Female kicker was out of her league
Sometimes the media just doesn’t get it when looking for cutting-edge stories.
The case of Lauren Silberman fits the profile of overhype gone awry. Silberman created a buzz when she was selected to participate at a NFL regional combine in New Jersey last week. Her mission was to show her worthiness to become the NFL’s first female placekicker.
More than two dozen media outlets sent reporters to watch the big event. While it didn’t create the buzz of the Hindenburg trip to New Jersey in 1937, the result was about the same.
Silberman was supposed to begin with three kick-offs, followed by five field-goal tries from 35 to 55 yards. Her first kick traveled all of 19 yards. After grabbing her right leg, she lined up for a second kick that went 13 yards.
Silberman never attempted a field goal. Instead she sought medical attention from a trainer, saying that a quadriceps injury suffered earlier in the week had re-surfaced.
You can insert any joke you like at this point. I’ll leave that to amateur comedians and instead look at the bigger joke that was her failed tryout.
There are legitimate reasons for media coverage of advancement by female athletes, but this wasn’t among them. Why not stick to women improving their performances among their sex instead of trying to wedge a square peg into a round hole – fitting women into a man’s sport.
The day may very well arrive when science and technology come together to produce a super female athlete capable of playing football, but it’s not on the horizon. Until Mel Kiper Jr. talks about Mary so-and-so running a 4.4 40 and bench pressing 225 pounds 25 times, I’m not going to think about a woman playing in the NFL.
Silberman’s tryout came off more as a publicity stunt than anything else. She may have injured her leg prior to the event, but my guess is Phil Dawson could get the ball more than 19 yards down field standing on crutches.
You can only assume that the NFL scouts in attendance have scratched her name off their lists for the future. One might joke that the Browns probably didn’t because they appear prepared to lose Dawson in free agency.
Silberman spoke to reporters after her tryout. She said she did the right thing for her body by not continuing after two kicks and hopes to land another opportunity at a regional combine next year.
In what might sum up the day, Silberman said, “It’s not always length,” adding her hopes that scouts will notice her technique.
I’m guessing she was serious, but her comments lack logic. If her technique was that good, then she would have made up partially for a lack of leg strength. Something longer than 19 yards would have been the result.
There are plenty of high school kickers that have good technique, but most won’t ever kick in the NFL because they’re lacking some important ingredient. Muscle size (Dawson’s right calf may be as large as Joe Thomas’) and leg velocity are some of the factors that make a great NFL kicker, along with short memories and nerves of steel.
Silberman might have the latter two attributes, but unless she dips into a can of PEDs she’s not going to develop the level of strength needed.
She should have understood that before staging what turned into an embarrassing spectacle.