On Sunday, Brown
(above) beat the Broncos with his NFL-record-tying fourth game-winning kick of
the season. "I go into those kicks thinking about practice, thinking about
the same rhythms I had three days ago," says Brown. "I'm doing
repetitions in my head, good positive moments, and then--boom!--replaying them
on the field. Beforehand I talk to Steve Landro, the ball guy on the sideline.
He keeps me relaxed. We don't talk about the situation. We talk about things
going on, about people in the stands. The [home] fans get more encouraging with
their screaming: 'C'mon, Brown. We believe in you.' So we're like, 'Don't they
ever think maybe I want them to leave me alone?' We just goof around. When he's
not there, I'll talk to a police officer or somebody." Brown, who traces
his confidence this season to soul-searching he did after missing a potential
game-winner last year against Washington, says he isn't even bothered by fans
who heckle on the road. "'Wide left! You suck! You're horrible! Upright!'
You're going to hear that stuff," says Brown. "That's just the way it
"I take deep
breaths and tell myself, Go out and be a hero," says Tynes, who is grateful
when an opponent calls time to "freeze" him before a kick. "I love
it. You get to gauge the wind and look at your spot, clean it up if it's not
smooth. It helps. The best part of the game is to see grown men jumping up and
down because of something that came off your foot, that's the best. When you
miss? There's nothing worse. It's like when your parents say they're
disappointed in you."
When Cincy has
the ball late, says Graham, "I go near the goalpost and take pieces of
paper or trash and flip them in the air to see where the wind's going. I may
look like a weirdo, but I don't care. The fun thing about making one is the
difference in sound. At home it goes from quiet to loud, away it goes from an
uproar to dead silent. They're equally rewarding. After an away game you see it
the next day on film, and you see people behind the goalpost holding up their
middle fingers, holding up signs. I don't see it when it's happening, but it's
funny to see it on film."
"I like to
run on the field far behind where I'm going to kick," says Kaeding.
"It's a trick I play with my mind. I'm looking at the uprights 20 yards
farther than I'm going to be. Then when I come to my spot, it looks like a
shorter kick. For [road] fans [heckling at that time] is their favorite thing
in the world. They read the media guide: 'Hey, your dad, Larry, I saw him out
last night.' You know that at work the next day they [want to] brag, 'I got in
the kicker's head and made him miss.'"
"I kicked a
game-winner in Indy, and [Colt] Bob Sanders' face mask hit my knee," Scobee
says. "I fell down to try to draw a penalty. I lay there, then accidentally
kneed our doctor in the groin on a reflex check. I was ready to get up, but he
asked me to stay down while he composed himself. The fans thought I was faking,
so when I came back out for kickoff, they let me have it. They got a 'You
suck!' chant going."