Like a lot of things nowadays, it started with a tweet.
I love the NFL because both of these humans play the same sport professionally pic.twitter.com/EpnOzCU0ub— Johnathon Poppe (@JPopASU) November 23, 2020
On the left, you’ve got “Hot Rod” Rodrigo John Blankenship, the Indianapolis Colts’ kicker. The player on the right is DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf.
Mr. Metcalf, obviously, needs no introduction on this here website (or any other sports-site at this point). Mr. Blankenship, on the other hand, generates a response of “Who?” even among some of the Colts’ fanbase. So let’s take a look at at the man they call “Hot Rod” - with a short side-trip down memory lane.
Despite a college resume that included the longest field goal in Rose Bowl history in 2018 (a game Georgia won in overtime against the favored Oklahoma Sooners), an 82.5% success rate on field goals (80/97), and a perfect 200-for-200 stat line on extra points, Hot Rod didn’t hear his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Undaunted, Blankenship signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent.
For those unfamiliar with the Colts’ recent kicking history, they had a guy name Adam-something ... Vinatieri, maybe? I read somewhere that he played for almost a quarter of a century (24 years) and holds a few records, including most field goals (599), most overtime field goals (12), most postseason points (238) ... that sort of thing. Oh, and he’s the NFL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,673 points.
Near the end of the 2019 season, the Colts put their future first-ballot Hall of Fame kicker on Injured Reserve (after he underwent season-ending knee surgery) and turned the kicking duties over to Chase McLaughlin, who they had claimed off waivers a couple weeks earlier. McLaughlin went 5-for-6 on FGs and 11-for-11 on XPs for the Colts in 2019 but got beat out by Blankenship in training camp last year.
Blankenship was successful on 32 of his 37 field goal attempts his rookie season and made 43 of 45 extra points. On Sunday, he was 1-for-1 on both field goals and extra points.
Note: The Colts went for 2 after their second touchdown and Carson Wentz got DUNLAP’d.
For reference / context, Hot Rod’s career percentage on field goals currently sits at 86.8% and his extra-points percentage sits at 95.7%. Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers, he of the 35-straight field goals, including a 24-of-24 “perfect” season in 2020, has a career field goal percentage of 86.2% and a career mark of 89.6% on extra points. That’s not to say that Hot Rod is “better” than Myers; I’m just pointing out that he’s probably got a pretty good career in front of him if he can maintain his early success rates.
Now, about that picture ...
When you look at it, you can’t help but think that Hot Rod looks like a stick drawing of a football player compared to DK Metcalf.
Sans research, I would have been quite skeptical if someone told me that Hot Rod was only 3 inches shorter than DK (6’1” vs. 6’4”) and I would have never believed that DK only had 40 pounds on him (PFR says DK is 229 and Hot Rod is 191).
Honestly, even knowing that, I want to call bullshit. There is just NO WAY. I would actually find it easier to believe that DK’s left + right biceps weigh as much as Hot Rod’s entire body. Hell, the gaps in DK’s 6-pack abs could probably swallow Hot Rod whole.
Seriously - DK is HUGE; he is a Greek God in the body of a mortal. Hot Rod, by comparison, is a mortal.
Joking aside, here is where it comes full circle.
I saw that tweet last year and chuckled. I filed it away as an amusing commentary on the nature of sports. I even bookmarked it.
And then I forgot about it.
So much so that I didn’t even think about it when the schedule came out and I saw that Seattle was opening the season in Indianapolis. I didn’t think about it during the week leading up to the game. I didn’t think about it during my pregame rituals. I didn’t think about it during the game - not even when Blankenship was on the field. And until Monday night, I still hadn’t thought about it.
Then this came across my desk:
Evidently, the subjects of that November tweet saw it too.
And they clearly found it amusing. At least amusing enough to recreate it for an actual photo that provides some perspective on their purported differences.
You gotta love sports!
DK, classy as ever, responded and wished Hot Rod luck on the rest of the season.