Fennelly: For Bucs fans, watching Roberto Aguayo kick is torture

Five games in and Roberto Aguayo is the guy who Bucs fans watch with fingers crossed and one eye closed. Or both eyes closed, Martin Fennelly writes. [Getty Images]
Five games in and Roberto Aguayo is the guy who Bucs fans watch with fingers crossed and one eye closed. Or both eyes closed, Martin Fennelly writes. [Getty Images]
Published Oct. 13, 2016

What does it say when you win the game and people still can't bear the idea of you trotting onto the field?

That's where Bucs Land is with kicker Roberto Aguayo, the when-time-ran-out star in Monday's 17-14 season-saving (for now) victory at Carolina.

Has anybody ever got less mileage out of something like that than the generally likable Aguayo?

The poor kid. Five games in and he's the guy Bucs fans watch with fingers crossed and one eye closed. Or both eyes closed.

It's torture.

That's what 4-for-8 on field goals will get you in today's world.

Five games in and Aguayo is torture.

Are we waiting on his next make or his next miss?

There was a telling scene in Carolina as Aguayo lined up with seconds left. Three of his teammates, Jameis Winston, Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, huddled on the sideline. ESPN cameras caught the scene. They appeared to be praying.


Five games in and people are praying for wins. For Roberto Aguayo to make it.


I don't think Bucs coach Dirk Koetter trusts the kid any more than he did before Aguayo won the game, judging by Koetter's postgame comments.

He's a first-year coach working for knee-jerk owners in a league built on close games, games often won by a handful of points, sometimes by one kick.

Think Koetter is going to wait on him?

Think Aguayo doesn't know the deal?

What if Aguayo had missed that as time ran out Monday? Think there wouldn't have been a line of kickers outside Bucs headquarters Tuesday? The team would have needed to think about looking everywhere, including dance studios, to find a right leg.

This isn't going away until it goes away.

Leave it to the Bucs. Can you name me another team in the NFL where the general manager's fate might rest on a kicker?

Of course, this is all about where Aguayo was chosen in the draft (too high). Mind you, Aguayo was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history while at Florida State. But there weren't many close games for Aguayo at FSU. Blowouts everywhere. The NFL is different.

You're telling me that's not inside Aguayo's head?

Meanwhile, this is torture for Bucs fans.

Sports history is filled with torture. Aguayo has a long way to go to be Scott Norwood, who haunts the Bills, or reliever Mitch Williams, who haunts the Phillies, or Bill Buckner, who once haunted the Red Sox. Those were on big stages. This is nothing compared to that.

Still, every team and its fans have someone who tortures them. Sometimes it's an outsider, say Bucky Dent for Boston fans. Or, in a small, weird way, someone like Buster Posey, the one who got away from the still catcher-less Rays.

The Chicago Cubs, in open pursuit of 1908, pulled off an amazing ninth-inning comeback Tuesday to win the NLDS over Posey's Giants. Think they don't have 108 years of torturers? The billy goat? Steve Bartman? Steve Garvey?

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But let's just stick with the Bucs.

Bucs torturers are a legion.

Try Vinny Testaverde. Try Bucs quarterbacks in general. Try Doug Williams, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer, who won Super Bowls after they left Tampa Bay. Or try Bo Jackson, whom the Bucs drafted No. 1 overall in 1986 but who refused to play a down here. And that's just the short list.

Roberto Aguayo doesn't want to go there.

Hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

He did win that game, right?

Just checking.