In December 2011, Rick Reilly wrote one of his trademark telethon-monologue columns about then-37-year-old kicker David Akers, who'd overcome all manner of personal hardship to kick a bunch of field goals for the 49ers. It was basically a nice story, but because Reilly lives in an oversimple, cardboard-thin moral universe of perfect innocence and perfect evil in which athletic performance is solely a function of character, the saga of the unappreciated good guy demanded a villain. Which is where the Eagles came in:
And when Akers' new team played Akers' old team? Philly's rookie kicker missed field goals of 39 and 33 yards and the 49ers won 24-23, with Akers kicking the winning PAT.
You think Andy Reid counted on that?
Yeah! Fuck Andy Reid! Fuck the Eagles! Fuck rookie Alex Henery! Except that Henery was the fifth-most accurate kicker in the NFL in 2011, making 89 percent of his field goals to Akers's 85 percent. Also, the rookie earned one-sixth of what the veteran did in a salary-capped sport. Oh, and that "winning PAT" wouldn't have mattered if Akers hadn't biffed two field goals in the very same game.
This year, Henery made 87 percent of his field goals. David Akers made 69 percent, good for 30th in the league. Henery made 85 percent of his field goals from 40-plus yards. Akers made 47 percent. Why, it's almost as if athletic performance had nothing to do with personal virtue! On Tuesday, the 49ers went ahead and signed free agent Billy Cundiff, who'll fight for the starting job over the next two weeks of practice. Whether or not Akers gets cut, the man so horribly wronged by Andy Reid will take up $3.6 million in cap space in 2013. You think Rick Reilly counted on that?