I’ve been working on this take for a couple days now. My bedroom looks like room of a detective who continued to work a serial killer case he/she was told to drop with all the pictures and red string on my wall. So, buckle up because we have some dots to connect. Seven months ago, Dan Bailey was released by the Cowboys after suffering a groin injury that resulted in poor performance. Since then, he claims to have received interest from several teams, but has remained a free agent. Until now. Let’s look at the chain of events that led to the hiring of Kicker Dan Bailey by the Minnesota Vikings.
This past weekend, The Minnesota Vikings played the Green Bay Packers. The game ended in the second tie already in this year’s NFL season after several missed field goals, three of which by then Vikings Kicker, Daniel Carlson. Out of the three misses by Carlson, one was in the final seconds of overtime which led to his immediate release from the team. The Vikings had to act quick though as the Browns had just released their Kicker, Zane Gonzalez. Within a day or so, Dan Bailey was already signed by Minnesota and will be in action this upcoming weekend. Seems pretty clear cut, right? A Kicker completely blows a win so he is cut and replaced by the best kicker in free agency. This case is not so simple though.
No one should blame Daniel Carlson for losing his job last week. Yes, he should have made that field goal and won the game, but he should have never been in that situation to begin with. If I am going to place blame anywhere or give a reason as to why Dan Bailey has a job, I have to look elsewhere. At the rule book. This last offseason, the NFL implemented what I like to call, the “Aaron Rodgers Rule.” This where you cannot, as a defender, ever touch the quarterback without it resulting in a 15-yard penalty. On the most crucial drive of the fourth quarter, Kirk Cousins dropped back to pass and began his throwing motion. Before the ball was released, the NFL’s resident monster, Clay Matthews, made a perfect form tackle on Cousins where he did not hit him too high or too low and did not drive him into the ground or impose his body weight on him, whatever that means. Yet, a penalty for roughing the passer was still called.
That pass was intercepted by Louisville’s own Jaire Alexander. Sadly, his first career interception was taken away, because of that atrocious call. That should have been the end of the game. But, no. A couple plays later, Cousins throws a touchdown to Adam Thielen and then a 2-point conversion to tie up the game and bring it to overtime. This was where Carlson’s fate was sealed and, since the game ended in a tie, Dan Bailey became the first player to truly benefit from the new no-touch quarterback rule.