Forgive me if I’m not buying the real-life version of the movie Necessary Roughness.
It’s been nearly 30 years ago, but you may remember that low-budget football comedy that saw SI supermodel Kathy Ireland play the role of kicker for the Texas State Fightin’ Armadillos.
Ireland (Lucy Draper) was a member of the school’s soccer team, so the transfer to college football by Hollywood standards was a seamless transition.
Believe it or not, it has actually happened…in 2003.
Katie Hnida became the first woman to play and score in a Division I-A game when she kicked a pair of extra points against, ironically, Texas State in a 72-8 victory. It was mop-up duty in a blowout game.
The NFL world now seems to be losing its collective minds after watching USWNT star Carli Lloyd connect on a field goal at 55 yards (through narrow posts) at the end of an Eagles practice.
USA Today actually believes Lloyd has a legitimate shot at an NFL job, which tells you how much the newspaper knows about the job of an NFL kicker.
Even those who cover the NFL are writing mind-boggling, nonsensical links trying to connect Lloyd’s practice stunt to the actual five longest field goals in Philadelphia Eagles history.
But this is the type of virtue signaling and senseless reporting that takes place when you conveniently ride the coattails of a feel-good story. You immediately lose all sense of what’s rational and sensible.
Overnight it’s become the click bait story of the NFL preseason, which is all that sports editors and news directors are looking for these days. So it’s clearly fulfilled that agenda.
But can we please pump the brakes before elevating Lloyd onto an actual NFL roster for 2020 and beyond?
Outkick the Coverage and Fox Sports host Clay Travis tweeted Thursday that Lloyd has a zero percent chance of becoming an NFL kicker.
“We’re in a world of woke media where truth tellers are afraid of telling the truth, because they’re afraid of being a target of a mob,” Travis said.
I’d give her slightly better odds than Travis, around 0.5%, only because I think NFL GMs would be willing to bring some excitement to a rather mundane preseason game – especially the final one – where just about every significant starter is dressed in street clothes.
Lloyd said she had two teams approach about “potentially playing in the fourth preseason game.”
If Carli wowed her way through training camp in a situation where a team’s starting placekicker struggled and buckled under pressure, then she’d have a legitimate shot, but I genuinely believe in that event a GM would elect to bring in someone else.
However, assume your son or daughter could boot 50-yard field goals with relative ease like Lloyd can, the odds of them actually becoming a starting kicker in the NFL are so incredibly rare, they have a better shot of working at NASA as a nuclear physicist.
There are 32 of these jobs in the NFL and the quality of kicking has become so amazingly good that 13 of the 20 most accurate kickers in the history of the NFL are currently in the league. You know how many of these jobs turn over from one season to the next? Maybe three or four at the most.
The 21st-most accurate kicker in league history at 83.9 percent is currently out of a job because his last NFL field goal from 43 yards away hit the upright and then bounced off the crossbar before landing in the end zone for what is now known as the “double doink.”
Had it bounced the other direction then Cody Parkey would still be booting field goals for the Chicago Bears this season. Instead, he’s a free agent and currently out of work.
One of the NFL’s most accurate kickers can’t hold down a job – not because of yards, but rather mere inches.
Parkey has every bit the leg strength of Lloyd, but in front of 62,000 fans in 30-degree temperatures with the season on the line kicking on a turf chopped up over a five-month long regular season, all critical factors that Lloyd has never experienced.
Every NFL kicker can split the uprights from 55 yards. That’s what pregame warmups are for and they can do it with relative ease.
In fact, if you auditioned all 120 kickers in college football’s FBS division at the same time, I’m willing to bet at the very least half of them could connect at that distance with zero pressure on the line.
But no one would be clamoring for them to be in the NFL because they’re not a woman.
The single-handicap golfer is capable of making a hole-in-one on a given day, but I’d like to see Joe 6-iron tee it up from 175 yards out with an Augusta-like gallery of fans gathered around the tee box glued to his swing.
If Lebron James threw a 65-yard bomb in stride to Desean Jackson, would that make him an NFL quarterback?
So let’s not get too caught up in Lloyd booting a 55-yarder with no pressure, no one watching in the stands on a nicely manicured practice field with no defensive lineman bearing down on her either.
And what would happen if one of her kicks just happened to be blocked?
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen made it clear she would get trampeled and it wouldn’t be pretty.
At that point, Lloyd has no other choice but to drop to the turf and curl up in a shell. Otherwise, she’s risking her life and her limbs.
Aside from that, to even suggest that Lloyd could instantly transfer soccer skills to placekicking (at the age of 37 no less) is an incredible disservice to the NFL professionals who have been honing their craft since high school and some longer than that.
If the skill set was so easily transferrable, why haven’t members of the men’s national soccer team attempted to make an NFL roster? The last true soccer player currently kicking for an NFL team is Josh Lambo, who kicked for three years at Texas A&M and is a youthful 28 years old.
But this is what happens when you get completely sucked into the vacuum of social media. Tell Twitter your lifelong aspirations to skydive and someone will convince you it can be done without a parachute.
I don’t want to burst Carli’s bubble of earning a lucrative NFL paycheck some day, but I hope she understands that her inclusion onto an NFL roster would be more of a novelty than it would be an actual reality.
Then again, here’s hoping she defies the odds and breaks the NFL’s glass ceiling.