Nick Folk was still hanging around North Jersey today before heading out to Arizona to watch “little brother” Erik Folk kick for Washington at AU this weekend, and we wanted to catch up to the Jets’ unassuming foot man for a little more insight on his franchise-record-setting 56-yard boomer at Denver on Sunday.
Insight No. 1 was that Folk didn’t know it was a record-breaker until he and holder Steve Weatherford were trotting off the Invesco Field at Mile High pitch.
“I try not to go out and look at the yard line, really,” Folk said late this morning. “You know when you’re standing on top of the other team’s logo that you’re pretty far back there. But I kind of get the spot based on the ball, wherever it is, and then I give it to Steve and I’m not worried about anything but that kick.
Then afterwards, Steve said, ‘Wow, that was 56, man.’ I said, ‘Really, that was 56?’ You’re back on the logo, you could be 54, 56, 57.”
Folk put that moment aside because he had another kickoff to focus on pinning the Broncos back at their 20. But after notching the third of his five touchbacks in the air up there, he and Weatherford mused some more.
“Steve said, ‘Yeah, I think that’s the record because they have all those records up down by the meeting rooms,’ ” he said. “So I obviously had seen those but I had no idea who owned the records at all.”
That’s Insight No. 2. Head coach Rex Ryan and his staff have been proactive about putting the history of the Jets on the first-floor walls of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center where the players can see them and linger over them if they so desire. The wall to the players’ dining area has the all-time team photos, another wall has all players listed by uniform number. There is a Pro Bowl wall and also a record-book wall.
Folk knows Jay Feely, whom he replaced this offseason. He could have run into John Hall, who was at the celebration of the Jets’ Monday Night Miracle win over Miami 10 years ago. Certainly he’s heard of Pat Leahy. Those three Jets kickers had accounted for the four 55-yard field goals in franchise history (Feely had two).
When told that Hall hit his 55-yarder on his very first regular-season kick as a pro in Seattle’s old Kingdome in the ’97 opener, Folk replied, “That’s awesome,” which is something Hall could easily say about Folk’s kick a decade later.
As for the difficulty of the kick, Folk supplied Insight No. 3 when he said he treated the kick just as he treated the PAT he kicked after the Jets’ second-quarter touchdown, kind of.
“I know it sounds kind of weird that you’re going to make an extra point or a short field goal look like a 56-yard field goal,” he said. “But you don’t want to be really changing your swing. You want it to be the same smooth swing the entire time.
“I knew I could make it going in that direction — in pregame we hit one from 64 or something like that. So we wanted to just make sure that I was smooth and that we had a good operation time and just got the ball up in the air. And I had trust in my leg that I could get it there and it went right through.”
As simple as that. The altitude also didn’t hurt, since it produced the most prodigious game of kickoffs in Folk’s four-year NFL career and possibly in Jets history. We’ll talk about that in part two of my conversation with Nick when Special Teams Saturday rolls around in three days.
By the Bye
Here’s a little Jets bye week trivia to keep you occupied heading into a weekend without Green & White football, hopefully the first of three such weekends this season:
All-time since bye weeks became a regular feature of the NFL schedule in 1990, the Jets are 11-10 the game after their bye week (remembering that the league gave two byes per team in 1993). They’re also 6-2 in their last eight games after byes and 9-4 in their last 13.
By head coach that breaks down to: Bruce Coslet, 2-3; Pete Carroll, 0-1; Rich Kotite, 0-2; Bill Parcells, 3-0; Al Groh, 0-1; Herm Edwards, 3-2; Eric Mangini, 3-0; Rex Ryan, 0-1.
Tags: bye week, Denver Broncos, Jay Feely, John Hall, Nick Folk, Pat Leahy
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