Disclaimer: there is no correct answer.
What’s crazy is the guy started the season by kicking a 63-yard field goal in the first regular season game after being named first-team All-Pro for his work the previous season. At the time, it seemed as if Akers would somehow be even better in 2012 than he was in 2011. However, we didn’t know that he underwent surgery for a double hernia in February (a little tidbit that might partially explain Giorgio Tavecchio’s presence during training camp).
Akers can still kick. His kickoffs were fine this season, both anecdotally and statistically (Pro Football Focus gave Akers the seventh highest score among kickers for his work with the ball on a tee). His field goal percentage (69%) was the second worst in the league among qualified kickers, but kickers are expected to be nearly perfect these days. Ray Wersching — a cult hero of sorts among longtime 49ers fans — made 67.5% of his field goal attempts in his career.
Enter Billy Cundiff, who hasn’t exactly shined over the last 12 months. A little less than a year ago, he missed a 32-yard FG that would’ve forced OT against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Three months ago, Cundiff was released by Washington after missing a bunch of field goals and not exactly winning awards for accountability after missing a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter of a 24-17 loss to Atlanta:
“You look at the final score, and obviously even if I would’ve made that field goal, we still would’ve needed four more points,” Cundiff said. “So it’s one of those things that you obviously would’ve needed two more field goal attempts beyond that.”
That loss to the Falcons was Cundiff’s last game as a Redskin.
Cundiff’s first game as a 49er might be a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, depending on whether Brad Seely and Jim Harbaugh decide to replace Akers with a guy who kicked at Candlestick Park for the first time on Monday. When asked about his first experience kicking at The Stick, Cundiff’s honesty was again on display:
Cundiff’s initial impression of the place? “California has some pretty old football stadiums,” he said. “That’s one thing I’m finding here.”
So on one side we have Akers, who has made 11 of his last 22 field goal attempts. On the other, we have the guy who happened to be on top of the scrapheap when the 49ers got fed up with Akers.
None of us face the pressure-per-muscle-twitch kickers do on a weekly basis. We don’t make the money they do either (I’m just going to call that an educated assumption about myself and BASG readers), but you can enter for a chance to win one of two 10-person pizza parties from Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria (and a t-shirt!) by answering the following question:
Who should be the 49ers’ placekicker on Saturday, David Akers or Billy Cundiff?
Harbaugh said both kickers could very well be activated on Monday and refused to give any specifics on their plans during today’s press conference. But this isn’t like the Alex/Kap situation in September, where one kicker might do the bulk of the kicking while the other might come in and drop an onside kick in the second half to change things up. There will only be one kicker, and neither option is really all that appetizing. Luckily, pizza is.
Feel like increasing your odds of winning a bunch of free thin crust pie for you and your friends? You can answer these questions, too: