Monday, January 11th 2016– I’m no expert in football as I never played an “organized” game. However, I did play pick-up games in school and in my neighborhood growing up. I love playing the sport and watching it too. I’ve been a Vikings fan since I can remember growing-up as I started to get into it through peers (e.g. football cards). I decided to share my personal thoughts as a Minnesota Viking fan of yesterday’s heart breaker game. First of all, they had a great season (11-5) and congratulations on winning the NFC North last weekend by beating our own rivals (Green Bay Packers) at Lambeau Field!
My heart goes to Blair Walsh as I cannot “totally” relate as I’ve never was a kicker or a organized football player. However, as a person that played baseball in high school, I had “many” mistakes. One that has stuck out at times was making a “mistake” as a pinch runner and got caught leading off 3rd base, which was the 3rd out. If I stayed in a safe distance, I could’ve scored a key run in the game against the best team (Cretin Durham Hall) in our conference (St. Paul Conference). Yeah, it was NO big deal as it was just a J.V. game, but it really broke my self-esteem as a sophomore in high school. Anyways, this is my only way I can related to Walsh.
An NFL kicking expert explains what happened on the Blair Walsh miss ftw.usatoday.com
“Blair Walsh missed a short field goal in the closing seconds of the Vikings-Seahawks NFC wild-card game on Sunday, a miss that cost his team the win. Eager to understand what happened, I reached out to my old friend Chuck Zodda, who is a former college kicker and writer for Inside the Pylon.
We talked about whether Walsh kicking the laces made a difference, how the weather affected Walsh, and how he rebounds from this….
I watched the swing a few times right away, and the technique looked clean all the way. The problem that I saw is that the plant foot of Walsh was a little too close to the ball, and because of that, his foot did sort of hook around the ball a little bit. That essentially caused the ankle impact there. From my perspective, the plant foot being a little too close there was probably what did it.
That being said, there are a lot of things that could have happened that would be impossible for you or me to know having not been there. The kick before was almost blocked by Richard Sherman coming around the edge, so maybe Walsh speeds up his mechanics a little bit to try and avoid that. You have icy conditions out there, so maybe it’s a case where he’s just trying to make a solid plant, and he ends up in the wrong place because he’s changing his mechanics just that little bit. All these things could have factored in, but it’s impossible for us to know.
The icy conditions were really the X-factor here. Was Walsh keeping his leg warm? Was that a factor?
The NFL does a lot to keep players warm on the sidelines. You’ve got heated benches. Even on those benches, you’ve got areas where players can click in to keep their feet at least a little bit heated up. But when it’s -4 degrees out, there’s only so much a heated seat and foot warmers can do.
When I was kicking in college, the coldest I ever kicked in was probably 20 or 25 degrees, and even then, it’s like kicking a brick. If you make contact with the laces like that? I wouldn’t be surprised if you look at Walsh’s foot today and saw bruises up and down because of how hard it was. It’s a heavy ball, you don’t have a lot of feeling in your feet, and it’s not an easy situation to kick in…”
Sal: I just played indoor soccer several weeks ago and didn’t have the best shoes. Every time I kicked the ball, it hurt the side of my feet. I just can’t imagine Walsh’s feet after successfully kicking 3 field goals (the only points for the Vikings) in that cold weather yesterday. I’m sure his feet was already in pain and this probably played a factor.
Other Supporting Fans:
Former Viking Nate Burleson offers heartfelt support for Blair Walsh foxsports.com
“●To @blairwalsh_3 (@blairwalsh3 twitter) I know today seems like a dark day in your athletic career but you will bounce back better & stronger from this brotha. You have kicked game winners before and will make game winners in the future. And not to mention you were a huge part of why the Vikes were in the game with 3 field goals so hold your head high. ●Now to all the so called fans who have taking to social media to put him down, curse out and threaten him & his family please take a long look in the mirror. If ya’ll had your mistakes on grand display for the world to see, would you want thousands of people tearing you down with harsh words & threats. No! We have to be a little bit more sensitive to one another in the moments in which we fail. If we can’t lean eachother to encourage us through the dark times than we are lost as a society. Trust me there is nobody that feels worst than Blair Walsh right now so let’s try to build instead of destroy. “~Nate Burleson
Kevin SeifertNFL Nation espn.go.com
“…it is not shameful, of course. It was human. There no doubt will be plenty of grumbling from football Neanderthals about kickers, from people who expect perfection in kicking but overlook errors by position players. In what was not the finest public moment of his career, coach Mike Zimmer snapped: “The snap was maybe a little high, but it’s a chip shot. He’s got to make it.”…
“I caught it and the laces were straight back,” Locke said. “I don’t know if it was me not feeling comfortable enough to spin it with the slick ball, but I’ve got to at least get the laces out of his eyes.”
Walsh was still wiping away tears as Locke spoke. It was contagious. Eyes welled up all around him. This was pain. It mattered. And it was a reminder that, in an era when cynicism about professional sports has hit new heights, some people still do truly care. Remember that as you relive Blair Walsh’s very public mistake for the next eight month..”
SKOL VIKINGS! Will always be a Viking fan no matter what as long as I live here in Minnesota.
Feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, feedback, etc… down below.. Non-Viking fans are welcome to comment too ;)….