Kyle Williams Proves That NFL Punt Returner is the Worst Job in Sports
A little more than a month ago, I wrote a post titled “The 7 Worst Positions to Play in Sports.” Atop the list was NFL punt returner. In the NFC championship game on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams validated my entire post.
Williams let a bouncing punt glance off his knee in the fourth quarter deep in his own territory that led to a New York Giants touchdown and then fumbled another punt that led to the Giants’ winning field goal. The 49ers left Candlestick Park with a gut-wrenching 20-17 loss and no Super Bowl berth to speak of.
And who to blame? Well the obvious choice is Williams.
A few of the reasons that I named punt returner as the worst position to play in football included the extremely difficult decisions that you have to make, the trained professional killers flying at you and the terrible situations that you can put your team in. Williams experienced all of those yesterday: he had a tough time telling how the ball was going to bounce on the first punt so he unfortunately had it go off his leg trying to step away from it, he had the ball knocked out of hand skillfully by New York’s Jacquian Williams on the second return and he helped cost his team 10 points in an extremely tight ball game.
What I did not mention in the first post is that when you screw up as a punt returner, everyone knows it. You’re an easy scapegoat, a Hester Prynne of sorts.
It doesn’t matter that the 49ers got one catch from their wide receivers all game. It doesn’t matter that they converted once (ONCE!!) on third down. It doesn’t matter they couldn’t cover Victor Cruz. All of that can be buried in the stats somehow.
But even the layman of laymen can see how Williams really screwed the pooch. Because of it, he is receiving death threats on Twitter. (That’s just ridiculous by the way.)
We sympathize with you Kyle, and we suggest that you continue to be the class act that you have been. We also suggest that you don’t be a punt returner any more. It’s not you, it’s just the position of punt returner itself. It’s quite possibly the worst invention of modern civilization.