David Beckham’s odd-shaped balls – does Becks have a future in rugby or the NFL?

Ollie Irish

28th, November 2007


Sister Shiny site Scrumbag (try saying that after a bottle and a half of Calvados) posted recently on the topic of David Beckham and odd-shaped balls. Naturally, I clicked on it, only to find a semi-serious debate on whether Becks could have a career in rugby. This opinion is based on the recent PR stunt in Australia, when Beckham ‘hoofed’ some Aussie rules & rugger balls into Sydney Harbour.
There’s no way Beckham could make it in rugby or Aussie rules, simply because they don’t have designated kickers. However, I’m sure he could do well in American football, a sport that does have that specialist position. Kickers can keep going into their forties (see kicking legend Morten Anderson, who at 47 is currently the oldest active player in the NFL) and I see no reason why Beckham couldn’t make the switch from ‘soccer’ to ‘gridiron’ in his mid-thirties. Any NFL team would love a player with the global appeal of Beckham, who is, for all his faults as a player, still one of the best dead-ball strikers in the world, if not the best.

The problem Beckham might have is that his body shape and run-up causes him to strike a ball with a significant degree of curve on it – that doesn’t really play in American football, where it’s better to strike a clean, straight ball. I’m sure Beckham has the skill to compensate for that, and I’d certainly be fascinated to see him try. He’d have the length to kick 55-60 yard field goals, at least according to fellow Adidas sports star Reggie Bush, who teamed up with Beckham earlier this year (see photo, above).

Do you think he could make it in the NFL, as a kicker or even punter?

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  1. Joe says:

    Even if he could, I sort of doubt Becks would do it. Kickers and punters are the pariahs of NFL teams, where coaches and other players will even mock their own kicker in press conferences.
    That said, he might be able to do it if he wanted. According to this spectacular article that I somehow remembered from four years ago, David James (shockingly) would fancy his own chances:

  2. Doug says:

    Oh, Kickers aren’t treated that badly, as long as they do their job.
    Plus it gives us an excellent chance to see how Becks responds to a botched snap.

  3. Brett says:

    Place kicking in the NFL involves mainly two things (besides the mechanics which any retard can get down pat after enough practice) –
    Range (you have to be able to make accurate kicks beyond 50 yards, anything less and you won’t ever get signed by an NFL team)
    Nerves of steel – most important because really all the kicker is needed for are easy chip shots or situations where the teams needs to settle for 3 points instead of 6 (no/little nerves required) and the last second win-or-die kick (or tie, which can be helpful too in order to get into OT).
    I have no doubt Becks can kick a football 50+ yards but performing under pressure is what sets apart guys like Adam Vinetieri (won two Super Bowls with field goals, not to mention numerous other playoff games) from the rest of the pack. That’s also why guys like Mort Anderson at 47 can still play (besides the fact the kicker barely ever gets touched) – there are only so many guys that can handle the pressure of winning or losing an entire game based on one kick of the ball. Hence only 1-2 rookie kickers a year (maybe?) make it into the NFL, and the same guys bounce around from team to team for years.

  4. pbg says:

    not exactly on topic, but i just love seeing that adidas picture at the top of this post. Bex is fit as can be in real life but looks like a malnourished extra from ‘Oliver’ in that NFL gear. A femur fracture witing to happen in the NFL. Meanwhile Reggie looks a bit thick in the galaxy kit but could definitely run around up top and poach goals. Fun comparison, might like to see (with no harm done) how R. Bush would take to a hard one at knee level from Frings, Gattuso, et.al. :)

  5. dp says:

    What’s frightening is that Bush is considered too small to handle the wear and tear of playing every down in the NFL at running back; I just want to know what’ll happen when Becks lets one rip and he gets destroyed by some lineman trying to make a name for himself. As for the pressure–I think he can handle it. The man has had an entire nation watching him over a dead ball, so it’s not like it’s something new.

  6. Kcc says:

    The whole anti-kicker thing is more of a superstition than an actual hatred. But plenty of soccer players play football, especially at the college level. As for his fame, no NFL team would care one rip about his global appeal. To most US sports fans, Beckham is kind of a joke. Football teams in America don’t have to try for attention like in soccer. On the other hand, he did tie Jason Elam’s (Go Broncos!) field goal record on one of his first tries. But if a team did pick him up, they would treat him like any other kicker. “Shut up and sit on the bench until we need a field goal. The rest of us are going to go out there and play football.”

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