It’s always football season if you want it bad enough, but we’re in the thick of it right now. That means that whether your allegiances are to your local high school team, your alma mater, or the NFL team you love, there’s something to be excited about happening every week. And this week, the most interesting things happening in Texas football—at all levels—involve extra points. Let’s take a look, shall we?
High School Football
Stop everything and just watch this ridiculous thing happen in a game between Midland Lee and El Dorado last Friday:
At the professional level, kickers are so insanely accurate that we only really talk about them when they screw up. In college things are a little tougher, but extra points are basically automatic. For high school football, though, crazy things can happen on the play, and the ref who got bopped in the head as the ball bounces its way over the goalposts learned that firsthand.
Grim interactions between Texas high school football players and game referees have been in the news lately, but this one is definitely one to unabashedly cheer for (assuming that banking a low line-drive kick directly off of the head of the referee and through the goalposts was not an intentional strategy, but rather a happy coincidence). At the very least, it’s one you can watch forty times on repeat on a Friday afternoon without feeling that wince of shame or regret.
The best part of the video, of course, is when the two back refs who watched the action turn, stare at each other, kinda shrug, and then raise their arms as if to say, “Uhhhhhhh, technically it is good.” There is nothing in the rule book that indicates that an extra point can’t first nail a referee in the head, after all, so that’s one point for Midland Lee.
Longhorns kicker Nick Rose is a good kicker. He’s so good, in fact, that you can watch him make one from an absurd 80 yards during pre-game warmups. (The longest field goal ever kicked in a game, at any level, was a 69-yarder in 1976 by Abilene Christian’s Ove Johansson.)
Even so, he wasn’t able to pull the Longhorns even with Cal last Saturday after a miraculous come-from-behind touchdown put UT in a position to tie the game. All it took, of course, was an extra point after Jerrod Heard’s 45-yard touchdown run. And this is what happened:
That’s a heartbreaker any way you slice it, but it was presumably extra tough on UT fans after the dramatic nature of the team’s comeback. Rose, of course, caught hell for the miss on Twitter.
Hey @TexasSports, why don't you recruit kickers from soccer team? You could've recruited me. You idiots!!! Nick Rose sucks!!!
— Andrew Cho (@andrewcho0223) September 20, 2015
RIP Nick Rose, UT kicker, you know those UT students are gonna give him hell
— Tristan Morris (@TiMorris411) September 20, 2015
Die Nick Rose
— Wade Keyte (@WadeKeyte) September 20, 2015
It’s not fair to blame Rose for the team’s loss, ultimately—it wasn’t his fault that the Longhorns gave up 45 points, or that they had to struggle to get in a position to tie the game at the end—but we’ll see if the past week has rebuilt the kicker’s confidence heading into a matchup against OSU.
NFL fans in Texas have been kicked through the goalposts of life these past few weeks. The Texans, off to an uninspiring 0-2 start, are one of the worst teams in the league. But that’s not exactly a surprise. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have suffered a series of bad breaks. And by “bad breaks,” we mean, specifically, “Dez Bryant’s foot” and “Tony Romo’s clavicle.”
Romo’s backup is Brandon Weeden, the 31-year-old redheaded stranger of the NFL—he was a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns as a 28-year old (he’d played minor league baseball in his early 20’s), making him the oldest player ever drafted in the first round. Thus far, he has not been very good in his professional football career. He has a career completion percentage of 56 percent, has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions, and let’s again mention the fact that he’s 31-years old, so we can’t chalk that up to growing pains like we might another former first-round pick in his fourth NFL season.
All of that inspired so little confidence in him that the Cowboys immediately rushed out to trade for former Patriots/Chiefs/Vikings/Bills quarterback Matt Cassel—and as Texans fans know, when you’ve got a QB on his fifth team, that’s how you know you’ve got a good one. Picking up a veteran insurance policy for Weeden while Romo is out for a minimum of eight weeks makes sense; telling the press that Weeden’s leash is so short that Cassel could snatch the job away from him in a competition even though that guy wasn’t even a Dallas Cowboy until a few days ago does not. Unless, of course, the Cowboys have as little faith in Brandon Weeden as everybody else who’s ever seen Weeden play football do—in which case why was he the primary backup to their injury-prone starter to begin with?
What does this have to do with extra points? We’re glad you asked. The Cowboys defense has been solid so far this year—a further testament to the mad wizardry of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and the greatness of the finally healthy Sean Lee—so the hope in Dallas has to be that they’ll be able to hang in close games until Romo and Dez are back, at which point they can gear up for a playoff run. But in the meantime, the Cowboys are gonna need all the extra points they can get.