Many people consider them uninteresting. Many people think that what they do is easy. They are over looked as integral parts of the team. I am, of course, talking about NFL placekickers. They may not be the biggest guys on the team, nor are they the fastest. But they come in week in and week out proving that they are just as important as the other players on the team with the simple motion that is oh so difficult to master.
And we know who our king of the leg swing is, right 12’s? For those of you that don’t, remember this name: Steven Hauschka. His jersey may not be at the top of sales, he might not have fancy sponsorship deals like Russell Wilson or the Madden 15 cover like Richard Sherman, but what he does have is a dependable service.
But he’s just a kicker! What good can he really do?!? First of all, shame on you for even asking that. Kicking in football is just as important as throwing it. In fact, how often are NFL games decided on the kicking of the field goal? The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls off of Adam Vinatieri’s foot in the last seconds of each of those games. Rams, Panthers and Eagles fans still probably curse his name today. And for a more relevant twist to the Seahawks; in 2005, the New York Giants came to play Seattle at home. Though the Giants were heavily favored, they just couldn’t take the lead for a long period of time as the Hawks would tie it up. Jay Feely, a very accurate kicker, had three opportunities to win the game with a field goal, but missed every time! Here is the Giant’s reaction perfectly articulated by the always colorful Jeremy Shockey. The Seahawks would win, go on to win the NFC Championship later that year and play the… you know what? Still can’t talk about that game without going into a rage fit.
The point I am trying to make is that there are many important roles that are needed to be filled on the field. The Seahawks have a wonderful quarter back in Russell Wilson, a beastly running back in Marshawn Lynch and arguably the best defense in the Legion of Boom. However, it is Hauschka coming onto the field kicking off the game. He represents the “let’s get this thing going” attitude that so many football fans feel on game day. He’s a guy that I would trust in those high pressure situation where a field goal makes or breaks the victory for the Seahawks.
Oh you don’t believe me? Let’s break it down, shall we? (Man, I ask a lot of rhetorical questions)
Upon coming to the Seahawks, Hauschka was a relative nobody having only 22 field goals and 38 extra points for the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. Though shaky in his first two years of 2008-09, he stepped up in 2010 for Denver and 85.7% of his field goals and going a perfect 10 for 10 on extra points. That’s pretty good, but what he has done for the Hawks is even better. Since signing with the Seahawks, Hauschka has 82 of 92 field goals and has only missed two of the 126 extra points he’s attempted to make. Respectively, that’s 88.8% and 98.4% made.
For those that are still not convinced, while kicking for the Seahawks, Hauschka has yet to miss a field goal or extra point in the post season. He’s been perfect. And speaking of the post season, for those that need that extra cherry on top: it was Hauschka that didn’t feel like kicking on a fourth down into the wind that lead to this.
So to recap, place kickers are underrated. Steven Hauschka is a good kicker. Steven Hauschka is a guy that I trust when there’s 0:01 on the clock and the game is on the line. Steven Hauschka is the best player on the Seahawks you don’t know exists, but now you do.