Is 'scoreboard' excuse legit for Cundiff?

Kicker has just one job

Craig Davis

Sun Sentinel

The scoreboard-made-me-miss explanation points to the fragility of the psyche of the NFL kicker. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh should be kicking himself for not calling a timeout. So should kicker Billy Cundiff.

To his credit, Cundiff took responsibility for missing the 32-yarder, and teammates have been supportive. But it's doubtful hard-nosed veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed care to hear about their kicker having his routine disrupted.

Cundiff had just one thing to do in those waning seconds, get ready for what amounted to a chip shot. He wasn't. As Peyton Manning eloquently characterized a head-case he played with: "Idiot kicker."

Don't dismiss explanation

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

Billy Cundiff can make that kick in his sleep — and imagine he will be re-kicking it in his sleep for years. But I'm not dismissing his explanation.

His routine sounds like a very methodical process that begins on first down and ends when he's splitting the uprights. If the tape indeed shows that the scoreboard operator was off by a down, therefore disrupting Cundiff's down-by-down process, that could legitimately be a factor in the miss.

Cundiff looked rushed on the field, and the Ravens just got the snap off before the play clock expired. Do I think the scoreboard operator had nefarious intentions? That's a reach. But that operator — just like Cundiff — failed to do his job well in a pressure situation.

All can't be perfect

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

The scoreboard error in the AFC championship game explains why Billy Cundiff was rushed onto the field and didn't have his usual preparation routine in the seconds before his field-goal attempt to tie the game.

But ultimately, it doesn't explain why Cundiff missed the 32-yard attempt. Kickers need to be able to get the ball through the uprights even when there are inaccurate snaps, bad holds, annoying timeouts by the opposition, sloppy fields, loud crowds, high winds and yes, scoreboard errors.

It's unfortunate everything wasn't perfect for Cundiff's kick, but everything isn't often perfect in NFL games, or in life. The ability to overcome is what makes a champion.

Deserves to be a hero

Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun

One thing Billy Cundiff did not do, besides make the kick, was make excuses.

Terrell Suggs raised the specter of there being confusion on the sideline because of a discrepancy with the scoreboard and what the officials were saying, but Cundiff never used it as an excuse for missing the 32-yarder.

After the game, here's what he said: "It's a kick I've kicked a thousand times in my career. I just went out there and didn't convert."

Cundiff knows he's paid a lot to make 32-yard, game-tying field goals, and when you miss, you don't blame someone or something else. Here's hoping he gets another chance to convert a big field goal, because he deserves to face the media as a hero, not a goat.

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