December 18, 2011
Sebastian Janikowski has wanted for a kick like this all his life: A game-winning field goal that would set the record for longest kick in NFL history. It was his chance to prove his worth to his team, the Oakland Raiders, and show the rest of the league that the team's much-mocked first-round pick on the FSU kicker in the 2000 draft was actually one of the better selections of that year.
Quietly, Janikowski is putting together a Hall of Fame career. This could have been the crescendo of his highlight clip.
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With the Raiders down one point, Janikowski walked onto the turf, stood near his own 45 and had the game, and history, on his foot. A 65-yard field goal would win the game against the Lions, force a tie in the AFC West and give Janikowski the distinction of having kicked the longest field goal in NFL history. A miss? Janikowski doesn't think about such things.
In the end, it wasn't a shank or a pull or a mishit that felled the kick it was the hand of Ndamukong Suh. Fresh back from his suspension, Suh got his hand high in the air and deflected Janikowski's possible record breaker, sending it fluttering for a few yards before falling to the ground. A poor snap didn't help the snapper/holder/kicker exchange.
Janikowski will get other chances with the game, and record, on the line. For now, he'll have to go back to imagining that dream scenario, the one that he failed to turn into a reality on Sunday.
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