INDIANAPOLIS 鈥?Pat McAfee watched those two agonizing bounces in Chicago on Sunday and immediately tried to put Cody Parkey‘s missed field goal in perspective.He thought about the 27 death threats he received after missing a couple of costly kicks during one game in college. He felt horribly for the friend who sometimes slept on his floor when they were training camp teammates in 2014 with Indianapolis. And then McAfee Quincy Wilson Jerseys 2019
, the Colts’ former punter, contemplated how he would have described the situation to a television audience.“It (the kick) was literally 4 inches away from him having a completely different night and the Chicago Bears having a completely different season,” McAfee said Monday. “I would like to think I would have noticed it got blocked before the Internet did, but I think we have to remember that is a human being out there.”The descriptions are something McAfee has thought about a lot lately as he embarks on the next chapter of his post-NFL life 鈥?and perhaps his most daring venture yet.In a world full of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, record-breaking running backs and receivers and popular pass rushers rife with star power and brand-name recognition, McAfee hopes to become the first ex-punter to do on-air work for FOX Sports.The list of specialists on network television is short. Former punter Dave Jennings, former kicker Morten Andersen and former long snapper Dale Hellestrae all did broadcast work for NFL Europe. Hellestrae even did some work for FOX in 2006. Jay Feely, a longtime kicker, currently works for CBS, and FOX employed center and long snapper Trevor Matich in 1997 and 1998. Matich now works for ESPN.But McAfee offers a different perspective.He promises to bring the wisecracking personality that has turned him into one of Indy’s popular and prominent former players with intimate knowledge of all facets of the kicking game.Plus, his experiences as a punter, placekicker, kickoff specialist and emergency quarterback help him understand the high stakes and emotions involved when players such as Parkey step onto the field with the game on the line.“I think the game of football, from a commentating standpoint, is missing something,” he said. “I think it should be a celebration and I think it should be enjoyable White Tarell Basham Jersey
, and I’m trying to make it that way.”McAfee’s experiences could help in such a transition.After successfully taking his comedy routine from the locker room to the stage and hosting his own radio show on Barstool Sports, a gig he left in August, he’s taping six podcasts per week and running his own small business, Pat McAfee Inc. Yet he wants to add color commentating to the mix.In November, he made his debut at the Texas Tech-Baylor game and made his pro debut during Green Bay’s regular-season finale against Detroit 鈥?a game that played into McAfee’s strengths when kicker Matt Prater threw a touchdown pass. McAfee responded by immediately changing the inflection of his voice and describing, in detail, what Prater saw and why he reacted the way he did.“That was a gift from the football gods,” McAfee said. “I’ve spent the last two years waiting for a big special teams play so I could do a voiceover on my phone. I was doing a lot of cool stuff with the football (when I played) and the color commentator had no idea what was going on because it’s usually a star quarterback or something. I got lucky with a magical play.”So far, FOX is the only network to give McAfee an audition.But those who have seen McAfee’s work believe he provides a quality others don’t 鈥?football with a twist of comic relief 鈥?and rare insight into some of the biggest moments of games.“I’ve been watching games a lot differently lately and with a little more understanding than I’ve had of what it takes (in the booth),” McAfee said.“But that moment with Cody Parkey was pretty big and I think I would have gotten a little emotional about it. I look forward to watching the Cody Parkey vengeance story next year.”97View Gallery Gallery:2018-19 NBA cheerleadersJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports | Joe Camporeale INDIANAPOLIS 鈥?Frank Reich mastered the art of the comeback while playing quarterback.He cemented his reputation Sunday night.Nearly 11 months after accepting the job Josh McDaniels spurned, Indianapolis’ backup choice completed one of the most remarkable midseason turnarounds in league history by leading the Colts to their first playoff berth since 2014.“That was the silver lining, if you will, of a 1-5 start,” Reich said Monday, referring to his players’ ability to ignore distractions and focus on the upcoming task. “As I have alluded to and some players have alluded to, we’ve been in this 鈥?for lack of a better word 鈥?playoff mode for a while Tarell Basham Jersey 2019
, kind of with our backs against the wall.”It’s only the third time an NFL team has rebounded from such an abysmal start to make the postseason 鈥?adding another chapter to Reich’s uncanny tale.In November 1984, he replaced Stan Gelbaugh after Maryland fell into a 31-0 halftime deficit at No. 6 Miami and wound up throwing six second-half touchdown passes to give the Terrapins a 42-40 victory 鈥?then the largest comeback in Division I history.In January 1993, Reich replaced the injured Jim Kelly in Buffalo’s wild-card round game and rallied the two-time defending AFC champs from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in overtime for the largest comeback in NFL history.So when McDaniels reneged on his deal to take over the Colts two days after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, Colts general manager Chris Ballard turned to Reich.“The backup role has suited me well in my career,” Reich joked in February at his introductory news conference.But a consistent message helped keep players and coaches composed, too.The result: Indy (10-6) won nine of its last 10, beating two division champions and taking the regular-season finale at Tennessee to earn the AFC’s No. 6 seed.Reich is the fourth consecutive Colts coach to reach the playoffs in his first season as coach, joining Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano, and now takes a team full of confidence to Houston (11-5) for a wild-card round game Saturday.“I don’t think there was anything crazy different that happened,” left tackle Anthony Castonzo said Sunday when asked about the turnaround. “Guys just maybe focused on their job a little more, and had a little bit more urgency. It didn’t really seem like a moment where anything was different. It was just staying that course.”100View Gallery Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaThe first indication things were changing emerged in early October when Indy’s oft-criticized offensive line suddenly began playing better. For five games and 239 consecutive drop backs, the Colts didn’t allow a sack. They finished this season allowing a league-low 18 after giving up a league-high 56 in 2017.There were other changes, too.Marlon Mack rushed for more than 100 yards four times, the highest total by a Colts running back since Joseph Addai had four 100-yard games in 2007. Tight end Eric Ebron fulfilled the potential scouts saw when he was in college.And, of course Indianapolis Colts Drew Forbes Jersey
, there was Andrew Luck‘s resurgence, too.After missing the entire 2017 season because of a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, he wound up finishing with career highs in completions (430), attempts (639), completion rate (67.3 percent) and rating (98.7) and producing his second-best totals in yards passing (4,593) and TDs (39).“This really has been a fulfilling road to this point,” Luck said. “I’m not satisfied. We certainly have business to take care of.”The defense also came up big.Rookie Darius Leonard led the league in tackles with a franchise-record 163 and Indy has allowed just 16.4 points over its past eight games, prompting some to conclude that Reich may have found his magical touch just in time for another playoff run.Reich, though, is simply sticking to the plan.“It’s all based on the habits you have formed,” he said. “That focus and vision is on getting better every day and then beating the next opponent. That is all that really matters. That’s the mindset we’ve been in. That’s the mindset we need to maintain.”Notes: Indy signed safety Rolan Milligan to the practice squad and released linebacker Tegray Scales. … The Colts also signed guard William Poehls to a reserve/future contract. The 6-foot-8, 344-pound offensive lineman was on Jacksonville’s active roster in 2017, but was waived by the Jaguars on Sept. 1.