Just Crazy Enough To Work
When the game's on the line, there are certain skills you need. Here's how people pull 'em off.
The bad news is your team needs a last-second miracle to win its playoff game. The good news? In the leave-nothing-to-chance culture of the NFL, your team has probably practiced that hallelujah all season long. Here now, our panel of miracle workers reveals how to pull off a magic trick. First step: You've gotta believe.
Nail a 60-yard field goal, by Rob Bironas
"My setup is the same whether it's a 30-yarder or a 60-yarder. The only difference is the trajectory of the ball. On a normal field goal, you try for a 45º angle to maximize distance and height. On a 60-yarder, you need more distance, so you're closer to 35 or 40º. Because the ball's lower, you need to get it off quick. Anything over 1.4 seconds from snap to kick is going to get blocked. I usually take about 1.24. Once you hit it, you just keep your fingers crossed."
Pull off an onside kick, by David Akers
"Some guys use a shorter approach, but I use my full one—walking 11 yards back and six steps over. I turn my hips to the left and aim for outside the numbers. Then I jam my big toe into the top of the ball, two inches below the tip, and kick as hard as I can. Ideally, the point does one half revolution, slams into the ground and bounces up. The firmer the field, the better. These kicks are torture on your toe. Every season, I get a bruise that won't go away."
Complete a hail mary, by Larry Fitzgerald
"Most people think you just throw the ball up to the end zone and somebody tries to make a play, but it's actually something we run every Friday in practice. You have a guy in the middle who's the jumper. If it's me, I get a running start so I can get as high as possible. If the jumper can't catch it, he tips it to one of four other receivers who've made a box around him."
Run a hook and ladder, by Darrell Bevell, Vikings offensive coordinator
"A receiver lines up on one side and runs a 12- to 14-yard curl route. On the other side, you've got three receivers. Two are running go routes, trying to draw coverage. The third receiver runs a shallow cross at about 10 yards. The crosser passes behind the weakside receiver just as he's catching the ball. Then that receiver pitches the ball to the crosser, and hopefully you get some downfield blocks."
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