66 yards is a really long way

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Just some observations for you on a kick that I’m sure that you’ve seen many times… but perhaps not with these eyes and this knowledge:

1) There are lots of guys who have kicked a 66 yard field goal (yours truly included)… typically in the summer, with shorts, no helmet or pads, a little breeze behind them on a beautiful summer day — oh, and with a balloon for a football ball and no scary guys trying to block it or millions of people watching you — some rooting for you, others absolutely wishing for your misfortune.

2) The NFL uses 12 brand new footballs each half.  They’re great for quarterbacks, not so much for kickers.  In fact, they feel like rocks.

3) This kick was with 3 seconds to play on the last play of the game and the Ravens down by one point.  The plays leading up to this kick were trying to get much closer than this for the win. Know that getting a “record-breaking” attempt, from high school to the pros, is a matter of special circumstances.  You may have the leg, but you may never get the chance.  Take advantage of every opportunity you get.

4) Justin had a streak of 49 straight field goals going into this kick.  “It’s not fair that his 50th kick would be from a distance almost guaranteed for a miss”. If you’re thinking about missing out on your 50-for-50 streak, you’re thinking the wrong thoughts. Stay in the moment, and go one-for-one… then you can be extra proud of 50-50.

5) If the snap, hold and blocking isn’t there, there is no record or win for Tucker’s team — the Ravens would have lost by one.  Remember to truly thank your “team” for the chance to be the hero.

6) Don’t let anyone kid you, if you know that the field goal is a bit out of your range and that only an exceptional strike on the ball will do… you “cheat” however you can. Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at Justin’s preparation and steps. It’s not a jab-step and two like he has done on every single FG before this one… he never stops moving and gives himself a little skip step (to get to 3-1/2 steps) to get everything he’s got into the kick.

7) …and it still hits the crossbar and bounces in!  Domed stadiums are great because the conditions are so predictable… but the air doesn’t move much in there and you feel like every kick has to cut through “dead air”.  There’s no help on your kick when you have to try it from 60 plus.

8) Did you notice where they spotted the ball?  I mean the holder and kicker.  Not directly in the middle, but on the edge of the hash.  Why?  So that the holder can put the ball on a very specific spot, the corner of the hashmark to ensure that Justin’s approach and plant are perfect.

9) I talk about getting a good “strike” on the ball.  It’s about all you can do.  Use your routine, take your time, see what you need to do and trust your instincts…. then do what you can control and think about nothing else.  Maybe I’ll be writing about you someday.

And now you know.  😉

We had some fun breaking down Justin’s “cheat” steps on our YouTube Channel.  Take an even closer look as to what Justin did.  He had been practicing this technique for some time — just in case a 70 yard field goal was in his future.  Little did he know that 66 would be the ticket!

Kickers, when you know that you are at (or beyond) your max range, you’re going to need to put everything into it… even if it means adding a step or hop. So take some pressure off yourself — the odds are against you.

So break the rule of “staying consistent on all kicks” — now is the time to simply do whatever you can to give the ball the chance to cross the bar. You might hit a wormburner or a hoirrible duck hook… but missing short might as well be the same thing, so put some mustard on your kick and hope for the best!  Good luck!