If you like to browse the sports websites on a daily basis as I do, you’ve no doubt encountered a story recently about Cincinnati Bengals kicker Evan McPherson. If you’re not up to date (especially since we’re almost a month removed from the Super Bowl), you can catch up here, or even here. I was left scratching my head and wondering what to make of it all when it came out. I mean, the game (and the halftime show McPherson took in) was played weeks ago!
Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons was asked about it recently and said, “that’s a sore subject. That’s a real sore subject”. And so, here we are – apparently, it’s a story. I figured since others were talking about it, I’d toss in my two cents as well, for whatever that’s worth.
The “I’m Annoyed” Case
I grew up playing team sports, (though never football), so I can understand where Simmons is coming from. In the grand scheme of things, McPherson is part of a team – so opting to stay out on the field during halftime (along with 13-year veteran long snapper Clark Harris) is not the greatest look. Win as a team, lose as a team, right?
The “Seriously…?” Argument
Like I said before – I have never played football. I have been a teammate on the soccer field, the volleyball court, the baseball diamond, and the basketball court over the years. To me, though, football is a different beast in some ways.
There are three phases to the game, typically with very little overlap among players. Each position group has its own set of coaches and coordinators, etc., and (as far as I can tell from the outside looking in) function as their own “teams within the team”. Which begs the question – what difference does it make if he was on the field instead of the locker room? Given his job on the team, and how specialized it is, what could he possibly have contributed by being in the locker room? And from what I understand – it’s not uncommon for kickers to come out on the field early during halftime to warm up before the second half starts anyway. So – should this even be a big deal?
The “You’re Not Even In This Game Without Him” Defense
Those who would defend McPherson’s actions bring up how lights out the rookie kicker was throughout the season, particularly in the playoffs. He made 28 of 33 FGs (84.8%) and 46 of 48 XPs (95.8%). In the playoffs he was PERFECT, hitting all 14 FGs and 6 XPs. Because of that, many people brush aside the criticism much like Allen Iverson talking about practice.
Still – imagine the narrative had he gone out in the second half and shanked one!
Look – I get it. All of it. I totally understand why his coach would be bothered. I also see why people are willing to give him (and Harris I suppose) “a pass” given the season he had. In the end, I think this is something that would’ve been best handled IN HOUSE. Simmons could’ve gone up to his guys, pulled them off to the side, and spoken with them about it (as could any of their teammates who may have been irked). It’s possible (maybe even likely) that actually happened. But, in my opinion, that’s where it should’ve died. Unfortunately, in the 24/7 media climate in which we live, we find ourselves discussing this “nothing burger” of a story. Surely there are more important conversations to be having these days, no? That’s my two cents.
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.