A field goal attempt and the weather are a lot of times joined at the hip. Weather plays into the discussion of a game-winning kick or a kick before the end of the half.
That discussion probably took place Sunday in the Arizona vs. Jacksonville game, where the Cardinals attempted a 68-yard field goal before halftime.
The field goal attempt ultimately fell short and led to a 109-yard return for a touchdown, tying an NFL record. Luckily, it didn’t cost Arizona to lose the game.
Some might wonder why the coach even decided to try a 68-yard field goal in the first place. Could weather – specifically, the wind – have played a part in his decision?
Around the time of the field goal, the temperature in Jacksonville was 85 degrees, and the wind was out of the east at only 2 mph.
According to Mark Maxwell, CEO of SportsWeather, kicks go much farther in hot weather than cold weather. Cold air is denser than hot air and provides more resistance to the football as it travels.
So, in Sunday’s case in Jacksonville, the kicker had the advantage.
Maxwell also mentioned that a diagonal/crosswind that is blowing in the direction of the kicking team seems to give kickers the most problems and, therefore, gives coaches hesitancy to kick a long field goal.
Meanwhile, a direct headwind into the kicking team reduces the kicker's distance, whereas a tailwind behind the kicking team increases the distance.
But with the wind speed ranging from 2 to 3 mph during the game, wind more than likely did not play a factor in the kick.
So, maybe to answer our own question as to why the Arizona coach decided to have his kicker attempt a 68-yard field goal, he may just have had too much confidence in his player. Or perhaps he thought the worst that would happen was a missed field goal and they’d go into the locker room without those extra 3 points.
But it was much worse. Not only did the Cardinals miss out on 3 points, but they gave up 7 points after unsuccessfully preventing the Jaguars from running back the missed kick the entire length of the football field, plus an extra 9 yards from the back of the end zone.
Despite this costly error at the end of the first half, leaving the Cardinals trailing the Jaguars 13-7 at the intermission, Arizona would go on to win the game 31-19 after a 24-point second half.