With just days left before the big Jets-Chargers playoff showdown, SSP caught up with San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding. Jets fans remember Kaeding as the rookie who pushed a 40-yard field goal attempt wide right on a wet field in overtime in the playoffs five years ago, opening the door for New York to move down the field and win it 20-17 on Doug Brien’s 28-yard field goal with five seconds left on the clock. Kaeding has gone on to become one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL. If Sunday’s game comes down to Kaeding’s right leg, odds are he’s not going to be wide right like he was as a rookie. Don’t be hatin’ though. He’s a quiet, thoughtful guy from Iowa who graciously withstood a barrage of questions from the peanut gallery:
Q: What music pumps you up before games?
A: “I’ll listen to some classical stuff. I think for me, it’s the opposite. I want to be pumped down. With kickers it’s probably a bad thing to listen to Metallica before you go out there and kick a field goal. Something to kind of calm me down. I’ve got like some movie soundtracks, something like that.’’
Q: If they were to name a sandwich after you, what would it consist of?
A: “Probably just something simple. Turkey on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. “
Q: Who’s the best prankster on the team?
A: “Nick Hardwick.” (The fact that Kaeding chose not to provide specifics tells you something).
Q: Who’s the best QB this year in the NFL?
A: ‘’This guy right here.’’ (That would be Philip Rivers, who was standing five feet from Kaeding).
Q: You’re starting a professional football team and can build around four players in the league. Who are they?
A: “You start with a quarterback, so I’d say Philip; couple good O-lineman like a Hutchinson and a running back guy like Adrian Peterson. Throw Vincent Jackson in there, too.” (Jackson is SD’s star WR whose locker is near Kaeding’s).
Q: “Do you miss the XFL and could it survive if it they re-launched it?
A: “I never watched it. “
Q: Who’s your best friend in the league?
A “Probably my punter and holder, Mike Scifres.”
Q: Ten guys attack you in a bar at once. Who’s the one guy in the league you want to have your back?
A: ‘’Ooh. I’d say Kris Dielman.” (Good answer, since Dielman, the Chargers’ 6-foot-4, 320-pound left guard, is considered one of the nastiest O-linemen in the league).
Q: What’s the most memorable moment in your career?
A: “Yet to happen.” (Hint: he’d like it to happen in the Super Bowl).
Q: Top five most beautiful women in sports?
A: ‘’Geez. I’d have to go with Anna Kournikova and (Maria) Sharapova. Who else? That’s all I know. Those two.’’