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Eagles/Santander media kicker competition: ESP finishes in first

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The Eagles and Santander Bank held a media kicker competition on Monday afternoon, August 18th, 2014. It wasn't pretty, but here's what happened.

Brian Cleary

The Philadelphia Eagles and Santander Bank held a media kicker competition on Monday afternoon, just as I said they would. There were about 20 participants, including myself. I doubt this will interest most, if anyone, but for those select few that will actually choose to read about this... Here you go!

Morning

I arrived early at the Eagles facility today in order to work on a few blog posts. Being the first one to the media room, I figured I was off to a good start. As other media members slowly arrived, the conversation about the kicking competition grew. "Are you actually doing it today?" "Man, I'm going to suck at this."  "How far do you think you can make it from?" were among the things overheard.

This talk continued throughout the day. At one point I was talking to fellow Bleeding Green Nation authors Jimmy Kempski (Philly.com) and Eliot Shorr-Parks (NJ.com) about the competition. Kempski arrived late to practice because he actually went out to buy these golden cleats:

and test them out at the Dick's golf driving range. Classic Kempski.

We discussed Kempski's odds and who had the best chances of winning. Having never kicked a ball before, I didn't argue with my odds.

Warm ups

It felt like forever for practice to be over as the media were forced to wait inside the team's facility now that Eagles training camp practices are closed to media access (except for the first 20 minutes or so). After Eagles PR guy Derek Boyko told us it was OK to come outside, I made my way to the field and waited for the players to leave so the competition could begin. A little bit of anxiety was starting to set in.

After signing two legal forms (one injury waiver paper and one photo release paper) and receiving a free red shirt with an Eagles logo on the front and a Santander Bank logo on the back, several media members walked out onto the field in order to stretch and wait for the others still inside to arrive. At one point Eagles insider (and BGN contributor) Dave Spadaro asked what was up with Jimmy ranking me so low on his rankings. "There's a lot of people sleeping on me," I responded. "Maybe a little too much."

A few more media members came out onto the field and started to take warm up kicks from about the 15 yard line. I decided against the warm up as I wanted to go in cold. One of the highlights of warm-ups was when the great Howard Eskin, who was wearing a suit:

sent one up and over for a good field goal. Eskin's completed attempt meant that the Inquirer's Zach Berman had to participate in the competition. Berman had originally said that if Eskin could make one, he would come out, and so he did.

The only issue here was that we still don't know if the man who made that successful warm up kick was the real @HowardEskin.

The competition

Santander gave a brief speech before the event. More details:

Now through October 20, 2014, Eagles fans can enter to win the chance of a lifetime: attempting a 40-yard field goal before thousands of spectators during halftime at the Eagles home game on November 23, 2014 and winning $20,000 courtesy of Santander if they make the field goal.

Fans can enter the "Santander $20,000 Field Goal Challenge" by participating in a daily, online Eagles trivia game, featuring fun questions about Eagles alumni. A winner will be selected each day throughout the duration of the contest. All winners will be eligible to participate in the "Santander $20,000 Field Goal Challenge Try Outs," where they will have the chance to bring their football skills to the field.

The try out event will take place at the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles’ training facility in Philadelphia, on Saturday, November 1, 2014. At the event, all daily trivia winners will participate in a series of field goal challenges designed to test participants’ kicking skills until one finalist remains. The finalist will then have the opportunity to attempt a 40-yard field goal during halftime at the Eagles home game against the Tennessee Titans on November 23, 2014. A successful field goal will earn the lucky winner $20,000 and bragging rights for life.

Then, it was competition time. The first kick was from about 15 yards. Each contestant had two tries at the first attempt. Most made their kicks.Then it was my moment to shine.

I ran up and kicked the ball through easily. Immediately afterwards, I took off my Kelly green polo shirt to reveal a black shirt with a Superman logo. I then proceeded to do the Superman celebration (the one that Cam Newton does) much to the laughs of those in attendance. Never forget to shine your brightest when the spotlight is on you.

Those eliminated from round one: Dave Spadaro, Howard Eskin, Nick Fierro, Ed Kracz, Sheil Kapadia. Valiant efforts by all. Extra credit to Eskin for kicking in dress clothes:

Round two was a little harder because the ball was moved back to 25 yards and each member was only allowed one attempt. A few people, including myself, went the distance but the accuracy was wide. The only two that hit from 25 were Chris McPherson & Peter Car.

McPherson missed his 35-yard attempt and Car hit his, so Car won. Except... we weren't able to determine the three runner-ups due to the fact that most of the field was eliminated in the second round. So the media agreed to bring back ESP, who had hit the post on his second FG, back for another try. ESP drilled his attempt and Car had two chances to hit another one, but he missed both. So ESP won!

Congratulations to everyone's favorite former BGN writer. ESP kicked well so this was deserved.

It was a pretty fun/goofy time. Very cool of these two organizations to plan this event and be willing to donate the money to charity. You the real MVP, Eagles/Santander.