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5 reasons to love Raiders punter Marquette King

Marquette King is my favorite punter and should be yours, too.

Marquette King is awesome for a lot of reasons, so let’s start with the most recent example. Facing fourth-and-24, he turned a skipped long snap into an outstanding play, using his speed to create a first down for the Raiders and warding off what could have been a disaster.

King is perhaps the best punter in the NFL. The Raiders gave him a $16 million contract in February and it was considered a great move by consensus. Last season, he had the second-most kicks down inside the 20-yard line of any punter in the league with 40, and he’s currently averaging a career-best 49.9 yards per punt this season. He has been one of the Raiders’ secret weapons.

He’s so much more than a really good punter, though. Since joining the Raiders in 2012, he has become something of a cult hero.

King taught himself how to punt to keep his scholarship

King was recruited to be a wide receiver at Fort Valley State, but struggled to get on the field. His coaches told him, flat out, that he had to start kicking if he wanted to keep his scholarship. As it turns out, he had a hell of a leg. Though he went undrafted after college, he stuck on the Raiders’ roster and eventually replaced longtime punter Shane Lechler in 2013 by beating out veteran Chris Kluwe.

King is the only black punter in the NFL

For whatever reason, kickers are historically white. Opponents were so confused by seeing King line up on the field for the first time that they at first assumed the Raiders were running a fake.

King knew that if he failed to execute the next fifteen to twenty seconds of his life with absolute perfection, this could be his last chance to play professional football. As he had done countless times before, he lined up at his spot and prepared to yell out the snap count. But before he could open his mouth, a player on the opposing team, the Dallas Cowboys, took one look at him and shouted.

“A black punter?! It’s a fake! It’s a fake!”

The opposing players, equally eager to impress their coaches by seeming on top of every nuance of the game, scrambled into new positions, King told me, guarding against the possibility that this black guy, inexplicably lined up at the whitest of N.F.L. positions, was really some backup quarterback or receiver—a speedster who would fake a kick and instead run for the first down, catching their whole defense unaware. Clearly some trickery was afoot.

King’s leg strength is incredible

Here is King kicking a punt with 5.85 second of hang time.

Here is King kicking a dang ball 87 yards.

Now keep in mind that King is self taught in the golden age of kicking camps for kids now being raised to kick the crap out of footballs so that they can earn college scholarships and perhaps go to the NFL.

King dresses up like my childhood heroes

I loved the Power Rangers.

I loved Superman.

The 2015 ESPYS - Arrivals Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The man has taste.

King is just goofy as hell

If you’re going to pick one punter to root for, it might as well be the one clowning on Sebastian Janikowski ...

... and posting on Instagram like this.

A photo posted by Marquette King (@marquetteking) on

And he busts out some silly moves when he nails a punt inside the 5-yard line:

Punters are great, and Marquette King may be the best of them.