Crazy Uncle Skip is at it again, everyone. Today, Bayless stood up for an issue he truly believes in, one that if implemented, would vastly improve the NFL for the better. Well, we’re all ears Skip, so please tell us your idea is something different than abolishing the kicker from the NFL. Oh, it’s not? Of course not.
The crux of Skip’s argument is that too much control of the game is given to a player whose skill set is the ugly stepsister of football, or basically: The unathletic duds can too easily change the fate of the game which is otherwise controlled by athletic demigods.
This has been a career-long pet peeve of mine. Why do we blindly accept that the great game of football is often decided by a goofily gimmicky kick between two poles? These kicks count three points? They’re attempted by one of the lowest paid members of the team? These kickers sometimes go from clutch to basket case after just a couple of misses?
Wake up, people. This is madness.
Bayless goes on to talk about how David Akers followed up an otherworldly 2011 (and a Hall of Fame career up to that point, as far as kickers go) with an extremely disappointing 2012, mostly due to mental volatility. In all earnest and seriousness, Bayless believes Akers shouldn’t even be in a place to save or screw over his team because the concept of such a thing in football is heinous. The offense and defense, full of sculpted, uber-athletic men control 99 percent of the game — they shouldn’t have to fork over the last crucial one percent.
Yeah, when Billy Cundiff shanks a gimme 31-yarder in the AFC Championship Game (who Bayless points out, was ironically signed by the 49ers as Akers’ backup), it does lay to waste the great effort Joe Flacco put together for 59 minutes. But remember, Lee Evans dropped a surefire touchdown to win the game on the previous play, probably due to a mental error, since it was a pass that any NFL wide receiving vet should have caught, based on pure skill. Shall we outlaw wide receivers because they make mental errors too?
And what about baseball? Pitchers do something incredibly different than hitters, right? What happens when a closer comes in with a 2-1 lead, tasked with preserving the win after his starter before him did everything in his power to propel his team to victory, and that closer blows it? What say we replace pitchers with tees? That should go over great.
I’ll admit, it’s a slippery slope argument. But seriously, we shouldn’t outlaw kickers from the NFL. They do nothing in the way of devaluing what the other players on the field do. They are an integral part of the game, and the fact that they aren’t like every other brute on the field, that their skill set is vastly different and that so much of their game is mental are the exact reasons why America loves the kicker. This isn’t even a discussion we should be having. Thanks for nothing, Skip Bayless.
[ESPN, Getty Images]