Kickers don’t often get the credit they deserve. Rarely do they make tackles, you won’t ever see one running down the field to score a touchdown, and most of the time they all seem to just be hanging out on the sideline. But kickers win games.
“You look at the percentage of games that are won by three or less points, it’s quite a bit,” said kicker
And fortunately for the New York Jets, Nick Folk wins games. Last year he was responsible for making three game winning field goals, against Tampa, Atlanta and New England, to help the Jets to their 8-8 record. (Could you imagine a 5-11 season?)
“Folk Hero” as head coach Rex Ryan likes to call his kicker, was tagged as a franchise player by the Jets this offseason, then quickly re-signed to a long-term deal.
The man is good at what he does and he’s also confident in his ability to make kicks on the field, no matter where the ball is placed.
Extra points as we presently know them in the NFL are spotted at the 2-yard line. But for the first two weeks of the 2014 preseason, the league is experimenting with moving the ball back to the 20-yard line for all extra point tries.
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“I understand why they are doing that," said Folk, who has never missed an extra point in his professional career. "With extra points now and kickers and snappers and punters being so good at what we do and the operation being so smooth, points become pretty consistent. So I’m glad that’s an experiment for now. We'll kind of see how it plays out.”
“You just have to tell yourself it’s an extra point and to kick it just like you would an extra point from the 10-yard line. It’s the same kick. You’re just a little bit farther back now.”
Folk’s success on the field can also be traced to his physical stamina, which he compares to the Jets' position players.
“I train just as hard as these guys. I lift just as hard as hard as these guys, run just as much as them, just try to be an athlete," he said. "That’s where the kicking and punting conditioning comes from. You have to become an athlete. I try to get better every day and stay in shape as best I can.”