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MLB Insider Compares NFL Kicker To Former Cardinals Pitcher

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Brett Maher #19 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after missing an extra point against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023 in Tampa, Florida.
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

 

The Dallas Cowboys were able to advance to the Divisional Round in the NFL playoffs after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

With their win, the NFC East division managed to get three of its four teams (the other two being the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants) in the aforementioned round, with the remaining one being the San Francisco 49ers.

However, they didn’t do it without some scares courtesy of their own kicker.

Brett Maher became the first kicker in regular season or postseason history to miss four extra points in one game.

The stat has been tracked for individual players since 1932, per Elias Sports Bureau.

That’s history, although perhaps not the kind he was trying to make.

What he did can be translated to all sports, and baseball – most specifically MLB – is of course one of them.

“Watching Dallas #Cowboys kicker Brett Maher miss four extra-points certainly resurrects painful memories of #STLCards pitcher Rick Ankiel’s sudden inability to throw strikes in the 2000 postseason. Ankiel was later converted to a successful outfielder,” MLB insider Bob Nightengale tweeted.

In that 2000 postseason with the St. Louis Cardinals, Ankiel issued an incredible 11 walks in just four frames.

He just couldn’t find the strike zone.

Much like how Chuck Knoblauch had some persistent issues throwing the ball from second to first base, or Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t successfully or cleanly throw the ball back to the pitcher, professional sports are filled with these quirks.

The most shocking thing is that Ankiel had a terrific regular season, with a 3.50 ERA in 175 innings in the middle of the steroids era.

He did have a control issue, but it was mild: definitely not as bad as it looked in the postseason.

He then was converted into a hitter and had a few good years.

Maher’s performance last night could be the equivalent of Ankiel’s struggles to find the plate.



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