Brett Maher is reminding sports fans of a famous case of the yips
It's not often you see the Dallas Cowboys and a St. Louis Cardinals player trending together on Twitter, but with the recent struggles of Cowboys' kicker Brett Maher, sports fans cannot help but think of former Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel.
In case you missed it, Maher missed four extra point kicks in the Cowboys' Wild Card matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since Maher missed his last extra point in the regular season, he was on a string of five straight misses before making his last kick of the game. His woes continued against the San Francisco 49ers, having his first extra point blocked at the time of writing this.
Kickers are a bit notorious for major letdowns in big spots, but the level of struggles Maher is having is something rare in itself. Maher still has time to turn things around, but it is easy to see why fans are connecting his situation to that of Rick Ankiel.
In the 2000 NLDS, Ankiel was starting Game 1 and had the looks of a future ace after finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting that year. In the third inning up 6-0 on the Atlanta Braves, Ankiel through five wild pitches, sparking one of the craziest collapses we've ever seen from a pro athlete.
Ankiel was never the same again on the mound, trying to regain his confidence in the minor leagues but to no avail, and was one of the first case studies of the "yips" that we have in pro sports.
What many sports fans who do not follow baseball don't know though is the second half of Rick Ankiel's career and the comeback that is even more memorable than the fall from grace on the mound. Let's take a look back at his comeback as an outfielder.