<
>

Yes, the Chiefs do indeed work on kicking the laces

Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos said works on kicking with laces in and on the side regularly, just in case. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The answer to the question you’ve had ever since the Minnesota Vikings' Blair Walsh missed a potential game-winning field goal in last Sunday's playoff game against Seattle: Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs practice for the contingency of kicking the laces of the football.

“We do that from time to time throughout the year," Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos said. “It doesn’t happen very often [in a game]. Our operation has been smooth. I practice it on my own, when I’m warming up. I put the laces sideways or I put the laces backwards or make it a bad lean just to work on it if it does happen."

A kicker ideally will attempt a field goal or point after touchdown with the laces facing the goalpost. It’s easier to direct the ball that way.

Occasionally, the holder doesn’t spin the ball as might need to be done. Sometimes he doesn’t have time or, as perhaps was the case in the extreme cold in Minneapolis, he can’t get it done because of weather conditions.

So it’s worth the time to work on kicking with the laces facing the wrong way.

“Every day," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said when asked how often the Chiefs work on kicking the laces. “Especially after what we just saw in that (Minnesota) game. We did it, in fact, we did it yesterday. We also do wet-ball drills. We kick wet ball, we snap wet ball, we try to mimic every possible and crazy thing that could happen. Fast field goal, whatever that might be, we try to practice those daily.”

The Chiefs could be playing in a cold rain, according to the latest forecast for the Boston area, in Saturday’s divisional round playoff game against the New England Patriots. So the Chiefs have been working on those wet-ball techniques this week.

In the meantime, Santos said he feels for Walsh, his Vikings counterpart. Only a kicker can appreciate that brand of pain.

“I don’t wish that on anybody, especially a kicker," he said. “I know how much that hurts.”