Back in the 2007 NFL Draft, I wanted Mason Crosby from Colorado. Instead, the Cowboys took Nick Folk from Arizona, whoever he was. Now, I’m not a big draft person. I know people obsess over their mock drafts like little kids with their Pokemon cards, but, for me, there are too many teams to follow in college football. I just preferred Crosby over Folk from what I’d heard leading up to the draft.
Well, we all know how that one turned out. Crosby is a world champion while Nick Folked up more than a few kicks for Dallas in 2009 to salvage his career with the Jets. Dallas kicked off 2010 with Dave Buehler only for the project to doink off the crossbar. Der Buehler went 24/32 and 42/44 on extra points. Yes, Dave Buehler missed two extra points. I mean, who does that?
Not Dan Bailey – that’s for dang sure.
In only two seasons, this undrafted free agent from Oklahoma State has already tied the franchise record for game-winning field goals with seven set by Rafael Septien. It’s undoubted that Bailey has already surpassed Septien in being a human being. Since Monday’s tornadoes ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, Bailey has donated what little time he has during OTA’s to raise relief funds for a community near to his Mustang, Oklahoma stomping grounds. In the near future, he plans to “spearhead” more relief efforts. For now, the accomplished kicker, along with past and present Cowboys, has raised over $45,000 for Moore, Oklahoma.
For Cowboys fans, this salvation performance from Bailey shouldn’t surprise us, since he’s done it seven times since Week 2 of 2011. In his rookie season, Bailey set the franchise record for most game-winning field goals at 4. I know I gave the 2011-12 Cowboys defenses a lot of grief for blowing Romo’s fourth quarter heroics, but the flip side is nearly 90% of those comebacks wouldn’t have been possible without Dan Bailey’s clutch kicks. Except for last season’s home contest against Philadelphia, 8/9 of the Cowboys’ comebacks since 2011 have hinged on Dan Bailey’s boot.
It makes you wonder about the games Bailey missed game-winning field goals. Thankfully, it’s only been once a season, and it’s chiefly been due to the head coach’s faulty game management.
Bailey is so consistent even in his misses. From 49 yards and further, he’s 5/10 compared to his 56/58 from 49 yards on in. If you have a timeout and 20 seconds while hovering at about the 49-55 range, better to risk getting more yards for Bailey than have him try to win the game from that range. Hopefully, Garrett learns the third time after failing to learn this lesson in Arizona in 2011 and Baltimore in 2012.
Kickers are fragile players. In recent times, we saw Nick Folk turn to garbage in his third season, but that was somewhat attributed to a groin injury. At this stage of their careers, Dan Bailey is already three percentage points ahead of Folk: 89.7% to 86.8%. He’s even better than his kicking coach, Chris Boniol, who set the franchise record for highest field goal percentage at 96.4% in 1995.
With a team like Dallas, who leads the league in 32 close games since 2010, they need Dan Bailey to stay consistent. They need Dan Bailey to keep being a hero
For us fans, we can be heroes for Bailey’s nearby community of Moore, Oklahoma through the Salvation Army. Text “STORM” to 80888 to donate $10 through your mobile phone; respond with the word “Yes” to confirm donation. For more information, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org