Nugent struts passed the dismantled Dolphin CB
Mike Nugent makes a living kicking a football between two yellow posts that line up exactly 18 feet, 6 inches apart and over a crossbar 10 feet off the ground. But he was recently asked to knock down six large blue buckets with four shots from 45 yards out.
As strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi ran with his late workout crew on the team's lower grass field, Nugent was surrounded by a film crew of seven and a couple of Jets staffers on the upper field. The crew was in Hempstead to shoot an NFL fantasy football commercial with Nugent, a placekicker who has connected on his last 18 field goal attempts.
Fortunately, the second-longest field goal streak in Jets history wasn't on the line when Nugent attempted these trick shots. This was a task that would parallel billiards with "Minnesota Fats." The 25-year-old kicker, who had four regulation-size footballs lined up at the 50-yard-line, had to strike down the pyramid of six containers the size of large garbage cans at the 5-yard line.
"I was unbelievably excited to do something like this," he said between takes. "First of all, it's a way to represent the NFL in a way other than representing it on Sundays."
Nugent, not a fantasy player himself, enjoyed a fantasy advertisement featuring one of his counterparts. In the spot, Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers, who owns the NFL single-season record of 40 field goals in 2005, lined up four balls and proceeded to hit the first two off the left upright before rocking his final pair off the right upright.
"That shows a lot of accuracy and power," Nugent said. "He wasn't 10 yards away either. Those kicks had some distance. It shows really great accuracy."
The 5'9", 182-pound Nugent isn't known to fool around too much on the practice field. He sings a tune that is repeated on high school football fields across the country.
"I don't do too many trick shots at all," he said. "The basic thing is just practicing what you are going to do on the field, doing the same things in practice as you would do in a game."
The crew had booked a two-hour block with Nugent and this was for only a 30-second spot. Still, Nugent, who appeared in green team shorts and a gray team equipment shirt with a white long-sleeved T-shirt underneath, approached each kick with focus. His black cleats cut up the field, which was in otherwise perfect condition before the commencement of OTAs next week.
"I wouldn't be able to do something like this on a Wednesday during the season," he said about the volume of kicks.
At the beginning of each take, Nugent looked into the camera and said, "They say it takes strength and accuracy to be a great NFL kicker." Then he blasted each of the four balls toward his targets 45 yards away.
The commercial will air soon and we can't reveal the outcome. But we can tell you that Nugent will urge fans to select him when they play fantasy football this season. And if you consider he has been true on 26 of his last 27 attempts (including the postseason), then you would be wise to listen.