The New York Jets have struggled to find an answer at kicker. Here’s why they should make a progressive move by adding women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd.
The NFL world was shocked this week with news that American soccer star Carli Lloyd nailed a 55-yard field goal at a Philadelphia Eagles training event.
At first glance, this feat would seem to be nothing more than a fun highlight video that makes the rounds on social media. And perhaps that’s all this story would have been, if not for two mystery NFL teams that have expressed interest per James Galanis in a recent ESPN column.
At this point, we have no idea what team(s) approached Lloyd. However, if the Jets haven’t yet offered Lloyd a chance to kick for them, they should do so immediately.
While many fans would understandably be dismissive of signing a women’s soccer player to play in the NFL, the idea actually is not as crazy as it sounds.
For starters, there appears to be mutual interest between Lloyd and the NFL. Although Lloyd has had a wildly successful professional soccer career, she has not dismissed the prospect of trying out for the NFL.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports, she even sounded excited about the possibility, noting “I’m seriously considering it, [and]…I would probably enjoy it.”
It’s also worth noting that the Jets are in serious need of a kicker. After Chandler Catanzaro‘s abrupt retirement during the preseason, the team quickly signed former AAF kicker Taylor Bertolet. Bertolet has yet to make a kick in a regular-season NFL game, and he has been inconsistent in the preseason thus far.
▪️ Hit 55-yard FG at Eagles practice▪️“Several NFL teams” have been in touch▪️ One team offered her a preseason spotpic.twitter.com/yqD5MuXNDo
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 27, 2019
If you haven’t yet, watch the video of the Lloyd kick. In light of the Jets’ current kicking situation, what does the team have to lose by giving someone with that much leg strength and talent a chance?
It wouldn’t cost the Jets much to reach out to Lloyd and give her a chance to compete for the starting job. Perhaps she decides she doesn’t want to play in the NFL. Maybe she tries out but is unable to consistently make NFL kicks. But regardless of what happens, the Jets would lose little by taking a flier on a promising athlete.
Of course, novel ideas carry with them some degree of risk. There are reasonable concerns about if a hyper (and arguably toxic) masculine environment like an NFL locker room would be safe and accepting of a female player.
However, every groundbreaking idea was once considered too risky or crazy to attempt. In recent years, the NFL has made great strides in gender equality. The league now has female owners, executives, coaches, and referees. All of that progress would have seemed quite unlikely not that long ago.
And at the end of the day, the NFL is about winning. If Lloyd can outperform any other available kickers out there, the Jets would be foolish to not sign her. And if she helps the team win, the locker room (and the league as a whole) would learn to accept her inclusion.
The Jets should give Lloyd a call and a tryout. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll improve their roster and make history all at the same time.