Mike Holmgren told a great old Ryan Longwell story. Holmgren was asked about the most disappointing missed field goal of his coaching career. He went back to a game between his Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a hilarious story.
“Ray Rhodes was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. I was in Green Bay at the time. I had a rookie kicker named Ryan Longwell. He has since played 13, 14, whatever it is. We played the Eagles at the Vet and if you rmemeber that stadium, that was a hornets’ nest to go into. Tough place to play. We were losing a defensive struggle. We finally get the ball back like we did the other night on about the 10. We had a fourth-and-15 call. I called a play that wasn’t in the gameplan. Just kind of drew it up. Literally. They knew the terminology. Favre completes the ball for the first down, we work it down, all the way down with 5 seconds to go so he’s kicking a PAT. We’re kicking the field goal from the 4. And he missed it to the right. His first game with us. And he misses it. Needless to say, I’m feeling bad. I remember we went in and instead of exploding, in front of the team I said, ‘Ryan, you’re going to be here a long time, you’re going to win a lot of games for us.’ I don’t always say that. … His first kick, before I ever met him, in practice with the Packers. We had drafted a kicker in the third round and he had gotten hurt. We had no kicker. So we signed, I’m out at practice, here comes this kicker. I don’t even know his name. So we line up to kick field goals in our practice. He’s very young looking. I’m watching him. We go to kick it and he hits our right tackle right in the back of the head. And we had a cranky group up front. (The lineman) turns around and is ready to kill the kid. I’m like, ‘Who signed this kid?’ It’s a weird business.”