We have argued here at SB Nation that playing quarterback is the toughest job in sports.
But we also need to acknowledge that there are some other difficult jobs in football. Among them? Holding for extra points and field goals. You need to catch the snap, get the ball down, spin the laces — thanks a lot Ace Ventura for making that a bit of household knowledge — and make sure the ball is put down just the way the kicker wants it.
And when things go wrong, everyone is going to know your name.
Having set that framework, let’s talk about this extra point attempt from Navy against South Florida:
First off, as you can notice from the announcing team kicker Nathan Kirkwood actually false starts here, and had the play been blown dead that might have been the best result possible for the Midshipmen.
With the timing already thrown off, converting this PAT was going to be an uphill climb for Navy to begin with. But things get worse when the snap is high. Dealing with a high snap as a holder is tough, as you now have to go up and get it, and then bring it back down. While a low snap poses its own set of problems, sometimes those are easier to stop and prop up, instead of reaching for and getting down.
However, this snap goes through the hands of holder Kellen Grave de Peralta, and now we are in a fire drill situation. In an ideal world as a holder you start screaming “fire fire fire” or whatever the call is, everyone hears you and releases on their assigned routes for that situation, and you quickly corral the loose football, make a perfect throw for the two-point conversion, and the coaches have you working out with the quarterbacks at practice on Monday …
I lost myself for a moment, where was I?
However, this scenario is less than ideal for Navy, as the ball skips downfield, and away from Grave de Peralta. Which leads to the poor holder getting sandwiched between two South Florida players:
Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation …
Now pure chaos is unfolding. South Florida’s kick block team is smelling two points of their own, and linebacker Jhalyn Shuler — listed at 6’3 230 — pounces on the loose football. When Shuler looks up he sees the last line of defense for Navy.
Kicker Kirkwood, listed at a lean 6’2 174:
This is the special teams equivalent of the Rob Stack meme from “Battle of the Bastards.”
Only this time Sansa Stark does not ride to the rescue.
Kirkwood makes a valiant effort, but Shuler is off to the races with a convoy. Instead of a tie game, South Florida takes a three-point lead.
And gives the Navy coaching staff something to talk about during Monday’s film session.