OF: 33 Yards Between Glory and Unemployment

One of many experimental iterations ...

Om

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As Redskins placekicker Graham Gano lined up to kick a potential game-winning 33-yard field in overtime against the Green Bay Packers, I jotted down the phrase that would become the title of this column.

In the heat of the moment the comment seemed utterly reasonable. If in the cool light of hindsight it reads a little hyperbolic, that is because Gano coolly drilled the kick down the middle, sealing the Redskins’ dramatic come-from-behind victory over a team that had dominated them throughout most of the game.


Had Gano missed, however, the title might well have served as a roster move announcement.

In the NFL placekickers are generally noticed—only truly register with fans—when they miss. Professional field goal kickers are “supposed” to make routine 33-yarders to win overtime games. And they do, for the most part.

When they succeed fans go home happy and spend the afterglow hours talking about everything but the kicker. They talk about the quarterback that drove the team down the field to set the kick up; they talk about a defense that dug in its heels and limited one of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses to three second-half points.

If the kicker misses, it’s a very different story...

More...
 

Goaldeje

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James Madison

Oh. Dear. God. Who do I send the therapy bills to for making me remember Brett Conway?

Damn you Om! Next time, stay in Vegas!

:)
 

Om

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Oh yeah?

Ola Kimrin.

James Tuthill.

Brendan Toibin.

Take that.
 

Goaldeje

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James Madison

You forgot the smiley face. It reminds us all that you are being sardonic.

Otherwise, I might have to hunt you down and kill you.

:)

See how that works?
 

Om

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How very gauche.

Allow me to make amends?

:moon:

:)
 
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Jimbo

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Well done brother but somewhere along the line you forgot the immortal Max Zendejas. The guy was so bad, Sam Huff named one of his mules after him.

I actually remember all of the kickers from 1987. Jess Atkinson suffered a broken leg the first game of the season against the Eagles and punter/kickoff specialist Steve Cox took over the rest of the game. Ali Haji-Sheikh (aka Ali Haji-Shank) took over the following week. Obed Ariri and Brendan Toibin were part of "The Replacements".

As for Brett Conway, I always liked him but he couldn't stay healthy.....kinda like John Hall. I'm still convinced Conway would have made that 52 yarder against the Bucs in the playoffs if Dan Turk had delivered a perfect snap.
 

Hog Fever

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Ugggh. I'd thought I had purged those names completely from my memory banks. You wanna play rough eh? Take this....

Kris Hepner
Michael Husted

Now I suggest you step away from the keyboard before this gets any uglier.
 

Om

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Damn, Jimbo. Forgot Mad Max totally. I'd forgotten that in Moseley's last couple years ('85-'86) Gibbs layered in both Zendejas and punter/kickoff specialist Steve Cox.

Cox tried one FG in '85, and six in '86.

Mad Max Zendejas came in in '86 and went 9-14, which was actually two more attempts than Moseley.
 

Jimbo

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I remember the game against Denver that sealed Mad Max's fate. He missed an extra point and a couple of FG's and the Skins lost 31-30. The lone FG the Skins made that game was a 48 yarder from Steve Cox. Max had lost his mojo and was replaced by Jess Atkinson the following week.
 

Om

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And Jess Atkinson was a tragic story in the end.

If my memory serves, he had won the job impressively in the '86 preseason, but had his career ended summarily in the regular season opener at RFK by Andre "Dirty" Waters. Waters submarined him on a PAT and blew out Jess' knee. Jess never got to attempt a FG for the Redskins and ended his promising NFL career being carted off the field on a stretcher giving a thumbs up to the crowd.

Never forgave Waters for that. Bastard was as cheap as they came.

Had a brief interaction with Jess in the stands up at Frostburg in Camp Marty back in '2001 as well. Seems like a very long time ago. Just a good guy all around, at least in my book.
 

Elephant

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You guys have mentioned the tragic players we have had, but what about the one that got away? Didn't we sign Aikers? Whose idea was it to cut him? Norv again!!!

Well, Atlanta and Carolina cut him too so...
 

Om

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Yep. Akers had a cup of coffee here and not much more. But as with so many of these guys it takes 2-3 (or more) shots with different teams before, for whatever reasons, it clicks and they catch on.

Professional career

Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers

Between 1997 and 1998, as an undrafted free agent, Akers spent time trying to make the team with the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.

Washington Redskins

Akers was signed by the Washington Redskins in 1998 and played in one game for them, making two extra points but missing two field goal attempts of 50+ yards each. He was waived during the 1999 season.

Philadelphia Eagles

After Washington cut Akers, the Philadelphia Eagles claimed him off waivers and allocated him to NFL Europe. A solid season with the Berlin Thunder helped him earn the kicking job for the Eagles in 2000...
 

Jimbo

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Akers essentially had a one game tryout against the Seahawks in 1998. Scott Blanton started the first two games but got hurt. Akers made his two PAT's but missed both his FG attempts of over 40 yards in a 24-14 loss to Seattle. Akers was cut and veteran Cary Blanchard filled in the rest of the way.

That was the year the Skins started off 0-7. After the bye the team managed a respectable 6-3 record to close out the season.
 

Burgundy Burner

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Great article - hope Gano can be the kicker for our franchise in the many years to come.

Akers lives a few blocks from here and I see him occasionally at one store or another.
 

SkinsOrlando

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Kent State

Chip Lohmiller's performance against the pukes is something every FG we ever sign should watch. I truly hope the kid hangs around, he's missed some but he's got the leg.
 

DieselPwr44

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And Jess Atkinson was a tragic story in the end.

If my memory serves, he had won the job impressively in the '86 preseason, but had his career ended summarily in the regular season opener at RFK by Andre "Dirty" Waters. Waters submarined him on a PAT and blew out Jess' knee. Jess never got to attempt a FG for the Redskins and ended his promising NFL career being carted off the field on a stretcher giving a thumbs up to the crowd.

Never forgave Waters for that. Bastard was as cheap as they came.

Had a brief interaction with Jess in the stands up at Frostburg in Camp Marty back in '2001 as well. Seems like a very long time ago. Just a good guy all around, at least in my book.
I don't think it was his knee. It was a dislocated ankle.

Now excuse me, for I have to go soak both ankles in a tub of hot water after remembering that.
 

Jimbo

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I don't think it was his knee. It was a dislocated ankle.

Now excuse me, for I have to go soak both ankles in a tub of hot water after remembering that.
Good memory DP. I was thinking it was a broken leg but after you mentioned it, I remembered it WAS a dislocated ankle. Not sure if Jess was a long term answer but he sure was riding a hot streak and I liked him all the more because he was a local product.

Damn that Andre "Muddy" Waters. :tantrum:
 

Sam Hill

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And Jess Atkinson was a tragic story in the end.

If my memory serves, he had won the job impressively in the '86 preseason, but had his career ended summarily in the regular season opener at RFK by Andre "Dirty" Waters. Waters submarined him on a PAT and blew out Jess' knee. Jess never got to attempt a FG for the Redskins and ended his promising NFL career being carted off the field on a stretcher giving a thumbs up to the crowd.

Never forgave Waters for that. Bastard was as cheap as they came.
No, he was cheaper than that. :)

Was there ever any play more emblematic of the Buddy Ryan coaching style than that play? No doubt Ryan gave special accolades to Waters for that hit, and perhaps a new Cadillac.

Why was he not nicknamed "Bounty" Ryan?
 

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