Broncos honor Jim Turner in a very unique way
Former NFL kicker Jim Turner, who kicked for the Broncos in Super Bowl XII, died recently at the age of 82. Broncos coach Sean Payton honored him at practice on Tuesday in a very unique way.
Payton had the two kickers at the minicamp session -- Elliot Fry and Randy Bullock -- perform old-school, straight-on field goals from the extinct distance of nine yards.
Turner played when the goal posts were at the goal line, and he had made during his career a nine-yard field goal.
“I never met Jim Turner,” Payton told reporters after practice. “I met [former Saints kicker] Tom Dempsey once as a kid in training camp and got an autograph. He was my first autograph ever -- Tom Dempsey. Then, 38 years later, I’m the head coach of the Saints and I meet him at a Saints function.
“We did a little research on Jim Turner. You guys know [about] him. [He played] nine years here. [He made] three field goals in the Super Bowl win [for] the Jets. He was a kicker for us for our first Super Bowl, and then he did something that will never be done again. He kicked a nine-yard field goal. Obviously, the uprights were at the goal line then. We made the kickers today kick straight on and we spotted the ball nine yards deep in the end zone.
“When you actually look at that field goal, it’s not an easy one to hit. In fact, all of the offensive linemen were worried about getting buried in the back. Both kickers had never kicked straight on, so they didn’t have a squared toe [cleat]. That was just for them to recognize a little bit of the history here. That’s a member of our Ring of Fame. He passed, and we were fortunately 2-for-2. In fact, we looked a little better kicking straight on then we did with the soccer-style attempts.”
That’s a term that rarely gets used these days. In the ‘70s, when most kickers kicked the ball with their toes, the “soccer-style” kick was the new thing. Gradually but inevitably, more and more teams signed soccer-style kickers.
Turner was one of the last straight-on kickers. The last kicker of that style, Mark Moseley, actually won the NFL’s MVP award in the strike-shortened season of 1982.