Kicking Aide

Boniol converted 81 of 93 field goals attempts in three seasons with the Cowboys

for the New York Giants that 1956 season when they won the NFL title game, becoming quite acquainted with one Tom Landry, a Giants player then assistant coach at the time. 

So when Agajanian's kicking career ended in the early '60s, Landry brought on his former teammate as the team's kicking consultant, a position he handled for 24 years over two separate stints. 

He lasted until 1989 when newly-hired head coach Jimmy Johnson took over, Agajanian telling the story of meeting with Johnson and hearing him say, "I don't know what you do, but I can get someone cheaper." And so he did, hiring Hoffman, his kicking coach at the University of Miami, to handle quality control duties while tutoring and finding kickers on the cheap. But at least Johnson did something. 

Hoffman lasted 16 years with the Cowboys (1989-2004), working for five head coaches, and probably saving owner Jerry Jones millions by developing young, no-name kickers from scratch. That is until Bill Parcells decided Hoff wasn't tough enough on kickers for his taste and let his contract expire. 

Hmmm, well check out this little stat: With Hoffman on board, the Cowboys went through 10 kickers during his 16 years, and that number would have been less than that if not for first Plan B free agency allowing Ken Willis to sign with Tampa Bay and then free agency as we've known it since 1994 giving Boniol the ability to sign a restricted free-agent deal with Philadelphia in 1997. 

But in the last five seasons without even a kicking consultant onboard, the Cowboys have gone through seven kickers, and assuming Shaun Suisham isn't invited back, for certain at least an eighth in six years. In fact, the Cowboys had gone through five kickers in Parcells' final three seasons until they drafted Nick Folk in 2007. 

So a little history and knowing they would need to develop a kicker this off-season led the Cowboys to hooking up with Boniol, who had been chomping at the bit to ply his craft at the highest level after starting off with mere junior high kickers back 13 years ago and now having tutored more than 3,000 kickers either individually or through his camps and clinics. 

Boniol sent out feelers to several teams, including the Cowboys, and just a few weeks ago heard from DeCamillis and probably thanks to references from his former coach, Hoffman, now the special teams coach in Kansas City. He came by one day to talk with DeCamillis, then head coach Wade Phillips, and by Wednesday already was here at The Ranch sifting through kicker tape. 

The plan is for Boniol, one of Hoffman's finds out of Louisiana Tech, to work twice a week with the kickers during the off-season and then accompany the team to training camp, which will allow him to continue with his Chris Boniol Kicking Camps in the area. Boniol said there's been no discussion yet about the season, but with him living in nearby Flower Mound, Texas, he certainly could be the on-call kicking doc just in case. 

"It was very valuable to have somebody encourage you, challenge you if you needed that and be a buffer between a coach who was ready to tear your head off," Boniol said of the benefits of having Hoffman around as his kicking coach. 

To Boniol, who says one of his greatest satisfactions is taking like an eighth grader who knows very little about kicking and seeing him graduate high school with a letter jacket, this job isn't 100 percent coaching, either. A lot has to do with setting the right tone. 

"Hoffman taught kickers how to handle yourself in the locker room, how to handle yourself everywhere," Boniol said. "He taught you how not to be noticed. The thing about kickers is, no one wants to hear from you." 

Boniol said he felt for Folk this past season while watching from nearby as the third-year kicker who went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie campaign began to struggle mightily toward the end of the season, missing seven of his final 11 attempts. 

"I've been there when I had no clue where the ball was going," said Boniol, although those days were after he departed Dallas, since he converted 81 of 93 field goals attempts in three seasons with the Cowboys (87 percent), highlighted by an incredible club-record 27 of 28 in 1995 (96.4 percent) and a club-record 27

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