RANDALL’S RANT: Hey, NFL Kickers, You Had One Job!
Referees, kickers and prognosticators are all prone to the same scrutinization, whereas when you’re accurate no one remembers and when you’re wrong, no one forgets. However, there is a notable difference when it comes to kickers and that is they merely have one thing to do and that is to make kicks.
They don’t need to study film, throw blocks, run patterns, etc. There is no company policy or protocols to follow. Job descriptions do not come any simpler than a placekicker’s. Here it is: Kick the ball through the posts. We understand that it is a physical requirement and as such, nothing is a sure thing. But making 32-yard converts should be.
This past week saw a record 12 extra points missed. In 2015, the NFL decided to move the extra-point kick back from the two-yard line to the 15-yard line, requiring a 32-yard try instead of the traditional 19-yard attempt.
A success rate of 99.4% in two years prior to the rule change has dropped to 93.9%. Really, kickers? The 13-yard difference has made it so difficult that 48 of the 749 attempts this season have failed? It’s rather disgraceful.
When these guys miss, it affects the entire game as two-point attempts become necessary to compensate for the botched attempts. Even the opposing team must treat their touchdowns differently based on score. For bettors, it’s an out-of-control nightmare as we watch gears grind on so many coaches once they are required to do some basic arithmetic. Among others, Mike Tomlin, Jeff Fisher and Pete Carroll definitely failed Grade 4 math, based on many of their decisions. They don’t hate their kickers because they missed. They hate them because it puts them in panic mode for the point after.
Kickers get paid an extraordinary amount of money to kick a ball and therein lies the solution. Why not pay them on per convert, per field goal basis? The average salary of kickers is around $2 million per year these days. That remuneration is for making approximately 30-35 field goals and 40 converts. How about $20K per convert? Field goals could be by scale, say $20,000 to $40,000 based on distance. How awesome would it be for those guys to feel our same despair each time they miss? Owners might want to kick that idea around moving forward.