February 01, 2011

On David Akers

This story has taken over the Philadelphia sports world in the last week: David Akers, the longtime Eagles kicker who missed two field goals in the team's loss to Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs, revealed this week that his six-year-old was recently diagnosed with a tumor on her ovary, and that he was waiting to hear about test results at the time of the game.

Complicating matters was that Andy Reid, in the postgame press conference, had singled out Akers, answering a reporter's question by stating "we can all count; those points would have helped."

Now, a few points on this: First, I'm highly sympathetic to Akers. It's one thing to worry about a family health emergency, especially one that serious. It's another when you're waiting to hear about results, and have to go about your daily business while doing so. So my thoughts are with him and his family.

As for the Reid angle? I'm sure the coach regrets saying that, and really, he's known for almost never specifically criticizing players after games. But you know what? It was a pretty innocuous comment. It wasn't like he said "David Akers is the reason we lost and he should be ashamed of himself." I don't understand why we call these players warriors and gladiators, but expect them to fall to pieces in the face of the mildest of criticism from a teammate or coach. I'd like the phrase "threw him under the bus" to be completely eradicated from all sports discussion.

Then there's Mike Missanelli's position, which is that it's okay for Reid to bash Akers, because kickers don't really count as football players. Missanelli's right most of the time, but when he's wrong, he's horribly, egregiously wrong.

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 1, 2011 04:52 PM
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