Rumours are swirling of David Beckham trying his hand as a NFL kicker. Al Dannity loves a good story but this one is a non-starter.
David Beckham was a fantastic Soccer player, winning enough trophies to break any mantelpiece. He’s also about as good a name as any team in sports could hope to hire for an ambassadorial role with them. Heck, he’s even a guy nice enough to give all of his salary from playing half a season with Paris St Germain to charity. What he’s not and never will be is an NFL ready kicker.
Yes, Beckham could kick a Soccer ball better than nearly everyone else on the planet. Beckham is good at kicking things, I’ve got that. Do you know who is also good at kicking things? Players who have dedicated their careers to being really good at kicking a Football while wearing pads, managing their run-ups, gauging weather, and facing down a bunch of guys who want to rip their heads off. Even that description does place kickers an injustice. Kicking in the NFL is really hard. Yes there have been players who have converted from Soccer to play in the NCAA ranks but most of them had some experience of actually playing Football before.
Beckham is an extraordinary athlete but contrary to popular, ok Florio’s, opinion so are kickers. The years of dedication required to becoming a NFL kicker are no different to playing linebacker, running back, or offensive tackle. Kickers may not get hit as much but they require the same specialist dedication. Beckham could have been a NFL kicker if he had considered the option 20 years ago. There was no reason to then, as he was one of the most promising Soccer talents in the world and sure enough he fulfilled his potential.
Crossing over from one sport to another is extremely difficult, that’s why two-sport athletes are so wildly revered. Rugby players have tried making the switch before, Gavin Hastings played a year with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe. The offers from across the Atlantic didn’t come because Hastings, despite a career as one of the finest place kickers in Rugby history, simply couldn’t cut it. Rumours have swirled in Europe for years of others trying to succeed where Hastings failed. None of these came to anything and many were unfounded. This Beckham story began with a ‘Hollywood source’ telling an English daily. It might sell papers but it doesn’t cut the mustard. Even Al Davis wouldn’t have tried something this crazy.