The Philadelphia Eagles took a major chance when they allowed David Akers, the greatest kicker in franchise history, to walk following the 2010 season.
Akers missed two critical field goals in the team’s postseason loss to the Green Bay Packers. It was later revealed that he was affected by the health condition of his six-year old daughter, who had a cancerous tumor removed.
The Eagles offered Akers the transition tag after the season, but Akers refused. The Eagles then allowed the five-time Pro Bowl kicker to leave through free agency.
In the fourth round of the 2011 draft, they selected Alex Henery, the most accurate kicker in NCAA history, from Nebraska.
Henery performed well in the first three games of the season, making all of his kicks (except for an embarrassing 63-yard field goal attempt against the Atlanta Falcons in week two).
He made his first three field goal attempts against the San Francisco 49ers, plating the Eagles to a 23-3 lead.
But he missed a pair of short field goals in the fourth quarter (a 39-yarder with 14 minutes left in the game and a 33-yarder with six minutes left in the game).
The Eagles lost 24-23, meaning that either kick by Henery would have won the game.
Ironically, Akers returned to Philadelphia today as a member of the 49ers. He missed one field goal and had another kick blocked. But it was his extra point with three minutes remaining that provided the 49ers with the game-winning points.
And Henery’s failures dropped the Eagles to 1-3, putting them in last place in the NFC East.