"There’s no excuses for those. If you’re a kicker in the National Football League you should make those kicks – bottom line. End of story. Period. No excuses. No wind, doesn’t matter. You’ve gotta makes those kicks."
Singling out Olindo Mare for criticism is not just petty, it's inaccurate. I understand Jim Mora's frustration. Playing at home with an injury depleted roster against a playoff contender, Mora probably steeled himself for the worse. Had Seattle lost a blowout, Mora might have been more patient and equitable with his criticism. Instead, Seattle lost a close game they were winning well into the second half. They lost that close game by six points, the exact value of Mare's two missed field goals. That coincidence caused Mora to rip Mare and even threaten his job.
"We'll look at changes everywhere," Mora said. "We're not going to fight our ass off and have a field-goal kicker miss two field goals. It's not going to happen."
Mike Holmgren earned the respect of his team and fans by shouldering blame and not losing his cool in front of reporters. No one confused his restraint with a lack of fire or an unwillingness to discipline his players. It was class. If Mora had been right and Mare had truly been the difference between Seattle winning or losing, centering his criticism on Mare would still have exhibited a lack of leadership.
Mora didn't just handle the loss poorly, he was wrong. Mare had six field goal attempts and converted four. No kicker is automatic. The more attempts a kicker has, the more likely they are to miss. Mare kicked three attempts from 40-49 and three from 30-39. In 2008, all NFL kickers made 89% from 30-39 and 74% from 40-49. If an average kicker attempts three from 30-39, there is a 70% chance they make all three. If an average NFL kicker attempts three from 40-49, there is a 41% chance he makes all three and only a little better than 55% chance he makes two of three. Combine the two and an average NFL kicker should make 4.89 field goals in three attempts from 30-39 and three attempts from 40-49.
Mare made four. Had he exceeded the average, he would have made five and Seattle would have lost by three. If he had nailed all six, a feat an average NFL kicker could accomplish in less than three out of ten attempts, Seattle is tied - theoretically. One can't change an event in a sequence and expect all future events to remain unchanged. Nevertheless, the two missed field goals matched the point differential, making Mare an easy target. Mora ripped Mare publicly, lost his calm and threatened Mare's job. Inadvertently, Mora took the heat off Mare and put it on himself. Mare barely underachieved in a very limited sample. He missed two kicks in a string of six the way the best and worst kickers do. Mora displayed to Seahawks fans across the world a lack of leadership, critical understanding of the game and decision making.