In a June 4th article on sports illustrated .com, Mike Vanderjagt, the greatest regular season kicker (statistically) in the history of football was interviewed about playing for the Dallas Cowboys this year, after a horrifying field goal miss in the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoffs. By the way, in the nearly 20 years I have spent watching professional football, I can say without an ounce of hyperbole that Vanderjagt's miss is the worst field goal kick I have ever seen, regular or post season. How his name is not synonymous with Scott Norwood is beyond me.
In defense of how the missed kick would affect his legacy, Vandy said the following:
"Michael Jordan missed game-winning jump shots, Tiger Woods missed putts. Does that mean they're not as good as you think they are?"
"I'm the best kicker in the history of the game regardless of whether I missed my last kick or not, and that's the way I look at it."
Two quick notes.
One, I am hardly an apologist for either Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. In fact, I think it's fair to say no two athletes been overhyped over the last 15 years as Jordan and Woods. However, at the very least, these men have proven that they could make clutch plays when it counted. For Vanderjagt to even mention his own name in the same breath as those two is laughable. It's an absolute joke. While Michael and Tiger may have missed a clutch shot or two, they also MADE a couple of them, which seems to overshadow the misses.
Two, being the "best kicker in the game" is not defined by your field goal percentage. It is defined by making the kicks you need to make. Ask anyone who they think is better: Vanderjagt, or his replacement in Indy, Adam Vinatieri. Anyone who wouldn't say the latter should never be allowed to speak about football to other humans. Again, I am no fan of the Patriots, but Vinatieri made three clutch kicks in the Super Bowl, and the one in the Snow Bowl. There is no way Vinatieri misses that kick against Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Absolutely no way. At home, in a dome, not a chance.
What is so frustrating about this guy is that no one in the media seems to call him out on this delusions of grandeur. Other players call the guy a chump, but the media won't. Is it because he's Canadian? Is it because he wears an earring?
I cannot wait until his next ridiculous miss and subsequent press conference, followed by Bill Parcells sticking an umbrella up his ass and then opening it. Please, let it happen.