the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Field of Unpleasant Dreams, part 2

What is the most difficult stadium/field/arena in which you ever kicked/punted/snapped?
In the first batch of answers to that question, Soldier Field in Chicago was mentioned by several of our experts. This time, a certain stadium in Iowa gets some love.

Brion Hurley,
"Jack Trice Stadium at Iowa State. The stadium sits in the middle of nowhere, so the midwest winds build up momentum from miles away. The stadium was basically open at each end (a little better nowadays, but not much), so that didn't slow the wind down either. One game we played, the wind was horrible. Not sure what the MPH was, but the longest punt into the wind was 23 yards. Five other punts were less than 20 yards, including one 4 yards."

Juan Gamboa, San Jose SaberCats kicker 2011
"The most difficult stadium I have ever kicked at has to have been Montana. Easily the loudest place I have ever played even though the place only holds 25,000. The fans are six feet from the sideline and they give it to you all game, especially since we were from California. The heckling was the best because it was creative and funny. Also, did I mention it was usually 20 degrees and snowing every time we came to town. Couldn't hear a thing on extra points or kickoffs, but it sure was fun playing there."

"Veteran's stadium where the Philadelphia Eagles used to play. Not only could the wind be bad, especially in the colder months, but the field with its seams and areas of loose turf were very unfriendly for kicking. However, on the bright side, rumor has it, that there was a little peep hole from the visitors' locker room into the Eagles cheerleaders' showers. Not that I would have ever looked through it though..."

"Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Most consistently windy stadium... ever. Flags on the posts will blow left to right and the United States flag 10 yards behind it will blow from right to left. Or better yet, the wind changes from pre-game warm ups to when you come back out of the locker room for the opening kickoff."

Brad Bohn, West Coast Kicking
College - Kansas State. Wind howling about 40+ miles an hour. During pregame I couldn't get it there from 30 yards. Turned to look at K-State's kicker knocking them through from 75 with the wind at his back. He proceeded to connect on 4 FG's in the 1st quarter including a 57 yarder. His kickoffs were landing in the stands 15 yards past the uprights.

NFL - Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. That wind is difficult to gauge. It feels like it is in your face no matter which direction you are kicking and it swirls up top.

Arena - Any arena that has a scoreboard that is to low to connect on a FG outside of 50 yards or has rafters that are too low to kick off with decent hang time.

John Carney, NFL kicker 1988-2010
"San Francisco early in the season is no walk in the park. It’s very windy and because it’s gusty it makes it difficult. I think the winds calm down later in the season, but in August, September, and October the gusts are hard to predict. Whereas some stadiums just have a consistent wind, that you can play the ball and expect the ball to move two or three yards. With a gust some of it is driving the ball, and your hoping that the gust doesn’t just completely take the ball out of the stadium. Similar situation with Chicago, which has a double negative – it has wind and it has high grass. That’s one of the reasons the kicking community has a high regard for Robbie Gould, because he’s done such a great job in Chicago. It’s a very difficult place to play I believe. I think New England has improved since they put down there artificial turf. Prior to that when they had grass, they would have grass and sand. The middle of the field would be torn up pretty well by midseason, and that was very difficult to play on. That’s why Adam Vinatieri is so highly regarded, not only for making clutch kicks, but for also kicking on a very tough field with very tough weather conditions. The kickers now at Foxboro at least have a good surface to kick off of. That certainly helps. Buffalo’s very windy but they have a good surface to kick off of. Cleveland can be tricky, although they’ve done a really good job with their grass- but it can get windy. And we can’t forget Pittsburgh. They have the challenge of grass, torn up grass, and tough winds. That can be very difficult, in fact that should probably be listed as one of the top most difficult stadiums.... Those are some of the stadiums that as a kicker you look at the schedule when it comes out, those kind of jump out at you right away."

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Anonymous said...

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