Is 2017 the year of the kicker? Giorgio Tavecchioblasted onto the scene in week one after spending five years trying to make it in the NFL. This week, Eagles rookie Jake Elliott brought some mainstream shine to his fellow kickers after nailing a 61-yard field goal to win Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Now Elliott is the newest fan favorite in Philly.
"It was all kind of a blur to me," Elliott said after the game.
Prior to the kick, fans everywhere wondered if Philadelphia would attempt a Hail Mary, but Eagles head coach Doug Pederson had faith in his 22-year-old kicker. "Quite honestly, I had so much confidence standing there, calmness," Pederson told ESPN. "I just watched him kick a couple kickoffs extremely deep into the end zone, and it was pretty awesome. Sounded like a cannon off his foot, great snap, great hold, protection was there."
So, who is the man behind the longest field goal ever kicked by an NFL rookie?
Elliott grew up playing tennis and soccer in his hometown of Western Springs, Illinois, and did not begin playing organized football until his junior year at Lyons Township High School. His coach, Kurt Weinberg, is the person who encouraged him to take his talents from the pitch to the gridiron. Elliott picked up the art of kicking very quickly and went on to earn first-team All-Conference honors in all four years at Memphis. He also set a school record for the longest field goal in program history (56 yards). After completing his collegiate career, Elliott became the first kicker selected in the fifth round with the 153rd pick. Elliott entered training camp competing for the placekicker job with five-year veteran Randy Bullock, a battle Elliott ultimately lost.
Check out the timeline to see what the last few weeks were like for Philly's Week 3 hero:
September 2: The Bengals name Bullock as their kicker and waive Elliott.
September 3: The Bengals sign Elliott to their practice squad.
September 10:Eagles' kicker Caleb Sturgis goes down with quad strain and the team begins looking for a new kicker.
September 12: Philadelphia signs Elliott off the Bengals' practice squad.
September 17: Elliott makes his NFL debut, going 2 for 3 on his field goal attempts and makes both of his extra point attempts. The one FG attempt he missed was a 30-yarder.
September 24: Elliott misses a 52-yard FG in the 3rd quarter, but later makes a game-winning 61-yard FG - the longest in franchise history.
From being waived a few weeks ago to being known as a hero by Eagles fans everywhere - life comes at you fast.
I'm not saying a kicker will take MVP honors this year - chances are, you'll always be the one and only, Mark Moseley - but finally more kickers are becoming known for their successes, and not just the heartbreaking misses.