the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011: The Year in Kicking

What was the biggest kicking/punting/snapping moment of 2011? 

When we posed that question we received some diverse answers - although LSU-Alabama, Sebastian Janikowski and Matt Prater all surfaced more than once.
  • "The record number of 50+ yard field goals made this NFL season." - Chris Husby, Special Teams Football Academy
  • "The Alabama vs. LSU game in the regular season." - Tom Feely, Feely Athletics
  • "Has to be the Alabama-LSU game where the missed field goals lost the game for Bama. Nothing gets more attention to our specialist role than when we miss and it costs a big game. P.S. Alabama will make amends in the title game." - Nathan Chapman, ProKick Australia
  • "Sebastian Janikowski tying the NFL record with a 63 yard kick and Matt Prater hitting the 59 yarder against Chicago to send the game into OT." - kicker Rob Maver
  • "The ones off the top of my head: Janikowski's 63 yarder, Boise miss II - the Sequel, LSU's Punter - Wing, and Carlos Ojeda 19-19 on PATs + drop-kick in 138-0 win for Erie :)" - kicker Carlos Ojeda
  • "When Matt Prater tied the game with a 59 yarder and then won it with a 51 yarder in OT. Now, the Broncs are in the playoffs and would not be if he missed either one of those kicks. Many, many kickers across the nation could hit the two field goals in a row in practice, but few kickers could do that in a game with that type of pressure. I am sure Matt has worked very hard to get to the point of where he is at!" - Dan Zeidman, Lifetime Kicking Academy
  • "Matt Prater... 59 to tie... 51 to win. Tebow Smebow..." - Rex Robinson, Total Kicker
Of course, 2011 was a long year (roughly 365 days), so there was plenty of notable kicking. Following, in no particular order, are just a few of the other highlights:
  • The 2010 college football season culminated in the 2011 calendar year with a field goal - a 19 yarder by Wes Byrum to give Auburn a 22-19 win over Oregon for the National Championship.
  • Jeff Cunningham surpassed Jamie Moreno for the most career goals scored in MLS.
  • Once again, the NFL decided to tweak its rules and move kickoffs to a different yard line.
  • Following a 2-2 draw, Japan out-shot the USA 3-1 on penalty kicks to win the Women's World Cup.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Alex Henery in the fourth round. He would go on to post the highest field goal percentage for a rookie in NFL history. Although he wasn't drafted, Dan Bailey was signed by the Dallas Cowboys and would play a significant role in many of their wins.
  • Despite losing star Dan Carter to injury, New Zealand went on to win the Rugby World Cup.
  • Long time Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover retired.
  • FC Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League with a 3-1 win over Manchester United FC.
  • Geelong won the AFL Grand Final 119-81 over Collingwood.
  • Several kickers put up strong numbers in the CFL in 2011, but none had a bigger year than B.C. Lions veteran Paul McCallum, whose season culminated with a Grey Cup victory.
  • Texas A&M kicker Randy Bullock won the Lou Groza Award
  • Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen won the Ray Guy Award
  • Saint Xavier University kicker Tom Lynch won the Fred Mitchell Award.
  • San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers was very busy in 2011, breaking the NFL single season scoring record along the way. His 166 points surpassed the previous mark of 164 set by Gary Anderson.

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