Ep 94: Billy Cundiff on his rise from raw Drake Bulldog to All-Pro NFL Kicker
I was going to be a part of the points in some way
Episode 94 splits the uprights with Harlan native and retired NFL kicker Billy Cundiff. Tim sits down with Cundiff whose NFL career included just about every high and low a player can experience. Going to a Pro Bowl and getting cut, hitting a game winner and missing a kick that would have tied the AFC Title Game.
Cundiff wasn’t always a kicker. As a Harlan Little Cyclone, playing for Coach Curt Bladt, Cundiff was a state title winning quarterback, a successful basketball player, and high jumper. Tim and Cundiff talk about playing for an all-time great football coach and growing up in an elite sports community. As humble as they come, Cundiff credits his older brother, coaches, and teammates for his successes in high school.
Kicking is what Cundiff is known for now but growing up he was a multisport athlete and kicking wasn’t his priority. Even at Drake University, Cundiff was both on both the basketball and football teams. Luckily for us, his football career had the trajectory of one of his kickoffs. Though he was All-Pioneer League as a freshman (though he was only 8-18 on kicks) he describes himself as raw. As he continued to improve, a few 50 yard kicks, and even a 62-yarder against the University of San Diego, the NFL became a real possibility.
I just had to fake it until I made it
Cundiff’s career started out in Dallas, with Emmitt Smith, Hard Knocks, and a whole new world of pressure. The largest crowd Cundiff played for in college was 13,000 at Southern Illinois. Football fans will really appreciate the inside look at his early successes, his time out of football, getting cut, and finding his new role in the NFL. Billy Cundiff’s sports career from small town star to fighting his way back into professional football is a great story and fits everything the Moonlight Graham Show is about. Hard work, perseverance, humility, and taking advantage of every opportunity.