SI Vault
Kicking with a Game on the Line
December 11, 2006
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 11, 2006

Kicking With A Game On The Line

View CoverRead All Articles


On Sunday, Brown (above) beat the Broncos with his NFL-record-tying fourth game-winning kick of the season. "I go into those kicks thinking about practice, thinking about the same rhythms I had three days ago," says Brown. "I'm doing repetitions in my head, good positive moments, and then--boom!--replaying them on the field. Beforehand I talk to Steve Landro, the ball guy on the sideline. He keeps me relaxed. We don't talk about the situation. We talk about things going on, about people in the stands. The [home] fans get more encouraging with their screaming: 'C'mon, Brown. We believe in you.' So we're like, 'Don't they ever think maybe I want them to leave me alone?' We just goof around. When he's not there, I'll talk to a police officer or somebody." Brown, who traces his confidence this season to soul-searching he did after missing a potential game-winner last year against Washington, says he isn't even bothered by fans who heckle on the road. "'Wide left! You suck! You're horrible! Upright!' You're going to hear that stuff," says Brown. "That's just the way it goes."


"I take deep breaths and tell myself, Go out and be a hero," says Tynes, who is grateful when an opponent calls time to "freeze" him before a kick. "I love it. You get to gauge the wind and look at your spot, clean it up if it's not smooth. It helps. The best part of the game is to see grown men jumping up and down because of something that came off your foot, that's the best. When you miss? There's nothing worse. It's like when your parents say they're disappointed in you."


When Cincy has the ball late, says Graham, "I go near the goalpost and take pieces of paper or trash and flip them in the air to see where the wind's going. I may look like a weirdo, but I don't care. The fun thing about making one is the difference in sound. At home it goes from quiet to loud, away it goes from an uproar to dead silent. They're equally rewarding. After an away game you see it the next day on film, and you see people behind the goalpost holding up their middle fingers, holding up signs. I don't see it when it's happening, but it's funny to see it on film."


"I like to run on the field far behind where I'm going to kick," says Kaeding. "It's a trick I play with my mind. I'm looking at the uprights 20 yards farther than I'm going to be. Then when I come to my spot, it looks like a shorter kick. For [road] fans [heckling at that time] is their favorite thing in the world. They read the media guide: 'Hey, your dad, Larry, I saw him out last night.' You know that at work the next day they [want to] brag, 'I got in the kicker's head and made him miss.'"


"I kicked a game-winner in Indy, and [Colt] Bob Sanders' face mask hit my knee," Scobee says. "I fell down to try to draw a penalty. I lay there, then accidentally kneed our doctor in the groin on a reflex check. I was ready to get up, but he asked me to stay down while he composed himself. The fans thought I was faking, so when I came back out for kickoff, they let me have it. They got a 'You suck!' chant going."

Continue Story
1 2