At No. 1, we present our final Countdown To Kickoff honoree, punter Pat McAfee.
Generally, special teams players don’t many many headlines for their play on the field, especially punters. However, they tend to find publicity off the field, and that’s where McAfee has made his biggest impact, positive or negative.
The Colts needed a replacement for the departed Hunter Smith, so they opted for McAfee in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. As a senior at West Virginia, McAfee led the Big East Conference with 23 punts inside the 20-yard line and contributed to a career-high 44.7 yards per punt average, resulting in a Senior Bowl appearance.
With Adam Vinatieri already slated for field goals, McAfee handled all punting duties and served as Vinatieri’s holder.
During the 2010 season, McAfee ran into his first gust of trouble. On Oct. 20, he was arrested on public intoxication and appeared to be swimming in a canal after he was reported by a woman at around 5:15 a.m. Officers say he blew a 0.15 blood-alcohol content, and McAfee was suspended one game for his actions.
Two weeks following the incident, McAfee apologized for his actions.
“Obviously I made a dumb decision on a night when things got out of control,” he said. “I will never put my team or my family through this kind of embarrassment again.”
McAfee has been clean ever since and, in an effort to win fans back, has established the Pat McAfee Foundation, which aims to provide assistance for the sons and daughters of military personnel.
McAfee is also active on Twitter (@PatMcAfeeShow), creating a following of young fans and regularly updating and interacting with fellow users. His own website, patmcafeeshow.com, also exists for events in which he hosts.
As of 2013, McAfee hosts his own show which recently launched on IndyStar.com, and airs every Tuesday at 7 p.m. Starring McAfee, the show also features Star columnist Bob Kravitz, Colts beat writers Stephen Holder and Mike Chappell and other weekly guests.
Countdown To Kickoff Archive
Aug 21: Peyton Manning
Aug 22: Austin Collie
Aug 23: Ryan Leaf
Aug 24: LaVon Brazill
Aug 26: T.Y. Hilton
Aug 27: Andrew Luck
Aug 28: Donnie Avery
Aug 31: Matt Hasselbeck
Sept 1: Curtis Painter
Sept 2: Dan Orlovsky
Sept 3: Kerry Collins
Sept 4: Adam Vinatieri
Sept 5: Matt Stover
Sept 7: Pat McAfee