January 8, 2011
Placekicking coach Chris Sailer's legacy, that is. His pupil Nick Folk connected on a field goal with zero time left for the New York Jets to send them into the second round of the NFL playoffs over Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts.
I mention this because in the past, in discussing how nature and nurture -- selection and training -- often work together (leading to the Matthew Phenomenon of "To those who have, more shall be given"), I've often used the example of the microtradition of outstanding football field goal kickers such as Folk at my old high school, Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks, CA. This goes back to Chris Sailer (no known relation) 16 years ago when he kicked four field goals of at least 50 yards in the playoffs. After making All-American at UCLA, Sailer washed out of the NFL, so he started up a successful placekicking and longsnapping tutoring business.
This combination of expert coaching, advertising, and channeling has meant that NDHS has routinely had for the last decade field goal kickers who have connected on 50+ yard field goals. That would have been extremely unlikely for any high school a generation ago before all this specialized tutoring and channeling of talent got going.