Before I get started on anything, take a look at the picture above. Doesn’t it look like he’s kicking that dude in the junk? All childish joking aside I’m going to be talking about Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.
On a personal level I hate field goal kicking. It seems silly to me that the fates of these athletes that kill each other for three hours sometimes comes down to some skinny little twerp kicking the ball through two uprights. But if kickers have to be part of the game you might as well have a clutch one that you can count on in crunch time, and that’s what Tucker has proven to be thus far.
Ravens fans were spoiled for so many years with the great Matt Stover. He didn’t have the biggest leg, but he was solid and reliable. When it came time the Ravens brass let Stover go for the younger guy Steven Hauschka. Hauschka had a much stronger leg than Stover, but he had some crucial misses that could have won the Ravens some games in 2009, most notably a game against the Minnesota Vikings. Hauschka was let go that same year, and in came Billy Cundiff.
Cundiff was a journeyman kicker, but he gave the Ravens what they needed at the position. Things were going great until the epic miss against the New England Patriots in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, and Cundiff was never the same after that.
Tucker came in last offseason to compete with Cundiff and surprisingly won the job. Tucker proved the Ravens made the right move by going 30-for-33 in field goal attempts during the regular season. Most importantly he was a perfect 4-for-4 in the playoffs, including the game winning 47-yard field in the double overtime classic against the Denver Broncos.
The future looks bright for the Ravens as far as the kicker position goes. Tucker is young, accurate, strong legged, and most importantly clutch. Could Tucker be the next Adam Vinatieri? Only time will tell, my friends.