Cowboys Kicker Brett Maher’s Four-Miss Day Explained By NFL Crackdown As Eagles’ Jake Elliott Shuts Down Cheating Allegations

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Cowboys kicker Brett Maher had the worst day of his NFL career during Monday’s Wild Card win over the Buccaneers, but the math is starting to add up. Meanwhile, Eagles kicker Jake Elliott is pushing back on cheating allegations with a similar explanation.

Late last week, the NFL sent a warning to its teams in regard to field goal and extra point attempts. It told them to stop using ‘foreign objects’ for help during their kicks.

A few days later, Maher missed an NFL-record four (!!) extra point attempts. He missed just three all year, and two of the regular season misses were blocked.

Why did that happen? The NFL’s crackdown on ‘foreign objects’ played a role, it would appear!

Dallas special teams coach John Fassel explained how the league’s decision to enforce a rule it had never enforced before played a role in Maher’s awful outing. Cowboys holder Bryan Anger plucked a white-painted blade of grass and used it as a sightline all season.

The point is to ensure that the ball is placed at Maher’s preferred spot. However, before the second attempt on Monday, an official ruled that Anger could not use the blade of grass and cited the ‘foreign object’ rule.

I hadn’t seen any memo or discussion about it. I didn’t even know about it until our holder came up to tell me what happened. Supposedly, it was emphasized all season, but it’s never been brought up to me my whole career. It’s not an excuse by any means, just very unique to have that happen.

— Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel

Obviously, the lack of sightline was not the only reason for Maher’s off night. Fassel used the word “yips” and said that the team is moving on.

Meanwhile, Jake Elliott is dealing with the NFL’s rule enforcement as well.

Elliott, the kicker for Philadelphia, was the basis for the NFL’s crackdown. Emergency holder Britain Covey was spotted picking up a small “object” during the Eagles-Giants game in December. Replay showed the “object” was placed directly under the ball when it was snapped.

The NFL later noticed and sent out last week’s memo about the rule, which reads: “No article of any type may be placed on the field, or used in any manner, to assist a player in the execution of a field goal and/or [extra-point] Try attempt.”

Elliott and the Eagles were accused of cheating as a result. Although it sounds like their NFC East counterpart was doing the same thing until they were told to stop on Monday.

Elliott is pushing back on the cheating accusations.

We’ve always used something that’s within the rules. It’s just literally to mark the spot. It’s part of the playing surface, like a piece of grass or something like that.

— Jake Elliott, via

The 27-year-old kicker also said that his team spoke with the NFL about the issue.

When we talked to them, we explained what we’re doing, and they saw what we were doing. Probably 30 teams do it around the league. It’s just a point of emphasis, and someone makes it bigger than it is. Everything we’ve done has been completely legal.

— Jake Elliott, via

Based on the official’s ruling during Dallas’ game on Monday, using a blade of grass as a sightline and/or ball-marker does not appear to be legal. Elliott and Maher are not the only ones who do it, but it will be interesting to see if this has an effect on the remaining playoff games.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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