If you know anything about the culture of a football team, then you know that the specialists (kicker, punter, long snapper) on any team, MOST of the time, are on a bit of an island.
Hey, it's only natural, after all, most of them are the same size and body type (what up, Sebastian Janikowski?) as the average fan, very few of them crave or even engage in any physical contact on the field, and some of them don't even speak English (que pasa, Zendejas family?).
In rare and extreme cases, the specialists are actually frowned upon by teammates and coaches. My brother (a converted soccer player) was a kicker at Notre Dame and every time he'd try to talk to some of his friends on the offensive line during stretching, head coach Lou Holtz would yell "HEY PRENDERGRAST...STOP FRATERNIZING WITH THE ATHLETES!!"
(Two things: a) Harsh! and b) Holtz could never, ever pronounce our last name right. Ever.)
Hell, Adam Sandler even penned, sang, and played guitar on a four minute tribute to the tortured existence of kickers titled "Lonesome Kicker," captured in this hilarious video:
By the way, how have we not seen anyone with a Steelers "8 KRISTACOVITCHLALINSKI, JR." jersey?
Anyway, my point is, life as a specialist, particularly a kicker, where the weight of the world and the welfare of your team rides on the thunder and precision in your right (or left) leg, can be a pretty harrowing lifestyle. Just ask Randy Bullock, who went from "Texans kicker for the next decade" after a game winner against the Chargers in Week 1 to "Fat Randy Bullock" after three misses against the Titans in Week 2. It can change on a kicker that fast. One week.
So when kickers do something cool, especially having had a family member who performed these nerve wracking duties, I feel the need to point it out and give them some accolades.
Which brings me to Rice kicker and Groza Award candidate Chris Boswell. In Saturday's Bayou Bucket game between the Owls and the University of Houston, with the Cougars leading 31-20 and a little over two minutes remaining in the game, Coogs kicker Richie Leone had his 41 yard field goal attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown. The two point conversion attempt by the Owls failed, so Rice trailed in the contest 31-26, however, they had burned all three of their timeouts trying to stay in the game.
And thus an onsides kick was necessitated. Here's what happened...
....yes, only the most bad ass onsides kick in the history of onsides kicks! And make no mistake, this would have been bad ass even if Houston would have recovered, but the fact that it actuallyworked?! Incredible!
This is one of those times where having someone who played soccer at one time as your kicker (which virtually all of them have these days) comes in awfully handy, as what appeared to be some sort of magic trick to football fans is actually a fairly mundane maneuver for most soccer players.
Unfortunately, for Rice, as far as the game goes, the whole thing was for naught as Houston was able to hold on for the 31-26 victory in a very entertaining ball game. However, for fans of viral video, Boswell essentially established the positive end of our "Kicker Escapades Viral Video" scale.
(As you may know, my nomenclature for any "1 to 10" scale is to take the last name of the worst person and the last name of the best person, and use them both in the name. It makes it sound more scientific, like the Cromartie-Tebow Scale for contraception and birth control, for example. And yes, I assisted Travis Rodgers in the naming of the Rose-Carroll Scale for hair care.)
So if Boswell is the "10" end of the scale, who is the "1" end?
I think it has to go to former Miami Dolphin kicker Garo Yepremian who somehow thought it would be a good idea to scoop up a blocked kick and attempt a pass, in the goddamn Super Bowl, no less!
Behold, the Yepremian-Boswell Scale for viral kicker shenanigans it is!
So Rice fans, you may have lost the battle on Saturday, but you won the other battle -- viral kicker relevance is yours! Celebrate, Owl fans, and you celebrate, too, Chris Boswell!
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Just don't go all Bill Gramatica on us in your celebration...
I'd hate to have to rename it the Boswell-Boswell Scale.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.