Holding the Ball for Field Goals and X Points

The above job is certainly unappreciated and requires as much timing and precision as kicking itself.  Don’t forget that the Philadelphia Eagles brought back Ty Detmer  just to hold the ball for the 2006 Wild Card Game at Lincoln Financial Field.   David  Ackers kicked three field goals that day.  The last was from the 38 yard away giving the Eagles a 23 to 20 win over the New York Giants.

In the past teams have used for holders good ball handling quarterbacks; running backs especially those associated with the option play; wide receivers; and defensive backs.  The current trend is to use punters  which seems the best choice.  Here are three cases where the holder had a real impact for Philadelphia.

1968 Thanksgiving Day at Detroit.   After two days of rain, the field was muddy, wet, and sloppy.   The players often left deep footprints in the mud.  The bad weather actually made this a fun game to watch.  The Eagles had lost all previous 11 games. The Detroit Li0ns, at 4-6-1,  were eight point favorites.

The methodical Eagles got one field goal in each quarter and the defense gave up virtually nothing.  The 12 to 0 final score was the Eagles first win; and it was a shut out on national television.   The Eagles coach Joe Kuharich and the players were more relaxed than happy

Sam Baker, with his four field goals, became the second All Time Scorer in NFL history.  Sure footed Tom Woodeshick  somehow managed to gain 79 yards.  Joe Scarpati held the ball for Baker on the sloppy turf  and this was very difficult.

1981 Redskins at Washington.  John Sciarra fumbled the snap on the 15 yard line on the last play of the game and the Eagles lost 15 to 13. The field goal should have been an easy one from 25 yards. This was one of  four consecutive games that the Eagles lost after a 7-2 start.  This loss was costly and saw Philadelphia  fall from a championship team to mediocrity.   The team finished at 10-6.

1997 Eagles at Dallas on Monday Night Football.   Punter Tommy Hutton on the last play fumbled at the 10 yard line and the Eagles lost 21 to 20.  I was all set for a 20 yard chip shot and a 23 to 21 victory.  The Eagles finished the season at 6-9-1 so there was no playoff implication.  Nevertheless a loss, especially to Dallas, always hurts.


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