Although recent additions to the Patriots offense and defense have been positive, the same cannot be said for their special teams.
In recent years, the kicker position has been a physical and metaphorical revolving door for the Patriots as many names have come and gone.
Before the start of the 2020 NFL season, the Patriots pitted veteran Nick Folk and rookie Justin Rohrwasser against each other for the starting spot. Yet in a surprising turn of events, both kickers would be released before the start of the season, leaving the six-time Super Bowl champions without a kicker on the roster.
Going into week one’s match-up against the Miami Dolphins, Folk was granted another opportunity to cement his place on the Patriots special teams. Although the Patriots pushed past the Dolphins with a 21-11 victory, kicker Nick Folk had a rocky performance. Folk was a perfect 3/3 on extra points but missed a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter.
On Monday, September 15th, multiple reports suggested that the Patriots had sent Nick Folk to the team’s practice squad, meaning the Patriots kicking position was left vacant for the second time in 2020.
As Belichick and crew look to fill the kicker position, they may not have to leave Gillette Stadium to find the perfect candidate! In recent years, New England Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton has taken to Twitter and Instagram to showcase his kicking abilities and express his interest in joining his neighbors.
Knighton’s first social media post came on November 4th, 2015, when he posted an Instagram video of himself kicking a football from a sizable distance.
This wasn’t Knighton’s only social media post regarding a potential future with the Patriots. On October 2nd, 2019, Knighton tweeted a reminder to the Patriots that he was close by if they ever needed him and told them to ask what then-current kicker Stephen Gostkowski thought.
Hey @Patriots, I work across the hallway, can be there in the morning, and I can kick a football pretty well...ask SG3, whatcha think?— Brad Knighton (@bbknighton) October 2, 2019
On October 26th, 2016, Knighton posted a cryptic monochrome photo to his Instagram story and Twitter of a football on a kicking tee. Along with the photograph, Knighton included a thinking face emoji, which fueled suspicions.
Although some may pass off this potential move as a joke, Knighton took to Twitter on October 29th, 2016 to show the world that he has potential as a kicker. Knighton tweeted out his kicking stats from various distances and positions on the field. Knighton took a total of 36 attempts and was able to convert 32 of those attempts. After posting about his over 80% conversion rate, many wondered if Belichick and crew had a reaction akin to Will Farrell in the gif posted by Knighton.
A kick around at the park...— Brad Knighton (@bbknighton) October 29, 2019
6/6 38 R hash
6/6 42 L hash
5/6 48 R hash
2/6 52 L hash
5/6 48 R hash
5/6 46 L hash
As a new Patriots season approached, Knighton returned to poking at the potential of joining the Patriots. Once the Patriots released a statement on the release of both kickers, Knighton was quick to retweet the announcement and comment on how he was available if the Patriots needed him.
Knighton would again go on to display his kicking abilities when he posted a video of himself kicking a field goal from 53 yards out. A video that caught the eye of the Revolution, who shared the video, expressing their amazement for Knighton’s abilities.
As the Patriots prepare for week two and the remainder 2020 NFL season, Revolution fans will continue to ponder about whether or not goalkeeper Brad Knighton will don a Patriots jersey and fulfill not only his dreams but the Patriots now-vacated kicking position.