Former Louisville kicker David Akers can silence his doubters on Sunday on the biggest stage in sports; Super Bowl XLVII.
Akers, who was born in Lexington, KY will make his second Super Bowl appearance when he takes the field for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The left-footed kicker has struggled at times this season putting the ball between the uprights. During the regular season, Akers made just 29 field goals in 42 attempts (69.0 percent). In two postseason games this season, he is 1-2. This miss was a 38-yard attempt that clanked off the upright during the NFC Championship game. Despite the failed attempts and angry 49er fans calling for his replacement, head coach Jim Harbaugh is sticking with the 15-year NFL veteran.
During Akers’ tenure, he has many accomplishments. Just one year ago, he set two NFL records with 44 made field-goals and most points scored by a kicker with 166. In the first game of this season at Lambeau Field, he tied an NFL record for longest field-goal when knocking through a 63 yard attempt. All of this with the same team and fan-base that is now questioning his ability. This goes to show, some fans have a “what have you done for me lately mentality.”
49ers fans should be reminded that Akers is also a 6-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. The 38-year old Akers is also only 1 of 3 players on the San Francisco roster with previous Super Bowl experience. Akers accounted for 8.2 points per game during the 2012 regular season and his 131 points was 9th best in the NFL. Akers is also currently the 14th highest point scorer in NFL history; Morten Andersen is first.
Most football fans have played pitch and catch, but have you ever kicked a field-goal? All the things that have to happen are underestimated. The angle, the snap, the hold, the kick, the other team trying to block, etc. You get the point.
If the Super Bowl comes down to Akers’ left foot, fans should think about the things he has done to help get the team there. Over his career, he has helped win more games than he has lost. Unfortunately, kickers at all levels are either heroes or zeros and can be judged on one kick. In reality, it is one of the toughest positions in the game.
Can the 49ers count on the former Louisville star? The answer is yes. Akers ranks second in the NFL with 164 post-season points, only Adam Vinatieri’s 196 is better.