Worst Preseason Game Ever? 2006 Cowboys versus Vikings and an “Idiot Kicker”

Have to figure that the worst preseason game ever would include an “idiot kicker” and the number 13.

As the Cowboys last preseason game approaches, a look back at what may have been the worst preseason game in Cowboys history or perhaps the NFL for that matter.

Bill Parcels was the Cowboys coach and it was the 4th preseason game in 2006 for the Dallas Cowboys who were playing the Minnesota Vikings. Excitement filled the air as this was the first time that newly signed WR, Terrell Owens stepped on the field with the Cowboys. He had been held out with hamstring issues prior to this game. Sound familiar?

Also back up QB Tony Romo had just been signed to a contract extension and would be the QB that played most in their final preseason game of the 2006 season. Starting QB Bledsoe would leave the game early after a fumbled snap where he took a blow to the head.

Trailing 10-3, the Cowboys managed to score a TD late in the game when Romo tossed a 2 yard TD pass with 17 seconds left to make the score 10-9.

Conventional wisdom would be go for the two point conversion and avoid overtime. Settle it right there by winning 11-10 or losing 10-9. But for some reason, Parcels sent his new kicker, Mike Vanderjagt out to kick the extra point and send the game into OT.

Of all the rule changes that have come down recently, here is one rule that would make sense. No OT in meaningless preseason games!

“Idiot Kicker” -Peyton Manning

Remember that Vanderjagt is the same Colts kicker that Peyton Manning referred to as “our idiot kicker”. In 2005, he missed a 41 yard FG against the Steelers that would have tied the game at 21. After the miss, Vanderjagt slammed his helmet to the ground and cost his team a 15 yard penalty. Parcels signed him after the Colts released him.

It was in 2002 when the Colts were eliminated in the post season, that Vanderjagt criticised both Coach Dungy and Manning. That’s what led Manning to call him, “our idiot kicker who got liquored up” when asked about it at the Pro Bowl.

Back to the preseason game tied at 10 and headed to OT. The game ended in a 10-10 tie after Vanderjagt “our idiot kicker” missed FGs from 32 and 33 yards during OT. To say the least Parcells wasn’t pleased and released the kicker later in the season. To add insult to injury or injury to insult in this case, Parcells first round pick in 2006, Bobby Carpenter, was injured while playing in OT.

Carpenter is the LB that “looked like Tarzan but played like Jane” who the Cowboys eventually cut. With the Lions last season, he returned an INT for a TD to lead the Lions to a remarkable come from behind win against Dallas.

Romo Foreshadowing his career

Romo finished the game passing 30 of 45 for 349 yards and 2 interceptions both of which were in the endzone. It was vintage Romo. Making great plays with fantasy football stats but blunders that cost them scoring opportunities. It’s amazing to have 349 passing yards but yet only manage 10 points in 5 quarters. Parcels himself use to say that a team should score a TD for every 100 yards of offense. A couple INTs in the endzone can ruin that tendency.

This game was indicative of Romo’s career as a starter. Great stats and plays combined with untimely blunders and costly turnovers.

Vanderjagt accused of choking….. literally.

Vanderjagt had an incident as a coach at Charter Middle School in Marco Island back in March 2012. When a student was chanting “wide left wide left” referring to the infamous playoff missed FG, Vanderjagt heard the yelling as he walked through the parking lot and according to witnesses, he snapped and grabbed the student by the throat. Vanderjagt insist that he was “holding” the student in place (by the throat evidently) while he talked to him.

I wonder if Parcells has any regrets from sending that game into OT?