Forget all the talk about this year being the "Year of the Quarterback." Curtis Painter, Matt Moore, John Beck, Charlie Whitehurst, and Kevin Kolb would beg to differ. No, this year is all about the man with the golden boot.
Going into week eight, there are five guys who have made 100% of their field gold attempts. 19 kickers have a long of 50 yards or more. When offenses cross the 40 yard line, coaches can feel confident that they have secured three points (unless, of course, one of the aforementioned quarterbacks turns the ball over).
Josh Scobee is the best player on the Jaguars' roster. He's 14 for 14 this year and 5 for 5 from 50+ yards. And lest we forget the Raiders' big leg. Oakland had better get Sebastian Janikowski back soon, because he is absolutely killing the ball. He's 12 for 13 this year and 5 for 6 from 50+ yards. Of course, one of those long-distance field goals was a 63-yarder, tying the NFL record. (It would have been good from 65).
Kickers have been doing more than just driving the ball straight and far. Check out this big hit from Neil Rackers, if you haven't seen in already.
Why are we seeing so many long field goals in the NFL this year? Many fans will attribute the increased kick power to widespread use of HGH. They may very well be right. But I'd rather look the other way on that one. Let's chalk it up to better training and conditioning and simply enjoy watching the ball sail through the uprights.
It's up, and it's GOOD.