A real kick out of this footnote
As someone who spends his work days surrounded by the history of the game, I absolutely savor every week of play in the National Football League. I spend my Sunday nights and Monday mornings digesting the steady stream of notes and stats that are created from the action around the NFL each week.
This morning there was one particular footnote (pun intended) that caught my attention and I got a reach kick out of it (again, pun intended).
Yesterday, for the first time since 1979, two position players attempted kicks on the same day. The New England Patriots Wes Welker and the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh were called into action after injuries sidelined their kickers. Suh’s extra point attempt in relief of Jason Hanson, missed when he hit the upright. Meanwhile in Cleveland, Welker connected on a PAT when he had to relieve the injured Stephen Gostowski. Unlike Suh, Welker had prior practice as he had kicked an extra point and field goal when he was with the Miami Dolphins. Welker converted the PAT in yesterday’s game.
Since I have the most comprehensive library of NFL football just about 20 feet from my office, I thought I’d go back to 1979 and see exactly what the deal was when this unusual occurrence happened the last time.
It was the San Diego Chargers backup quarterback Cliff Olander (below left) and New Orleans Saints running back Tony Galbreath (below right) who attempted kicks in Week 2 of the ’79 season. Galbreath was the busier of the two as he replaced kicker Russell Erxleben who suffered a pulled hamstring. Tony nailed a pair of field goals (23 and 27 yards) and an extra point. But, he also had a missed PAT and missed field goal as the Saints fell to the Green Bay Packers, 28-19, on Sept. 9, 1979.Olander, who the Chargers drafted as a punter, kicked an extra point in place of Rolf Benirschke in the Chargers 30-10 win over the Oakland Raiders. His conversion came following San Diego’s final score of the day, a 5-yard Dan Fouts to Kellen Winslow touchdown pass.
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