It’s a good thing Broncos kicker Brandon McManus got the chance the redeem himself with a 37-yard winner in overtime, because if his last appearance on the field had been the incomprehensibly shanked attempt that would have won the game at the end of regulation, he’d probably be locked in Peyton Manning’s basement right now, being prepped to have his pituitary glands harvested.
McManus did win the game, though, so he was able to talk openly about just what the hell went wrong on that nightmare kick. He told the Denver Post that he’s never kicked a ball like that in his life, not even in grade school, before explaining exactly what happened:
“I didn’t point my toe down at all,” he said. “My toes popped up, and if your toes pop up, it’ll hit the side panel of the ball and that’s why it went so far left.”
It’s the simplicity of the error that should make you appreciate that these kinds of things don’t happen more often. A kicker has to be precise in all of his movements, and brain-farting one simple component of the kicking motion—keeping your dang toes pointed downward, for example—can lead not just to a miss, but a catastrophic miss. And then to have to come back out onto the field just a few minutes later and somehow not completely psyche yourself out on another potential game-winner? Don’t ever let anyone tell you being a placekicker is a chill and fun job.