Thursday, January 31, 2008
I Worship Brad Maynard
It's tough being the punter.
No one ever cheers the punter -- as soon as you take the field, people are booing because the offense screwed up. You walk out onto the field, and kick the ball. Then you're back on the bench for another half-hour while you wait for your team to screw it up. There's no glory to punting it 50 yards with 8 seconds of hangtime -- you didn't score the winning points like a field goal kicker, but you don't get credit for the defensive stop like the defense does.
No one pays attention to the punter. When you're playing at your best, and kicking it more than 5 times a game, odds are your team is offensively inept, losing, and no one cares. If your team is good enough to garner media attention, odds are that the offense is functional enough to where you punt less than three times a game.
Some people thrive in pressure situations, other people fold. It's what a lot of sportscasters refer to as a "defining moment in a career" that separates the ordinary from the great. A punter can never be "great" because they'll never have that pressure situation. They hike the ball, and you kick it. Accuracy isn't vital, because you really only have to make sure it goes FORWARD. Does anyone care that you kicked it to the opponent's 5 yard line and then had it bounce out of bounds? Of course not.
That's why I would like to salute Brad Maynard.
Brad is quite possibly THE best punter in the NFL. He holds the record for most punts in a game (11), has a better lifetime passer rating than most QBs in the NFL (4-6 with 2 TDs), and is remarkably accurate.
Brad also excels in extracurricular dominance by being voted as the sexiest member of the 2007 Bears (that's right -- he beat out Grossman, Orton AND the incredibly sexy Baba Oshinowo), and by starring in some films, including his brilliant role as Captain Baynard (I am not making this up) in 2005's smash hit "Vampire Assassin."
So go on and root for your muscular and larger offensive players. When I see Brad Maynard next, I'm going to look at his smallish and less-than-muscular frame and ask -- not "are you the waterboy" -- but for his autograph and a firm handshake.
God bless you, Brad Maynard