“I’m 24 years old,” McManus told the Denver Post. “I don’t think I’ve ever kicked a ball like that in my life — grade school, elementary school or anything like that. I just wrapped my toe around on it.”
He added: “I didn’t point my toe down at all. My toes popped up, and if your toes pop up, it’ll hit the side panel of the ball and that’s why it went so far left.”
The error McManus made is actually quite common for kickers. The goal is to keep the toe down and ankle firmly in place. If the toe hits the side of the ball, or the ankle is at all wobbly, you get the epic hook McManus hit at the end of overtime, not unlike your everyday drive in golf.
He said it was such a clumsy mistake that he didn’t bother getting nervous for his chance to win the game in overtime.
“That kick was such an anomaly,” McManus said. “(The players) knew I was going to come back. I’m able to talk to myself and figure it out.”
That mental toughness is one of the reasons McManus is on his way to becoming one of the good ones. He’s already setting records — McManus is one of three NFL kickers all-time to hit multiple kicks in one game beyond 56 yards — and already clearing the mental hurdles that have plagued so many in this job.
A random sidenote: The call of the kick is worth listening to in English, and in Spanish. Announcers Álvaro Martín and Raúl Allegre are the best.