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Fan_Since_64

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#2 - David Akers
« on: March 15, 2009, 09:32:59 PM »



#2
David Akers


It took kicker David Akers, who has been with the Eagles since 1999, a bit of time to establish himself in the NFL, but since becoming the regular placekicker for the Birds in 2000, he has broken and re-broken most of the team’s kicking and scoring records, achieved league-wide honors, and as a result has solidified his hold at #2 on the Greatest Eagles by the Numbers list.

An undrafted free agent out of Louisville, David originally signed with the Carolina Panthers in 1997, but was released during the pre-season. A second attempt to make the NFL with Atlanta in the ’98 pre-season also failed, but he was subsequently signed to Washington’s practice squad. Akers was activated for one game with the taterskins that season, and while he kicked his first two career PATs, he missed on both of his field goal attempts and was released the following week.

David was signed by the Eagles following the 1998 season and spent time honing his skills that spring with the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe. While Norm Johnson handled the bulk of the placekicking chores in ’99, Akers made the roster, specializing on kickoffs and long-distance field goal attempts. His first field goal for the Birds certainly made a favorable impression, as he boomed a 53-yarder at Miami. Overall, he connected on three of six field goal attempts (one of the misses was from 59 yards; the other two successful kicks were from 48 and 46 yards).

Inheriting the full-time placekicking job in 2000, David set a new team record for points in a season with 121, and his 29 field goals were one short of the club mark set by Paul McFadden in 1984. He kicked 12 consecutive field goals to start the season, which, combined with his last successful attempt in ’99, broke the previous record of 12 that was shared by Sam Baker and Gary Anderson. His season high of four field goals in a game at Pittsburgh included a memorable time-running-down, no-time-to-set-up, game-tying boot, and sealed his reputation as a clutch kicker. Indeed, that performance against the Steelers concluded a two week run in which Akers twice kicked game-tying field goals late in the fourth quarter and then followed up with the game-winners in overtime. A mild end-of-season slump that lasted into the postseason (he made one field goal in three attempts, with the misses from 36 and 30 yards) couldn’t dim his overall success.

In 2001, Akers kicked three fewer field goals than he had the previous season (26) and scored fewer points (115), yet was truly a better kicker. He broke his own record for consecutive field goals, with 17 straight three-pointers stretched out over ten games and achieved a personal best with 5 field goals (in as many attempts) at Dallas. He continued to burnish his reputation for clutch kicking, culminating in a 35-yard boot in frigid conditions at Veterans Stadium vs. the Giants that assured the Eagles an Eastern Division title. He also displayed a knack for making tackles on kickoff returns that further endeared him to the fans.

David continued to excel in 2002, with a regular season in which he tied McFadden’s club record with 30 field goals while missing only four; unfortunately, a miss from 35 yards out against the Giants at the Meadowlands in the season finale not only deprived him of sole possession of the season record, but ultimately resulted in an Eagles loss in a hard-fought game. Nevertheless, the season as a whole was an outstanding one for Akers, as he was universally recognized as one of the premier placekickers in the NFL and broke his team season scoring record with a total of 133 points.

(cont'd.)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 10:02:10 PM by Fan_Since_64 »
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Fan_Since_64

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#2 - David Akers (Part 2)
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 09:39:29 PM »

(cont'd. from Part 1)

Akers kicked the longest field goal of his career, 57 yards, on Sept. 14, 2003, which was also his first regular season attempt at the new Lincoln Financial Field and the lone highlight in an otherwise dismal 31-10 loss to New England. The season included another 13-straight field goal streak, which included consecutive four-for-four performances vs. New Orleans at home and Carolina on the road. All in all, the field goal and point totals were down (24 and 114, respectively), but more as a result of the offense’s struggles in the first half of the season than any letdown in the kicker’s performance. David added to his stash of memorable clutch field goals in the postseason during the 20-17 win over Green Bay in the NFC Divisional playoff, with a 37-yarder to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation and a 31-yard kick in overtime to seal the victory.

Akers had his fifth consecutive 100-point season (122) in 2004 (another Eagles first) and concluded a record streak of 153 consecutive extra points (finally failing to connect in a win over Dallas on Dec. 19). He had a career high six field goal attempts in a game at Chicago, succeeding on four, and put together his second-longest consecutive field goal streak with 15, which culminated in yet another four-for-four performance against the Packers on Dec. 5. He even punted for the only time (36 yards).

After five seasons of consistently strong performance, Akers suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2005. He missed three of his first four field goal attempts in the first two games of the season, and then was forced to miss four games after suffering a severe hamstring injury on the opening kickoff against Oakland on Sept. 25 (although he still managed to kick a game-winning 23-yard field goal). While he returned to form, including another four-for-four field goal game vs. Green Bay, Akers finished the season with just 16 of 22 field goal attempts for his lowest percentage as the Eagles’ full-time kicker (72.7).

David connected on 18 of 23 field goal attempts in 2006 – his fewest over the course of a full 16 games – putting him again under 80 percent (78.3). He also missed for the only time from within 30 yards (a 23-yard attempt in the season finale against Atlanta). However, his kickoffs were going deeper than ever (he reached double figures in touchbacks for the third time in his career, with 11, and averaged 65.5 yards on his 83 kickoffs) and he also threw his only career pass, an 11-yard completion against Green Bay. In the end, he was back over 100 points (102) and in the postseason he kicked a 38-yard field goal with no time left to give the Birds a 23-20 win over the Giants in the Wild Card playoff.

On Dec. 16, 2007, with a 21-yard field goal in a win at Dallas, Akers achieved a major milestone by surpassing Bobby Walston to become the all-time leading scorer in Eagles history. It was a significant career achievement in a season in which he showed signs of decline – while he kicked 24 field goals, his highest total in three seasons, he was successful in only two of 10 attempts from beyond 40 yards and his overall percentage of 75.0 was the second lowest of his career. The kickoffs were dropping shorter as well, and there were concerns that, at age 33, his leg strength was declining. Still, one of his successful long field goal attempts was a 53-yarder at Giants Stadium (a venue where he has notoriously had more than average difficulty over the course of his career), he had another four-for-four game in a loss to Washington on Sept. 17, and he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month after scoring 31 points in October (9 field goals, 4 PATs). And while his range was shortened, the accuracy was still formidable as he went a perfect 22 of 22 inside of 40 yards.

The concerns regarding decline dogged Akers into the 2008 season, especially when he missed two long field goal attempts (47 and 50 yards) in a 24-20 loss at Chicago and a 50-yard attempt in a home loss to Washington the next week. He further suffered the indignity of having a 54-yard field goal attempt blocked and returned for a TD at San Francisco (in a game in which he was successful on four other occasions) and two more blocked in a game against the Giants at the Meadowlands, with one also returned for a score. And yet in the end he set new team season records with 33 field goals, 40 attempts (tied with Tom Dempsey), and 144 points (which also led the NFC), and had career highs with kickoffs averaging 65.8 yards and 17 touchbacks. David also broke his own record for consecutive PATs, with 154 (and counting). The rollercoaster season concluded with strong showings in the first two playoff games, but a disappointing performance in the NFC Championship game at Arizona in which he missed both a 47-yard field goal attempt and an extra point (which of course doesn’t count against the regular season streak, but certainly occurred at an inopportune time), and also had an errant kickoff that went out of bounds.   

For his regular season career, Akers has kicked a total of  230 field goals out of 284 attempts (81.0 percent), for a total of 1041 points (all team records), and also has connected on 353 PATs out of 357 attempts (98.9 percent). His field goals break down by distance as follows: 4-4 from 1 to 19 yards; 72-73 from 20 to 29 yards; 78-88 from 30 to 39 yards; 63-93 from 40 to 49 yards; and 13-26 from 50 yards and beyond. He also had two rushing attempts on fake field goals (one each in 2000 and 2002) for a combined 25 yards.

David has achieved several team postseason milestones: longest field goal (51 yards at  Minnesota in the NFC Wild Card game following the 2008 season), most total points (128), most career field goals (30), most field goals in a game (4, in as many attempts, twice - at Chicago in an NFC Divisional Playoff following the 2001 season and at Minnesota in the NFC Wild Card game after the 2008 season; tied with Luis Zendejas), and most career postseason extra points (38).

Akers was an All-NFL first team choice by Sports Illustrated following the 2000 season, and was a consensus All-NFL or All-NFC pick in ’01, ’02, and ‘04. He was chosen for the Pro Bowl following the 2001, ’02, and ‘04 seasons (having been first alternate for the NFC in 2000), and was selected as placekicker on the Eagles 75th anniversary all-time team.

The 5’10”, 200-pound Akers, a former high school running back who practices the martial arts, has brought athleticism to a position that is often derided for not being manned by “real” players, and has been an intense competitor (at times perhaps too intense) in becoming the best placekicker in Eagles history, as well as one of the most consistent in NFL history. That there have been the occasional bumps along the road only serve to accent that overall record of consistency and success.

David Akers’ career record with the Eagles so far:

Year
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
G
16
16
16
16
16
16
12
16
16
16
FG
3-  6
29-33
26-31
30-34 
24-29
27-32
16-22
18-23
24-32
33-40
FG %
50.0
87.9
83.9
88.2
82.8
84.4
72.7
78.3
75.0
82.5
PAT
2-  2
34-36
37-38
43-43
42-42
41-42
23-23
48-48
36-36
45-45


« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 10:03:43 PM by Fan_Since_64 »
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Diomedes

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Re: #2 - David Akers (Part 2)
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 09:42:41 PM »

why are you posting this in a separate thread than part one?
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #2 - David Akers (Part 2)
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 09:46:06 PM »

I exceeded the size limit for a single post.  :-\
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Diomedes

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Re: #2 - David Akers (Part 2)
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 09:48:27 PM »

sure, but that doesn't mean you gotta start a new thread dumbass

just post the second part as a reply
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Diomedes

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Re: #2 - David Akers (Part 2)
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009, 09:50:59 PM »

you are cracking me up though
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #2 - David Akers (Part 1)
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2009, 09:59:28 PM »

LOL!   :-D

You can really tell I work for a high tech communications company, can't you?   :-[
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rjs246

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Re: #2 - David Akers
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2009, 10:19:27 PM »

The obsession with consolidating threads must end.
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Is rjs gonna have to choke a bitch?

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General_Failure

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Re: #2 - David Akers
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2009, 10:29:27 PM »

Please post that in The Everything Must End Thread. Thank you.
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The man. The myth. The legend.

Fan_Since_64

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Re: #2 - David Akers
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 10:01:25 PM »

Other Eagles who wore #2:

Joe Pitconis (E, 1934)
Mike Michel (P/PK, 1978 - the reason the Eagles lost the Wild Card playoff to Atlanta  :boom )
Mike Horan (P, 1984-85 - the runner-up)
Dean Dorsey (PK, 1988)
Steve DeLine (PK, 1989)
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