The sad story behind the kicker


Munich – Matt Gay may get a little support from above at the Super Bowl (live on February 13 on ProSieben and ran.de). The Los Angeles Rams kicker believes his old friend Parker Overly has his back on the field when it matters most.

“He certainly pushed the ball through the post a few times. He helped me a lot,” Gay once told the Deseret News. Overly was also a talented collegiate athlete before he died in a car accident in April 2017.

He’s the reason Gay became a kicker in the first place. Actually, his love was football. He played for the Utah Valley University soccer team for two years and was even part of the USA U17 national team.

However, his buddy Overly had made it his mission to encourage him to switch sports. “He always pushed me to play football. He always told me to hang up my boots.”

After much persuasion, Gay relented and traded the round leather ball for the egg. Apparently Overly was right. Gay proved to be a natural. In order to be better promoted as a football player, he switched to the University of Utah and played there for the Utah Utes.

Lou Groza Award for Best Kicker in College Football

He got off to a great start in his first season. Gay won the Lou Groza Award for Best Kicker in College Football. “When the season started, I didn’t even know what the Lou Groza Award was. I didn’t know much about football,” he admits.

Overly, however, didn’t notice any more of the successes. All of this happened a few months after his fatal accident. Originally, it was the wish of the two to experience the rise to professional sport together. “He told me that if I made it to the NFL, he would be my agent,” Gay recalled.

Unfortunately it didn’t come to that. And yet the kicker feels that his childhood friend continues to have an impact on his career: “I feel like everything has just worked out since then. He was definitely there for me on the other side to balance things. “

Released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gay was picked in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a field goal success rate of 77.1 percent, however, he was only partially convincing. At the start of the 2020 season, the dismissal took place because Tampa Bay relied on veteran Ryan Succop.

After a brief stint in the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad, Gay joined the Los Angeles Rams in mid-November 2020 because their actual kicker, Kai Forbath, sustained an injury. “The Rams gave me a great opportunity,” Gay said.

Since then he has proven to be extremely accurate. He converted 87.5 percent of all field goals in the remaining games of the 2020 season. In the 2021 season he even achieved a success rate of 94.1 percent.

Cooper Kupp puts a “lot of faith” in the kicker

His personal highlight: In the divisional playoff game, the 27-year-old shot the Rams to victory in the game against Tampa Bay with the last play of the game with a 30-yard field goal. This is not the only reason why he enjoys a high reputation within the team.

“He has a very difficult job. He’s done it incredibly all year,” praised wide receiver Cooper Kupp. “He’s a Pro Bowl kicker, he’s one of the best in the league so we have a lot of faith in him.”

Oliver Jensen

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