On of the longest careers in the NFL in recent memory has come to an end. No, again, we are not breaking any news about any pick-happy, banged-up QBs. Jeff Feagles has retired after 22 years punting.
That’s impressive. It’s not that it seems physically demanding to punt the ball all season, it’s impressive to note that he remained one of the best in the world at his craft for so long. Punting looks fairly easy, yet there are so few that can make and stay in the league. No punters are in Canton, and if any punter ever makes the Hall of Fame, it will be Ray Guy, but the entire position probably deserves more attention – historically and currently (until this month, Feagles qualified as both).
Feagles stuck around a long time. Like most punters, after coming out of the University of Miami where he won a national championship, Feagles was signed as an undrafted free agent (with the New England Patriots). He punted for the Patriots (two seasons), Eagles (four seasons), Cardinals (four seasons), Seahawks (five seasons) and Giants (seven seasons). He may hold the record for gap between championships as a player in major sports as he finally won a Super Bowl as a Giant against the Patriots. The Giants’ first win in that game came on the coin toss – when 41 year-old Jeff Feagles correctly called “tails.”
Jeff Feagles joined Steve Somers on WFAN in New York to talk about his decision to retire, calling tails in Super Bowl XLII, kicking in Giants Stadium, and on remaining a fan.
On when he decided he was going to retire:
“There was one particular day. It was a Monday almost two weeks ago. I was working out down at the facility and I woke up one morning and my back was bothering me and my knee was swollen and I said to myself,’You know what? This isn’t working anymore. I need to be done.’ That afternoon, I walked into Tom’s office and we had a good hour long discussion on what was going to happen. I just told him, ‘That’s it.’ It’s been a great run. At one point in time, your body just can’t do it. My mind says it can, but my body just can’t hold up to it.”
On correctly calling ‘tails’ in the Super Bowl XLII:
“We were in Tampa Bay and I had not been calling the coin toss all regular season. Michael Strahan came up to me and said, ‘We are in the playoffs now. You are the oldest guy on the team. You need to call the coin toss.’ We started out at the Tampa Bay game and then ultimately to the Cowboys and the Packers game. We called tails the whole time. I can’t remember if we won or lost or whatever else it is, but we stuck with tails and in the Super Bowl it worked. Then during the whole season after that, we stuck with tails every game.”
On kicking in Giants Stadium:
“If there is ever a kick that I love to do…When we get that ball around the 50 yard line… to me the ten yard line was the green and the endzone was a sandtrap. You just never wanted to be in that sandtrap. I just ripped it down there and, luckily, I had a lot of guys go down there and catch it. David Tyree comes to mind as a great asset to me. I just loved putting the opposing teams deep in their own territory and then having the Giants defense stop them and then we get the ball at midfield and punch it in for a field goal or touchdown. I’m getting chills just talking about it. I love that kick. I did it for 22 years and I’m proud of it.”
And on being a fan of the Giants:
“I will tell you this Steve, I bought my PSL (Personal Seat License) and I will be in the stands rooting on the Giants for as long as I live. I am a Giant true blue. I tell you that.”