If there was one shining star on the Philadelphia Eagles’ squad during their dreadful 2012 campaign, I would have to give the honor to second-year kicker Alex Henery.
The career of an NFL placekicker is typically short, criticism-rich and wildly under-appreciated due to the position’s incredibly high turnover rate. Fans don’t usually get too attached to their team’s kicker, so they have no problem throwing him under the bus for any and all failures on the team’s behalf.
Henery was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and has been their starting kicker for the entirety of his two-year professional career. The Birds obviously saw something incredibly special in Henery, as they cut ties with beloved 12-year Eagles K David Akers, a now six-time All-Pro, in order to start the youngster.
Henery, a former Nebraska Cornhuskers first-team All-American boots-man, has done nothing but dominate over the past two seasons, converting on 51 of his 58 field goal attempts (87.9%). Henery holds the all-time NFL record for best field-goal percentage (88.9%) as a rookie kicker. In 2012, Henery converted on 22 consecutive field goal attempts, shattering the previous Eagles’ franchise record.
Unfortunately, Henery’s triumphs in 2011 and 2012 have been almost entirely overshadowed by the Eagles’ epic collapse, and complete organizational revamp. Most casual NFL fans outside of Philly probably have little to no idea who Henery even is, as the media’s focus has been consistently cast on the Birds’ extensive struggles on both offense and defense over the past two years.
With the Eagles’ 2012 training camp now underway, Henery is once again under-the-radar and generally ignored by the media and the public, as everybody focuses on the Birds’ intriguing three-man QB battle and head coach Chip Kelly’s brand new offensive system.
But don’t you worry; Henery will be pleased to hammer K-balls through those beautiful, bright-yellow posts all season long, as everybody continues to focus elsewhere.