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George Frey

Spencer Hall: The question today is: do we like field goals?

Ryan Nanni: We have agreed on all our previous questions - we both like Michigan State and Texas A&M. But today, I suspect our harmony is temporarily ended.

I like field goals, Spencer.

SH: It's cool, I understand some people like football's version of euthanasia.

RN: Did you like the Kick Six, Spencer? Because a world without field goals doesn't have that. It probably just has some dumb pass to the back of the end zone that gets knocked down. Or a kneeldown. So it's weird that you're accusing me of euthanasia when you support kneeldowns. YOUR WITNESS.

SH: Who the hell said I support kneeldowns? Ever? I abhor any way of running the clock out, and thus making less football. Kneeldowns are the Portuguese Retirement House of football strategies. We know you're trying to just move the game to a tax shelter, drink casks of cheap wine until cirrhosis comes to call, and then die before your kids find out there's nothing in the trust funds.

Field goals are slightly less abhorrent than running the clock out, but only slightly since you're actually trying to DO something with a field goal, even if that thing is a ridiculous kicking exhibition in the middle of a football game.

Oh, and mentioning the Kick Six is not a defense for field goals since the very concept of rewarding offensive failure by letting someone play the Bozo Bucket Game with their feet for points allowed Auburn to pull that shit in the first place.

RN: Let me try another, less combative approach: I like field goals because I love defenses. I want defenses to feel happy and fatted and content. When the defense recovers a fumble at the opposition's 20, it is my fervent hope that they are allowed to see something harvested from the seeds they have sown. Should that be a touchdown? Yes, but if it is not, a field goal is still something. And I will not let the defense go hungry, dammit.

SH: To that point: why the hell is it okay to punish the opposing defense by letting an inept offense cash in on no gain? The defense can hold, do everything it's supposed to do, and still give up a cheap three points because a line can hold them for three seconds while a kicker stages a demonstration with A BALL SOMEONE EVEN HOLDS FOR HIM? In case field goals weren't galling enough, they even sacrifice a blocker by making someone hold the ball when they could just punt it themselves.


SH: The quarterback needs a ball holder. Eliminate the snap altogether, employ kicking logic, and just have the ball start in the hands of a ball butler who steadies it in their hands for ideal throwing start position.

Note: I don't think punting is evil, at least most of the time. Punting is abused, sure, and used where it shouldn't be, but punting is at least a single position interaction. I'd even be okay if punters just doubled as kickers, and kicked from the snap like you do on your normal play. Free kicking should be legal from any spot on the field if we're going to get particular about it. But halting an entire football game just so we can kick a stationary ball isn't a football play.

RN: So your issue with the field goal is that it involves a holder, who is effectively serving as a tee of sorts. This is about your golf anger.

SH: Which is about my dad anger and yes I enjoyed my time in Staind but eventually you have to move on and heal. It's less about the hold and more about the incongruity of the rules. If you think kicking is a skill and a vital part of the game, open up the rulebook and make it that. But don't cordon kicking off into these specialties. Let everyone do it, and bring back one of the tools football players used to have to have to even be considered a competent athlete. Those skills, by the way, were as follows:

1. running
2. tackling
3. passing
4. catching
5. kicking
6. tetanus-proofing
7. racism

RN: Man, remember when you had to start seven guys with tetanus? War rationing in the 40s was wild.

Our fundamental disagreement is centered around the same idea, though. You don't like the field goal because it's a vestigial appendage tacked onto a football game. But that's why I like it. It's this weird random event, like if you had to slap fight your way past the second baseman or if you replaced the jump ball with a trivia contest. It doesn't make any sense, and it's not REALLY football, no. But I like that we interrupt the often grim proceedings to let a 19 year old try to kick this very oddly shaped ball through a particular portion of air.

SH: It's not even a vestigial appendage. It's this evolved vestigial appendage we staple onto the game. Football had gills. Then it learned to breathe air. And instead of moving forward, it insists on stapling the gills to its neck and acting like it still matters.

RN: (grabs you by the collar)
Florida needs these gills, Spencer. Is that a global warming reference? Yes, and also no.

SH: When the great flood comes Will Muschamp will float to glory on all those well-fed defensive linemen.

RN: To conclude: I like field goals, you don't, and the human population of Earth will eventually be a few dozen offensively inept college football coaches living on ghoulish tackle-rafts and yelling at the flooded oceans about ball control. I miss anything?

SH: Yes. You missed that teams that count on field goals are the saddest fucking things in the world, and deserve every loss they get.

By that, I mean Pitt.

SH: Field goals are only celebrated when they go wrong, and that may be the only argument for keeping them in the game: so that by their continued survival, we can turn them into the idiot villain who exists only to step on rakes and fall face-first into tree-shredders. Every movie needs a car crash, and it might as well be the kicker in the driver's seat.

RN: To the contrary, some field goals are celebrated because of their successfulness.

SH: What the fuck. What in the fucking fuck is wrong with you.