When Ravens PK Billy Cundiff got his NFL break with Dallas in 2002, routinely crushing kickoffs was not within his scope.
"I got in the league, I'm used to kicking off from the 35, with a two-inch tee," said Cundiff, who played collegiality at Drake, "and I weighed about 190 pounds. So I had a lot of things going against me."
He chuckled as he told the story. Look at statistics now and it's hard to stifle a laugh, too, one of amazement. In the first 12 games in 2010, Cundiff, 30, had more than three times as many touchbacks (a league-high 34) as he had in his first 70 NFL games (11), leaving him just seven short of setting a record for touchbacks since the NFL moved kickoffs back to the 30-yard line in 1994.
How does a placekicker not known for a powerful leg suddenly become the NFL's king of touchbacks? According to the 6-1, 212-pound Cundiff, it was something he never set out to do. He had tinkered with his kickoff form for years, but he began to have sustained success kicking long this summer, as he competed with Shayne Graham to be the Ravens' kicker. Cundiff won the job, with his kickoffs a deciding factor, and he has proceeded to have his finest season to date, both on kickoffs as well as field goals.
Click to read Pro Football Weekly's article in it's entirety.
Read my November 2009 blog 'Billy Cundiff Back In NFL'
Click below to listen to Billy Cundiff's Testimonial on working with Coach Zauner: