By Zac Bellman
Lauren Silberman was set to make NFL history on Sunday, March 3rd, becoming the first female to try out at an NFL Regional Combine in New Jersey. The buildup in the media was huge because it appeared we were on the way to having the first female kicker in the NFL. However, her day ended prematurely when a quadriceps injury forced her to call it quits after two short kickoffs that traveled 19 and 13 yards.
Members of the media have proceeded to lash out against her, saying she made a mockery of the tryout and wasted an opportunity to draw attention to other women who are looking to get a foothold in sports. Basically they’re mad that she wasted everybody’s time. On top of that, she spoke very briefly with the mob of reporters who were out there to see her and didn’t even use her fifteen minutes of fame to promote her innovative video game training program for athletes. Then she left, likely to never be heard from again.
Many in the media are dismissing this entire event as a bust and tearing Silberman down as quickly as they built her up a couple weeks ago. The thing that bothers me about this whole situation is not how far her kicks went, not that she gave up after only two kicks, and not how she handled the media afterwards. Being the football purist that I am, I watched her mechanics on her two kicks. Say what you want about her dedication, but if she had any potential to kick in the NFL, it would come through in her form regardless of injury. Looking at her approach, two things jumped out at me. One, she starts with a bit of a hop step that kills her momentum right off the bat. Two, her pace is not consistent and throws off her timing on both of her kicks.
I’m not a kicker. I’ve never kicked at any level of football. However I am a bowler, and there are certain things about the delivery of a bowling ball and the technique of a kickoff that are similar. Momentum and pace are key to the successful performance of sending a bowling ball down the lane as well as kicking a football down the field. Silberman was off on both counts, but that is nothing that a good coach can’t help her fix.
From what I could see in the video, it does appear that Silberman was serious about this attempt at an NFL career but was hampered by her injury. Time to recover coupled with some time with a kicking coach to work out the kinks could mold this former college soccer player into the next Greg Zuerlein.