No Question, Pittsburgh's Heinz Field is the worst field in the NFL and I've played in some of the most notorious games. One of the only ties in recent history occurred between the Falcons and the Steelers on a mess of a field that more closely resembled a beach than a football field. Dirt and sand combined with a cold November day created the perfect setting for a Steelers game. But that game paled in comparison to the field conditions for the Monday night affair between the Steelers and the Dolphins. A week of rain and the ill-fated decision to put new sod over the ruined old sod left the field a quagmire. In some places on the field you would sink up to your calf. It really was unwatchable football with the final score 3-0. The game was punctuated by a punt landing on the field and sucking into the ground, standing upright like an upside ice cream cone."

Brooks Rossman, Kansas City Kicking
"The most difficult stadium that I have ever played in is Virginia Tech. The field is grass and actually more like a hardened dirt. The stands are basically right on top of the bench and they are by far the loudest group of fans I have ever heard. They put big 12 stadiums to shame. They also have some interesting crowd chants to say the least."

"Chicago. The wind is strong and consistently inconsistent in its direction, the weather sucks, and the turf is crap. I think that pretty much covers all the bases :)"

Mike McCabe, One On One Kicking
"Chicago. In the old stadium the wind off the great lakes was average 20 mph, so for any player you must master punting into the wind. Any one can punt with it."

"Soldier Field in Chicago. I played in a 'Monday Night Football' game there on Halloween night in 1994 that was 38 degrees, torrential rains, and 65mph winds! I averaged 27 yards a punt and received a game ball. What fun!!!"

"When you are running up a hill and having to jump to reach the ball on a kickoff... farm field up north. Bring a shovel for gameday."

"In my case, the most difficult stadium to play in was also the most fun.

Playing for the Houston Oilers from 1988-1993, we would have to travel to play the Cleveland Browns in Nov/Dec every year( AFC Central). Municipal Stadium, a.k.a. 'The Mistake on the Lake", was probably the toughest stadium to play in due to the condition of the field (painted mud since the grass was non-existent), the weather (usually very cold with various levels of wind, rain and snow) and the fans('The Dog Pound" was always out in full force.)

The Houston Oilers - Cleveland Browns game in Cleveland in the late 80's/early 90's always had playoff implications. The fans were always 'well-oiled' and rowdy would be a gross understatement. Due to death threats, head coach Jerry Glanville once wore a bullet-proof vest during a playoff game and I was actually standing right next to offensive coordinator June Jones when he got hit in the back with a frozen grapefruit thrown from the upper deck.... That being said, Cleveland was always one of my most fun cities to play."

No comments:

Post a Comment