Today Jeff Feagles officially retired from the NFL after an absurd 22 seasons punting in the NFL. Feagles is 44 years-old, and he'd previously signed a contract to play in 2010, prompting me to joke, "The Sun Never Sets On A Badass." But shamefully, it turns out that 23rd season is not to be.
For Giants fans (and me, for some reason), Feagles is a cult hero, famous for being ageless over the past decade, and nailing punts in the "coffin corner" with stunning accuracy.
SB Nation's Giants' blog, Big Blue View, offers some thoughts on Mr. Feagles:
You don't stick around that long without being incredibly good at what you do, and without gaining a wealth of knowledge about your craft. No one in the history of the NFL has been as good at directional kicking as Feagles, who turned pinning opponents inside the 20 into an art form.
I loved watching Feagles work during training camp, moving the ball sideline to sideline as he worked on his placement. Besides, how many punters have ever walked to the field with fans screaming "Hall of Famer" at them? If they ever do vote a punter into the Hall of Fame I know Ray Guy is first in line. Feagles, though, is not far behind.
Just how long has Feagles been nailing kicks inside the opponents 10-yardline? Well, here are some interesting facts about Feagles, courtesy of Yahoo's Shutdown Corner:
• In 1988, Feagles' rookie year, John Stephens was the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Eric McMillan was the Defensive Rookie of the Year. They both retired 17 years ago.
• Feagles holds the following NFL career records: Most consecutive games played, most punts, most punts placed inside the 20-yard-line, most punting yards and most games played.
• Feagles was the last remaining player in the NFL who was in "Tecmo Super Bowl."
• Feagles was also the last remaining player who was active during the Reagan administration.
• On September 4th, 1988, the day Feagles kicked his first punt in the NFL, the number one song in the United Stats was "Monkey," by George Michael. Gas was $1.08 a gallon.
He was also the centerpiece for the YouTube video, "Why The Giants are Gay":
But on a more serious note, here's Giants' coach Tom Coughlin:
"I look at Jeff and I think of the privilege that I have had to be with him for these short years. I think of an individual that is totally reliable, totally dependable, totally honest, completely trustworthy, and has all of the necessary ingredients for success. As simple and basic as it is to say that, it makes you really wonder why everyone doesn't think and act the way he does," Coughlin said."He has a tremendous, tremendous attitude and he is a great example for all young players because of his positive approach to the game."
Really, that kind of praise--from someone as notoriously crusty as Tom Coughlin--speaks volumes about what Jeff Feagles has meant to the New York Giants the past few years. American punters of tomorrow, the bar has been set, and Jeff Feagles has set that bar high. He's seriously had about as good of a career as you could possibly imagine for an NFL Punter.
He was a friend to some, a punter to many, and a hero to us all. Err... Some of us all. In any case, Jeff Feagles the player may be moving on, but rest assured, the legend never dies.