January 1, 2006


Flutie converts NFL's first drop kick in 64 years (NFL.com, Jan. 1, 2006)

Doug Flutie added another oddity to his football résumé when he converted a drop kick in the fourth quarter of the New England Patriots' game against the Miami Dolphins. [...]

According to the Hall of Fame site, Chicago's Ray "Scooter" McLean converted the last drop kick in the Bears' 37-9 victory against the New York Giants on Dec. 21, 1941.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 1, 2006 8:39 PM

Which brings to mind that old Dr. Demento Show favorite: Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal-Posts of Life.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 1, 2006 9:58 PM

I must confess that I just do not know enough about North American Football to understand why anyone would choose to drop kick rather than place kick for an extra point.

Why would a player do this other that to see people writing posts and comments about it? It seems to this old footballer that the technique sacrifices accuracy for no advantage. It would be like a keeper using a drop kick instead of a goal kick. I didn't see it and the areticle doesn't explain it.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 1, 2006 10:26 PM

Lou - Back in the old days (20's-40's), the ball was rounder, so drop-kicking was a bit easier. And kickers kicked with their toes, which wasn't nearly as accurate as soccer-style kicking, so back then the accuracy advantage of a regular place kick wasn't as great as it is now. The tactical advantage was that when you have a holder on the field for a conventional place kick, there is not much surprise about what's going to happen (sure, the holder occasionally takes the snap and then stands up to pass, but it's fairly awkward and not often successful). Today, however, Flutie took the snap from the shot-gun formation (which would lead the defense to think it's going to be a pass play) and then kicked the ball. I'm sure there was no tactical goal today, other than Belicheck (a fan of old-time football lore) allowing Flutie, a classic football lifer, to have one last moment in the spotlight. But, I wouldn't be surprised if in the playoffs, the Pats come out in the same formation and run a different play from it.

Posted by: Foos at January 1, 2006 10:52 PM

Lou, in 1916, as a freshman, George Gipp of Notre Dame drop kicked a 62 yard field goal against Western Reserve (now Western Michigan Univ.) in Kalamazoo. Apparently, he was amazingly consistent out to 40 yards.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at January 1, 2006 11:12 PM

I suppose it allows an extra blocker, as there's no need for a placeholder; or, as Foos notes, the threat of a 2-point conversion.

But I agree that it's mostly just Bill Belichick's version of whimsical.

Posted by: Mike Earl at January 1, 2006 11:49 PM

The announcer in that game was confused for only a few seconds, and realized that Flutie was going to dropkick it before he dropped the ball. That's impressive. Now, Flutie habitually dropkicks the ball in practice, and I'm sure the announcer knew that. But it's still a good job to get a call right that happens once in 64 years.

I still remember the Howard Cosell-Don Meredith-Frank Gifford Monday Night team being completely baffled by Bob Griese taking an intentional safety. Not only had the same thing happened the day before, but it had been shown on the halftime highlights earlier in the game. But Howard was made of denser stuff. Or maybe drunker.

Lou -- everthing you say is correct. That's why it hasn't been done since 1941.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at January 1, 2006 11:52 PM

The drop-kick was recently discussed (espn?) as something that hadn't happened in forever (67 years), so I think this precipitated the attempt.

Posted by: mike beversluis at January 2, 2006 12:16 AM

Is this just one of those interesting tidbits, or was this actually interesting, like everyone cheering because they saw something so rare? I mean, I have no idea here. Was it cool, or was it eh?

Posted by: RC at January 2, 2006 12:40 AM

My father was one of the last high-school drop kickers in Eastern Colorado, pre WWII. It was difficult even then when the ball was rounder.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 2, 2006 4:22 AM

Didn't you guys ever used to try drop kicks in your backyards?

Posted by: oj at January 2, 2006 9:17 AM

We had contests. Did it all the time.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at January 2, 2006 11:57 AM

By the way OJ, what the heck were you doing playing with a football?

Posted by: JimBobElrod at January 2, 2006 11:58 AM

RC: The Boston sports talk stations (there are three) couldn't stop talking about it. I had a hard time getting the results of other NFL games. Of course, Boston is the most parochial of big cities. If it hadn't been done by Doug Flutie, it would have been a footnote.

But it does deserve to be in all the NFL highlight packages for the weekend. It's like an unassisted triple play in baseball. Something everyone knows is possible, but never sees.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at January 2, 2006 1:25 PM