To win in the NFL, a team needs to play sound football in all three phases of the game. As the season winds down, teams headed for the playoffs start looking at anything that could cost them a victory in the ever dangerous single elimination format. Many close playoff games come down to a big play on special teams or a field goal attempt to win the game. This is exactly the kind of scenario that has Jim Harbaugh and the playoff bound San Francisco 49ers worried. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jim Harbaugh is losing patience with the erratic play of David Akers. The comments came after Akers missed a field goal near the end of the first quarter. Akers has missed 10 field goals this season.
Although Akers’ play has not measured up to what one might expect from his stellar career, Harbaugh also said that he does not intend to make a change at kicker. It is easy to see how Harbaugh can be upset with Akers and yet confident in his job security. When the Chicago Bears had to place kicker Robbie Gould on injured reserve last week, the best option to replace him was 39 year old Olindo Mare. To put Mare into perspective only 14 kickers in the history of the NFL have played past the age of 40. If Harbaugh decided he needed to make a change he would be stuck choosing between an undrafted/unsigned rookie, or the table scraps after Mare.
The best available kickers on the market:
Billy Cundiff 32.
Neil Rackers 36.
Martin/Bill Gramatica seem to be available 37/34
Gary Anderson 53.
Morton Andersen 52.