Mike Zimmer’s never-ending quest to find peace, harmony and sanity with kickers tends to inspire a revolving door effect. They come and go with regularity.
Here’s a suggestion the next time Zim decides to change kickers again: She’s playing soccer in St. Paul on Tuesday night.
Carli Lloyd, one of the most decorated players in U.S. women’s soccer history, is contemplating trying a new career at some point. NFL kicker. Maybe as soon as next season.
“If there is a female that possesses all those qualities and is good enough to be there, sure, why not?” Lloyd said.
Is that person her?
“Potentially, yeah,” she said.
Lloyd and the U.S. women’s national team are in town as part of their Victory Tour after defending their World Cup title this summer in France. The Americans play Portugal in a sold-out friendly at Allianz Field on Tuesday.
Lloyd created a stir in a different kind of football last week when she attended a joint training camp practice between the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens. Afterward, she decided to have some fun and attempt a field goal. Her approach was unconventional with a few extra steps, but she displayed her leg strength by nailing a 55-yard field goal, which was captured on video.
“Next thing you know,” she said, “it became majorly viral.”
And with that sprang an idea: Could Lloyd become the NFL’s first woman placekicker? That wasn’t her intention when she kicked the field goal. She just wanted to try something new, and her competitive nature took over in that moment.
But the story gained steam, Lloyd discussed the idea with her husband (he’s in favor of it) and fans sent messages encouraging her. Now she’s giving it serious thought.
Lloyd told the NFL Network that two teams contacted her about possibly kicking in a preseason game. Were the Vikings one of those teams?
“I can’t disclose,” she said. “You guys may never know.”
Before anyone dismisses this as crazy, have you noticed the state of kicking in the NFL lately? Teams cycle through kickers all the time, desperate to find consistency.
If Lloyd or any another woman is good enough to do the job, why shouldn’t she be given the opportunity? NFL organizations are always looking to gain an edge in the pursuit of winning. Gender shouldn’t matter. Just results.
Barriers are crumbling all throughout sports. The NFL has women officials, women scouts, women assistant coaches. A woman kicker/punter is the next frontier.
Some have raised concerns about physical differences between men and women in a violent sport. Yes, if something goes wrong on a kick and Lloyd had to tackle a ball carrier, that could be a problem. But how often does that happen? And male kickers duck and/or whiff while attempting to tackle all the time.
“I’m not trying to be a running back or a quarterback,” Lloyd told the NFL Network. “That would be an epic fail. But I do know that I can kick a ball very well.”
Lloyd has honed her technique kicking a soccer ball through years of training. She figures kicking a football is no different. It’s technique, practice, refinement over and over until it becomes second nature.
“I don’t think anything is difficult if you put your mind to it,” she said.
The competitor in her finds a new challenge appealing. Lloyd also understands the importance of breaking down barriers for women in sports and life. Lloyd and her U.S. teammates use their platform to challenge myriad issues, most prominently pay inequality.
“As soon as I started playing sports, I didn’t care if I went up against boys,” Lloyd said. “I always had that hunger and that desire to be better than the boys. Not to discredit any of the men that kick, but I’d like to say that I’d be able to do it as well.”
She makes it clear that soccer remains her immediate focus. She hopes to compete in the Olympics next year and plans to play “as long as my body allows me to do that.”
She finds kicking in the NFL tempting, though. At least giving it a shot.
“I’ve got to get some pads on, get a helmet on and go for it,” she said.