FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Just before every kick, Nick Folk takes three paces back, two paces to the side, plants his feet and then twists to his right.
Three, two, plant, twist. It’s his routine and it’s working.
“Some guys have their own special pre-kick routine, that’s mine,” Folk told Jets Insider before last Sunday’s game against New Orleans. “I want to make sure that’s consistent so I know I’m starting in the same spot to give myself that best chance to make the kick.”
Folk then went on to make four more field goals in a victory over the Saints four more field goals in a victory over the Saints, connecting from 39, 21, 47 and 45 yards out and accounting for 14 of the Jets 26 points. Anyone who does sports betting online knows that Nick Folk has been money this season.
“You’re talking about ‘Folk Hero?’” joked head coach Rex Ryan after the game. “Guys, how about that year? Geez.”
“It’s not that it’s a given, but it’s like ‘Go ahead Folk Hero. Knock it through. Let’s go, and then get that kick-off coverage ready.’ It almost feels like that. I’ve been around some really good kickers in my day, but the year he is having is absolutely phenomenal.”
‘Folk Hero’ is the name Ryan has adopted for his prized kicker, a name he has repeated over and over, big kick after big kick.
In total, Folk has had to “three, two, plant, twist” 23 times this season, and 23 times the Jets have gotten three points.
He’s been perfect, there’s no other way to spin it.
“Anytime you can be consistent playing this game it’s a big help for our team. I just want to do whatever I can,” said Folk. “These guys put so much effort, time, blood, sweat and tears into this that I want to do my part to make sure that they’re getting the satisfaction of winning as many times as we possibly can.”
Including the streak, which at 23 straight is one away from Jay Feely’s franchise record, Folk has kicked three game winning field goals this season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and rival New England Patriots.
In the offseason, Folk actually modified his training regiment to kick less often during the week in an attempt to stay fresh during the year.
And by the looks of it, the change is paying dividends.
“We can keep going forward, keep progressing with [the training change] so that we can stay fresh throughout the course of the year and not go into Miami at the end of the year and be dead tired or go into a playoff run and be dead tired, we can keep that momentum going,” said Folk. “When you’re not tired, you’re not over-kicking, over-swinging and you can still make the long field goals, kick a kickoff deep, kick some touchbacks.”
In a season marked by inconsistency, especially on offense, Folk has been the Jets’ rock, twice winning AFC special teams player of the week. It’s funny to think that just this offseason the Jets brought in Dan Carpenter and Billy Cundiff to compete for Folk’s job.
In the midst of his best season as a professional, Folk hasn’t let the pressure get to him, falling back on his routine and letting it rip. Three, two, plant, twist. Nothing else.
“Nothing. I’m serious. I couldn’t tell you,” said Folk about what’s goes through his head before each big kick.
“I block everything out. I try to embrace the pressure part of it but not think about anything. I don’t want to have any swing thoughts where you’re complicating things. I want to keep it as simple as possible and kick the ball through the yellow poles, that’s the plan.”
Three, two, plant, twist.