Seahawks Spotlight: Blair Walsh is a guy you want to root for
It’s not that I dislike kickers.
I just don’t care very much about the particulars of what it is they do. Their craft as it were, which is exactly how I think about it. Everyone else plays football. Kickers practice a craft, which isn’t to minimize the importance of the kicker’s job in football. If anything this past weekend’s Washington game has underscored just how critical it can be.
I just don’t care much about the the process itself from the mechanics of the play to the technique of the kicker.
I don’t want to know much beyond whether the kick was made or missed.
That changed on Tuesday. At least for an afternoon, probably for the season and maybe even for the future.
I care about Blair Walsh. Not just his kicks. I actually care about how he does it, and while that’s not generally recommended for journalists, as a human being I found it impossible not to be rooting for him to succeed after his interview on Tuesday.
It’s not just that he was frank in discussing the field-goal attempt he missed in Minnesota two seasons ago, which allowed the Seahawks to advance in the playoffs, though his candor was pretty remarkable. It’s not just the accountability he showed in staying to answer every question about that missed kick in the Vikings’ locker room afterward.
It was the perspective he showed in discussing everything from his role as a cog in the machine that is a football team to the mental conditioning he goes through to a friendship that he struck up with a girl whose mental-health struggles had her feeling suicidal, a story that was wonderfully told by Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated.
More than anything, it was that Walsh allowed us to see what it’s like on the inside of the fish bowl that is a kicker’s life. The scrutiny can reach the extreme of having a halftime routine filmed by NBC and dissected as it was for Walsh in Seattle’s Sunday night game against the Colts after he missed multiple practice attempts.
“You have family members telling you after the game like, ‘Hey, are you all right?’ “ Walsh said. “ ‘We saw you miss all those kicks at halftime.’ Are you guys serious? They’re filming my halftime and showing it.”
One of those kicks hit the upright, and given that Walsh has been known to practice in the offseason by kicking at light posts, it’s worth asking whether he was trying to hit the upright.
“You want the real answer?” Walsh said.
“No,” he said. “But hold on, there’s a key word you said there: halftime.”
And when it counts this season, I will care how Walsh kicks and not just because of the importance that will have on deciding the game.