This Monday night, the Philadelphia Eagles will induct David Akers into the team’s Hall of Fame. It’s a deserving honor for the man who was the most accurate kicker for the Eagles for parts of 12 seasons.
Some people might think that there is less importance for this particular induction because Akers was a Kicker. Those people would be wrong. How important are quality Kickers in the NFL? Just ask the San Diego, I’m sorry, Los Angeles Chargers, whose Kicker cost the team two games. Or take a look at the Tampa Bay Kicking situation; their last loss included three missed field goals. While Kicker is not one of the glory positions in football, it could be just as important as having a star Receiver or Quarterback. More often than not the Kicker is left responsible for their team winning or losing a game.
Akers was beloved in Philadelphia for many reasons, but the main one being consistency. You need a Kicker who will do his job, and do it well. Akers seemed to always make 40 and 50 yard field goals effortlessly. High pressure kicks seemed less important, because you knew the outcome was going to be three points. Akers was as clutch and automatic as they come; his place on top of the Eagles all-time scoring list will attest to that.
But there was more to Akers than just being a great field goal Kicker. He had a certain stoutness that is almost nonexistent at his position. During a home game in 2005 against the Raiders, Akers injured his hamstring on the opening kickoff. The injury kept Akers out of the game, with linebacker Mark Simoneau left to man kicking duties (Simoneau is still the only kicker to wear a neck protector in NFL history). The team, now Kicker-less, was left to go for two point conversions and squib kickoffs. But when the Eagles drove 75 yards with time expiring, it was Akers who kicked the game winning field goal on an injured leg.
All kickers avoid contact like the plague, which is smart considering the Kicker is usually the smallest man on the field. However, in a game against the Giants, Akers kicked off and was running down field to make a tackle. He was shoved out of bounds into a group of Giants players, and started a scrum on the sidelines. Three Giants players were needed to remove Akers from the New York sideline. What kicker gets into fights with the opposing team? David Akers, that’s who.
The Andy Reid era Eagles had great teams with many great players. Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, and Brian Westbrook all come to mind. But without Akers, how much of the team’s success would still remain? He was a final piece that made the Eagles a triple threat, making the Special Teams just as good as the Offense and Defense.
So on Monday night, against his old team (Akers first played with Washington before the Eagles), David Akers will rightfully take his place among Eagle Immortals.