Let's first say the failure of Vanderjagt was hard to see coming. We knew he had the attitude. We knew he missed a big kick in the AFC Championship last year. But this was the most accurate kicker in NFL history. His website will tell you that fact.
But I thought it was a decent, if flawed, signing for a team in need of a reliable kicker. Besides, Dallas' first concern was making the playoffs and Vanderjagt had never had trouble in the regular season. Just that shank of a kick against Pittsburgh.
Evidently, that kick and the glow of the Star was too much pressure for the greatest idiot kicker ever.
But it was a flawed signing from the beginning. Recall that Adam Vinateiri was also available. He may not have had Vander-Doink's stats, but he's proved to be the most clutch kicker of the aughts. Without Vinateiri, the Tuck Rule is but a footnote. New England's dynasty likely never begins. Tom Brady likely becomes Peyton Manning's brethren as a very good QB who just couldn't win the big game. He was the guy to pursue. But the Cowboys decided clutch cost too much and took what appeared to be the second best option. Meanwhile, Vinateiri is in Indy looking to make Manning a big game winner.
And this is a risky cut. Vanderjagt's struggling like Joe Namath stumbling around on the sidelines asking Bill Cowher if he can kiss him. And now the Cowboys kicking hopes lie in the foot of the kicker once known as Automatica. Martin Gramatica is his name and flaming out was his game. Gramatica was poised to be a legendary kicker his first few years in the league. That is if any kicker can be called legendary. Next thing you know his brother Bill tears his ACL celebrating a field goal and he must have felt the pain too because he also was plagued by leg injuries over the last couple of years when he went in the tank. So why feel good about this guy?
Well, he kicks with a strong leg that will at least prevent kick returns, although the Cowboys coverage has been stellar this season. And Parcells said he talked with the team Gramatica trained with in camp and got glowing reports. That's right. He had such a great camp he was sitting at home when Parcells decided to cut his kicker. So we all should be brimming over with confidence as the Cowboys forge on toward the playoffs.
Good thing with Romo we don't need no stinking kicker.