The NFL’s best kicker: “I’m 100 percent honest with you here, when I run out onto the field to attempt a game-winning field goal, I’m nervous, I’m scared.”
HBO/VO: The game is on the line … you’re on the edge of your seat. It just may be the most nerve-racking 1.3 seconds in all of sports … from the snap … to the hold … to the kick …
They say that it’s the loneliest position in football. For place kickers, it’s either the thrill of victory …
Or the agony of defeat …
Which brings us to that man … Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens … the most accurate place kicker in the entire history of the NFL.
SOT 53-yard field goal coming here. Justin Tucker. WHAT a kicker! Absolutely perfect!
A guy who puts it through the uprights more than 90 percent of the time …
SOT: From 57 yards away, Justin Tucker … he’s the best kicker in the NFL. He probably would have made that from 67 yards away!
JUSTIN TUCKER: Let’s just break it down for a second. You’re out there, expected to do your job, and to do it well in front of, realistically, 20 million people watchin’ on TV, if not more.
JUSTIN TUCKER: When I’m back there in that moment, like, ‘I’m the guy. I’m gonna make this kick. And nobody can take this moment away from me.’
BERNIE GOLDBERG: You’ve had more than a few dramatic kicks .
JUSTIN TUCKER: Yeah. I don’t hit anybody out on the football field. But in that moment, like, I could run through a brick wall.
JUSTIN TUCKER: There definitely was a side of me that felt slighted by not being drafted. ‘Cause essentially, 32 teams, seven times over, just passed over me.
v/o: You’d have every right to think that when Justin Tucker runs onto the field, he has nerves of steel, ice in his veins, or some other dopey cliché. And you’d be wrong.
JUSTIN TUCKER: I’m probably just as nervous if not more nervous than the folks watchin’ at home on TV or everybody there in the stands watchin’ the game.
BERNIE GOLDBERG: Let me just jump in and say that surprises me. You’re actually nervous.
JUSTIN TUCKER: I’m 100 percent honest with you here, when I run out onto the field to attempt a game-winning field goal, I’m nervous, I’m scared.
BERNIE GOLDBERG: I would have thought you’re, no offense, a stone-cold killer out there.
JUSTIN TUCKER: I kinda like the way you said that. It makes us sound way more badass then we probably are (laughter). I think for the 1.3 seconds that matter, we’re all stone-cold. That’s part of our physical and mental training, is being able to flip a switch when it matters the most.
One more thing that rattles around in his head before he lines up to kick: his legacy.
JUSTIN TUCKER: This will sound ridiculous, but I ask myself, like, ‘If you are ever going to be considered one of the greatest, you have to make this kick.’”