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Jets Sign Billy Cundiff

Jets Sign Kicker Billy Cundiff to Compete With Folk

Rob Carr

Today in one of the more yawn-inducing moves of the offseason the Jets added kicker Billy Cundiff to compete with Nick Folk in camp this year. Billy Cundiff is perhaps best known for missing a 32 yard potential game tying field goal for the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. The Pats ultimately won the game.

Cundiff, 33, who has an MBA from Arizona State University, has been on 12 NFL teams including the Jets and is on his 19th contract. That isn't a typo, Cundiff has been released by 11 other NFL teams before finding his way to the Jets as Nick Folk's offseason competition since joining the league in 2002 with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. Cundiff has had short tenures with Dallas, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints; the Atlanta Falcons, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Detroit Lions, The Cleveland Browns; Baltimore, the Washington Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers and now the New York Jets to make 12 teams.

Cundiff only actually kicked for the Cowboys, Browns, Ravens, Redskins, and as a specialist/relief kicker for the Saints. Over the years Cundiff has been beaten for jobs by Shaun Suisham, Matt Bryant, Dave Rayner, John Carney; Matt Prater, Ryan Succop, Jason Hanson, Phil Dawson; Justin Tucker (who?), and Kai Forbath. I wouldn't be quaking in my boots if I was Folk. The Jets have never seemed to be very serious about providing competition for the declining Nick Folk, although in their defense options have been meager throughout his tenure.

Cundiff isn't all bad. Billy went 26 out of 29 and went to the Pro Bowl and All Pro in 2010. He set the single season record for touchbacks at 44 in 2011. Billy Cundiff's career stats include 139 kicks made out of 189 kicks attempted which translates to a 75.5 percent success rate kicking with a long of 56 yards and one block. Cundiff had one of his 218 extra point attempts blocked. Out of 393 Kickoffs, Cundiff had and average of 65.3 yards a kick, 113 touchbacks and 265 returns for an average of 22.6 yards per return.

In comparison, Nick Folk is also a one time Pro Bowler but has played for only two teams. Folk has made 134 field goals on 172 attempts for a 77.9 average and a 56 yard long and 5 blocks. Folk has converted 100% of his 242 extra point attempts. Out of 401 Kickoffs for a 62.1 average Folk only delivered 40 touchbacks while 343 kickoffs were returned for an average of 21.5 yards. The two players are ridiculously similar in terms of abilities and performance.

Personally, I remember Cundiff best for the comparisons between him and fictional player Ray Finkle. Finkle was the transgender villain of 90s comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective who bungled an important postseason kick as a mid-season replacement for the Miami Dolphins, and harbored a homicidal desire for vengeance against Dan Marino as a result. With the 2012 AFC Championship loss to the Patriots, some watching film said the laces may have not been all the way around or there was a less-than-ideal place hold on the ball. Cundiff made no such claims but the internet and football fans alike mercilessly ripped into Cundiff. His Wikipedia page was vandalized to change his name to Ray Finkle. Fans edited the 2012 FG miss to mash up with the 1994 Jim Carey movie. Cundiff struggles to live down the kick to this day.

Color me underwhelmed with the new competition for Nick Folk. Both players appear to be mediocre and the winner of the camp battle may very well come down to sheer luck. What do you think of the addition of Billy Cundiff to the Jets? Who do you think will win the camp battle?