Ever since Carli Lloyd nailed a 55-yard field goal during the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp in August, there’s been plenty of debate on whether she could make it as an NFL kicker. Amongst all of the discussion, which has been both constructive and regressive, we got to thinking — what would the ultimate footballer-NFL kicker look like?
When Chicago Bears veteran kicker Cody Parkey lined up for a 43-yard field goal on the nearly frozen grass of Soldier Field in January, he knew how much was riding on his right leg. The Bears were a team with Super Bowl aspirations, and the Chicago faithful were starving for a championship run. Those hopes were now lying on the shoulders of the 190-pound Parkey. He missed.
— The Ringer (@ringer) January 7, 2019
As Parkey’s kick bounced off the right upright, then off the crossbar, and down to the cold end zone of Soldier field, the hopes and dreams of thousands of Bears fans fell with it. And NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth’s “double-doink” quote would live on in infamy in the Windy City.
After a painfully cringeworthy Today Show appearance, Parkey was released by the Bears, and Chicago joined a number of NFL franchises in kicker purgatory, a place no team wants to be.
With Parkey gone, Chicago has been desperately searching for someone capable of booting the ball through the uprights. It should come as no surprise that Chicagoans came out in droves when USWNT star Carli Lloyd drilled a 55-yard field goal at Eagles training camp earlier this offseason.
As if the fan base got a kick to the head, they began asking a simple question — if there aren’t any good kickers on the open market, why not recruit a soccer player?
While convincing a high quality player to stand on the sideline for 95 percent of the game may be difficult, that NFL money might be alluring to someone in the twilight of their career. With that in mind we took to our secret lab and created the ultimate Franken-kicker, taking from attributes like consistency, mental toughness, and accuracy.
Consistency: Andrea Pirlo
Father time is undefeated. When athletes age past their prime, the drop off is swift and unforgiving — except when it comes to Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo.
Lining up angled away from the ball, Pirlo takes four steps, plants his left foot just left of the ball, and swings true. An icon of Italian football, Pirlo is known for his brilliant vision and wizard-like understanding of the game, but perhaps nothing can supersede his uncanny ability to find the back of the net on set pieces.
His free kick finishes are a thing of beauty, only possible due to his consistent placement of his plant foot and his nuanced striking of the ball. As Pirlo aged, his free kick routine grew even more timeless. Every goalkeeper in his way knew they had to be ready for anything, and any preparation rarely helped. While he may cite different aspects of his game as the secret to his longevity, Pirlo’s uncanny consistency clearly stands above all.
Accuracy: Carli Lloyd
For an NFL kicker, accuracy is everything. For a world-renowned forward, a sharp-shooter eye is what sets you apart from the rest. Carli Lloyd is one of the most lethal strikers in soccer history, and we’ve seen that deadliness have a potential to cross over into American football.
Lloyd has a tendency that opponents can see coming but can’t stop. Let her slide to her right and strike the ball across her body, and it’s over. Lloyd’s favorite target is her far left corner of the goal, and she finds it with an unmatched level of precision. Even the strongest of dives leave the goalkeeper with little to no chance at blocking an accurate Lloyd screamer.
Lloyd made headlines this year when she smashed a 55-yard field goal at a Philadelphia Eagles practice — prompting debate on social media and countless articles (including this one). She stated that she may consider a career in the NFL in the near future, and our fingers are crossed that she really means it.
Ego: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It goes without saying that the world’s best athletes think of themselves as just that — the best. In the cutthroat world of corporate sports, competition reigns supreme and confidence is key. If there’s one footballer that comes to mind when thinking of this, it has to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Throughout Zlatan’s incredible run with European titans like Juventus, Barcleona, Paris St. Germain, and Manchester United, the only thing more remarkable than his on-pitch production is his off-pitch attitude. Zlatan is obsessed with himself, and maybe reasonably so. The Swedish lion stands alone as one of the top strikers of his generation, and has scored some of the most insane shots you will ever see. Regardless of the uniform he is playing in, Zlatan’s confidence is relentless. He certainly talks the talk, but he also runs the damn show, and there’s no challenge he’s ever backed down from. If any footballer were to legitimately attempt to take on NFL kicking, wouldn’t it be Zlatan?
Toughness: Marta Vieira da Silva
Some athletes are just wired for success. Their fighting spirit leads them far past where most people would ever assume. For Brazilian star Marta Vieira da Silva, barriers were simply made to be broken.
Marta grew up loving the game in a country that banned female participation for over four decades. The aggressive patriarchy of Brazilian football did not stop her from becoming the most prolific female soccer player of all-time. As a youth, Marta fought through overwhelming gender stereotypes to become the most technically gifted player of her generation. She is retiring from World Cup play with the highest goal total in the competition across both men’s and women’s play. Her legacy on and off the field will certainly stand the test of time.
Marta’s unwavering spirit has led to an incredible rivalry with Rachel Daly in the NWSL, and if there’s anything this Twitter thread proves, it’s that her ferocity is perfect for the NFL. The pressure of a high-stakes field goal pales in comparison to what Marta has faced in her lifetime, and we could expect someone of her resolve to be cool as a cucumber while knocking game winners through the uprights.
So there you have it — the perfect NFL Franken-kicker. While we’d love to see what the actual product would look like on a gridiron, we’d gladly settle for an NFL team taking a chance on Carli Lloyd.