At first, it seems like a harmless publicity stunt, a chance for a photo opportunity that might generate a few laughs about how impossible the task seemed in the first place.
Now, maybe not so much.
You’ll recall the scene last week when Carli Lloyd, a star of the United State Olympic women’s soccer team, lined up and started kicking field goals like Adam Vinatieri at the training camp of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The site of Lloyd banging a 55-yarder down the middle, with distance to spare, quickly caught the attention of social media mavens. Let’s face it, how many college kickers could do the same thing on demand?
Well, it looks as if power and accuracy of Lloyd’ leg caught the attention of at least two NFL teams. Rumor has it Lloyd was invited to kick field goals for somebody in their final preseason game.
“Today she got another call from another NFL team,” said Lloyd’s personal coach, James Galanis. “The one that called today, I don’t want to say who it is, was willing to put her on the roster for their next (game). They were willing to put her on the roster.”
Look, Lloyd isn’t going to end up on an NFL roster this season. Frankly, the odds of something like that would be longer than Antonio Brown getting through the year without pissing off Derek Carr and Jon Gruden.
But there’s no reason to think some open-minded organization wouldn’t at least invite her to minicamp next spring to find out if Lloyd’s ability isn’t only for kicks.
Lloyd was in Philadelphia on Tuesday to throw out the first pitch at the Phillies-Pittsburgh Pirates game. And while there, she responded via email to Fox Sports that she’s seriously considering giving the NFL a try.
“I am having discussions with my husband and James about the reality of playing in the NFL,” Lloyd told FOX Sports. “They both feel that I could do it and should consider it. So I’m seriously considering it, as it’s a challenge.”
Apparently, the only reason Lloyd couldn’t take advantage of her invitation for this weekend was the U.S. national team, recent World Cup champions, had a match to play against Portugal. You can’t be in two places at once.
“If she’s going to do this, she’ll do it – she’ll train in the offseason, she’ll get herself ready so that she just doesn’t do it for the sake of doing it,” Galanis told ESPN. “If she’s going to do it, she’s going to do it so that she can be a success.”
While at the Phillies game, Lloyd told a local television station she would take the time to gather all the information she needs about the task.
“I want to actually attempt to do it,” said Lloyd. “But I know that I definitely could do it, because anything I set my mind to do, I can do it. And I actually do kick balls for a living. So, yeah, it’s all about the technique, and we’ll see what happens.”
As you can imagine, Lloyd’s 55-yarder was met with as much skepticism as praise. Her approach to the ball covered five steps. NFL kickers take two to generate their power. The difference can obviously be critical to the timing of an attempt.
Galanis said she and Lloyd are aware of the situation and would work on shortening her approach.
“Once we knock that over, we’ll contact one of the NFL teams and tell them that we’re interested and we’d like to come down and spend some time with their field goal-kicking coaches and let them make some tweaks and fix her technique or adjust her technique. From there, bring in the team, and she can do it live at training in kind of like a realistic situation,” said Galanis.
Lloyd expressed the kind of surprise you might expect from someone who may have just paved a new avenue for women’s athletes.
“This has all been so wild,” said Lloyd. “Can’t believe how big this has become.”
In case you didn’t know, Lloyd is an extraordinary athlete, a long-time mainstay with the woman’s program. She’s a two-time FIFA Player of the Year. Her goals have won two Olympic goal medal games for the United States.
“We are thinking about what it would do to the sport itself, every sport at every level,” Galanis said. “She would be the first female that’s really playing with males, and what would it do to the whole equality (issue).
“We are definitely thinking about it. Knowing Carli, this is why it is enticing for her because it is a challenge. That’s what Carli thrives on, it is the next thing she can conquer. That’s why we have had half a dozen conversations about it in less than a week.”
You can’t question her talent. It’s not like she took four of five practice kicks before trying the 55-yarder. She accepted the dare, they placed the ball down and ripped through it.
The entire way field goal kickers approached the ball was influenced by soccer players like Pete Gogolak and Toni Fritsch. Lloyd’s leg is obviously exceptionally strong and accurate.
Who’s to say that she or someone like her, tested on the greatest stages her sport has to offer, couldn’t apply her skill set to the NFL. Seems to us the biggest problem would be convincing league executives that it’s something they’d want to see.
Of course, Lloyd would also have to prepare herself for what else can result from being a kicker in the NFL. There’s no rule saying kickers can not be hit.
“I think Carli is perfectly made out for a job like that,” said Galanis. “She loves the pressure. She’s got one of the hardest kicks in the world when it comes to women. She is great at long range balls, she displayed that by scoring a goal from just past the halfway line in a World Cup final, and she is definitely in tune with the mechanics. She would be an ideal candidate.”