Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lawrence Tynes: A Troll for All Seasons

Quick: Who was the placekicker for the Steelers during Pittsburgh's glory days in the 1970s? Who kicked the extra points after those myriad Montana-to-Rice touchdowns? Who booted the pigskin through the uprights for the '86 Chicago Bears? Or for the three Redskins teams that won the Lombardi Trophy?

I don't know either.

No matter who you root for, you  have to tip your hat to the New York Giants teams of 2007 and 2011. They weren't favored to win a championship either year, not even after they made the playoffs, but their defense found a groove, holding their opponents to an overall average of 15 points per game for both playoff runs. True, the offense only managed 23 points per game during those runs, but they put points on the board when they had to, including 4th-quarter / OT comebacks in FIVE of the eight games. Clearly, the offense, and the defense, has bragging rights if they want them.

Notice I said offense and defense, not special teams.

Perhaps if I logged onto Twitter and saw that Justin Tuck or Eli Manning, you know, players who actually contributed to the Giants' wins, was talking smack about the New England Patriots, I might understand. But these men were silent--and Lawrence Tynes, a kicker, was shooting off his mouth:

A quick look at Tynes' Twitter profile shows that he identifies himself as an "OT Playoff FG Bad-Ass" and features a picture of Tynes holding aloft one of the Giants' Lombardi Trophies. Instantly I was reminded of the John Steinbeck quote: "The less we have, the more we are required to brag", and the old proverb, "An empty cart rattles loudly". Yes, I know, Tynes played on two championship teams. I also know that Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Tom Brady combined don't boast nearly as much as Tynes does.

Judging by his tweets, Tynes was brimming with confidence about the game. So imagine his horror when Malcolm Butler stoned the Seahawks on the goal line! The best he could manage was this:

Ohh, I see. So we're playing the good sport now, are we? And we're all going to shake hands and go home? Just like we would have if the Patriots lost? Sure. If the Patriots lost this game, Tynes would still be needling them. He's still rubbing in the Giants' victories, the last of which was three years ago! So sorry, Lawrence, nobody's in the mood to sing Kumbaya.

I got a hunch about our buddy Mr. Tynes, like I often do about such things. Something told me he wasn't much of a kicker. Boy, was I right:

Lawrence Tynes isn't just a bad kicker. He's historically bad. He's how-the-hell-does-he-have-a-job bad. The missed PATs alone should have earned him a one-way ticket out of town, let alone his abysmal inaccuracy from 40+. Fun fact: According to, FBS 1-A kickers--these are college players, mind you--have a 76.6% average from 40-49 yards out, over 5% better than Tynes' career number from that range.

Sorry, Tynes fans, but the news isn't much better from 50 yards out. The top 30 FBS 1-A group has an impressive 62% success rate from that range--almost 15% better than your guy. Still think he should be shooting off his mouth?

But the fifth bullet point above is what really blows my mind. Twice in the closing minutes, the Giants drove to more than makeable field-goal range (43 and 36 yards, respectively), and twice, Lawrence Tynes choked the opportunities away. After losing the toss in OT, Tynes was probably considering a new career in the fast-food industry. Had the Packers come out on top, the Giants' loss would have been squarely on Tynes' head. Yes, he made the kick in OT, from a respectable 47 yards away, but that does not excuse his earlier failures. A professional kicker has one main job--to make field goals--and there is zero excuse for missing from those distances, especially not twice.

Tynes' interpretation of the above events was that he is an "OT playoff FG bad-ass". But what does this mean, exactly? That he's only good in overtime, and all the rest of the time, he sucks? I don't care what you did in OT. The game never should have gotten that far.

Oh, and lest we forget, the only other playoff OT experience Tynes has is a 31-yard kick against San Francisco. I guess, on some level, he deserves credit for this, but only in the way that a shortstop deserves credit for throwing a runner out at first on a routine ground ball.

Despite his dubious OT "heroics", Tynes is far from a clutch kicker. His accuracy is significantly worse in the playoffs (72.2%) than it is during the regular season (82.3%).

On top of everything else, Tynes is clearly a man of low character. The adolescent taunting and poor sportsmanship he displayed above is just the beginning. In 2005, Tynes was charged with a felony for punching a bar patron in the face, then punching the bouncer, breaking his nose. He was eventually let go after paying a small fine.

Tynes has also requested a presidential pardon for his brother, Mark, the kingpin of a drug-distribution syndicate that transported 3,600 pounds of marijuana from Texas to Florida, who received a 27-year sentence for his crimes. Lawrence admits that Mark is guilty, but somehow thinks that he was not treated "fairly", even though Mark refused to cooperate with prosecutors, and intimidated witnesses.