Kickers and punters come up with the craziest excuses when they shank the ball. They blame everything—the wind, the rain, the sun, the field—but themselves.
What could a kicker possibly blame when he messes up inside a domed stadium? You would be surprised.
Rohn Stark, the Colts' punter, remembers playing against the Vikings in the Metrodome when the lines on the field were marked with chalk instead of paint: "Pat Beach [the snapper] picked up the ball right off one of the lines. It was full of chalk. The snap came back to me head-high. When I caught it the chalk nailed me in the face. I could barely see the ball on my drop. I fought it off just enough to keep one eye on the ball and managed to get the kick off."
Lee Johnson, the Oilers' punter, lists these Astrodome hazards: "First of all there are cracks in the [ AstroTurf] seams that form small hills where second base and the pitcher's mound are [for baseball]. Then there's a giant ridge that runs all the way across the field. Shoot, it must be at least an inch or an inch and a half high. You can stub your toe on that. Then there are the pigeons in the roof."
Rich Karlis, the Broncos' kicker, says, "The air conditioners have gotten me."
And as long as we're talking about domes and punting, here's one interesting story that the Chargers' kicker, Rolf Benirschke, tells about a time he was approached by then coach Don Coryell in the Seattle Kingdome. According to Benirschke, Coryell said, "Well, Rolf, do you want to kick with the wind or against it?"
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