Golden: Texas, Westlake ex Justin Tucker adds to Hall of Fame credentials
Tucker will make the Hall of Fame when he's finished playing
- Tucker's kick topped Matt Prater's previous record of 64 set in 2013yards set in 2013 by
- Only two pure kickers are in the Pro Football HOF: Jan Stenerud and Morten Andersen
- Longhorns not looking past TCU
- Time for Steelers to move past Big Ben
The kicker is the second least represented position in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the voters were put on notice Sunday.
Make way for Justin Tucker.
Ten years after the Westlake grad shut down Kyle Field with a 2011 game-winner to give Texas a walk-off victory over Texas A&M, Tucker entered the NFL record books with a 66-yard mic drop to give his Baltimore Ravens a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions.
He beat the previous best of 64 yards, set by Matt Prater in the thin air of Denver back in 2013. Prater’s kick came at the end of the first half against Tennessee. Tucker’s came indoors with the game on the line.
His boot bounced off the crossbar and nestled into the net, giving the Ravens the win and instantly propelling the most accurate kicker in league history into an even larger stratosphere.
Tucker took an extra step back to put a little more oomph in the record breaker.
"It's something I've actually started doing within the last year," he told reporters. "As I'm becoming more and more of a dinosaur in this league at 31 years old, I've got to do every little thing I can to get the ball to go just a little bit farther."
If ever a kicker could be considered box office, it’s the guy who sings opera in his spare time.
Only two pure kickers reside in the Hall. Jan Stenerud played 19 seasons and was inducted in 1991, and Morten Andersen played 25 and was inducted in 2017. Adam Vinatieri, who won four Super Bowls — three with New England and one with Indianapolis — will be eligible in 2025.
Tucker will probably still be going strong at the time but will one day take his rightful place in Canton because he checks every box.
He has converted a league-best 90.6% of his attempts and 97% of his extra points over nine-plus seasons. He has made 44 of 62 attempts from 50 yards and beyond (71%) and has starred despite playing most of his games in an outdoor stadium in Baltimore. He’s also a three-time first team All-Pro with a Super Bowl ring in his trophy case.
“Congrats to my Westlake High School alum,” NBC studio analyst Drew Brees said at halftime of the Sunday night contest between Green Bay and San Francisco.
Tucker famously made a five-minute running video at DKR for scouts before the 2012 draft that encompassed 10 consecutive made field goals in windy conditions. Speaking of the weather, Tucker’s astounding accuracy has come despite the fact that he has played 135 of his 147 career games outdoors, compared with Andersen's 249 of 382 career games indoors. Even with the weather disadvantage, his accuracy easily outdistances that of Andersen, who made 79.7% of his career attempts.
Tucker is Canton-bound and could be joined by Green Bay’s Mason Crosby, a Georgetown High grad who also deserves a mention for kicking a 51-yarder to beat the 49ers on Sunday night.
Crosby has been great over a long career — 81.9% accuracy — and has a Super Bowl ring as well.
Who knows — we could see Central Texas kicking royalty playing in a Super Bowl come February.
Angry TCU Horned Frogs await Longhorns
The SMU Mustangs did Texas no favors with a win over TCU in the 100th meeting in the battle for the Iron Skillet.
The Ponies ran for 350 yards in the 42-34 road win Saturday, days after receiver Rashee Rice said the Frogs were “scared to play us” last season. Worse yet, SMU cornerback Brandon Crossley ignited a brief midfield scuffle when he attempted to place his team’s flag on the TCU logo.
SMU gave TCU coach Gary Patterson all the motivation he needs to have the Frogs ready to defend their home turf Saturday against the Longhorns.
After the Horns spanked up on Tech 70-35, they sit on the doorstep of the Top 25, but their recent history against TCU isn’t a good one, something Steve Sarkisian has already brought up to his resurgent locker room.
“We’re not naïve to the elephant in the room that we’re 2-7 against TCU the last nine years, and we’re also not going to buy the lie that we’re going to play the same TCU team that just played SMU Saturday,” Sarkisian said in his Monday availability. "We’re going to get a little a different animal, a little different opponent Saturday, so we’ve got to buckle up and get ready to play.”
The Arkansas no-show notwithstanding, the 2021 season has a look of redemption so far for the Horns, but that talk will go away if they lay an egg in Fort Worth.
Brooksy and Bryson
Did you see Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau hug it out after the United States routed Europe in the Ryder Cup?
All that was missing was a verse of "Kumbaya."
Seriously, golf’s funniest feud has given the sport a nice little boost since the careers of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are over or pretty close to it.
Neither Brooksy nor BDC is most beloved on fan lists, but the attention their back-and-forth has garnered has benefited a sport that’s in dire need of some personality.
After the two combined to go 4-2-1 over a dominant weekend, teammate Justin Thomas urged them to pose with the cup as others sang War’s classic "Why Can’t We Be Friends?"
DeChambeau then topped it off with a "Stepbrothers" themed T-shirt featuring himself and Koepka, a cool ode to the comedy classic starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
There's nothing like some national camaraderie to help bury a well-worn hatchet.
Did they just become best friends?