CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — If it’s late in a game and the Panthers are about to call on kicker Eddy Pineiro, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find him alone, having a conversation, seemingly with himself.
“I start talking to myself,” he says. “I have said things like, ‘I am good enough.’ It’s kind of weird.”
He admits that sometimes guys give him a funny look, but Pineiro keeps on with the routine. After all, it gets results, like it did last Sunday with the game-winning field goal against the Texans.
“I’ve hit a couple game winners, but I mean, last game, it really meant a lot to our team,” he says, admitting that kick is now his personal favorite.
Now in his 6th year in the NFL, the 28-year-old has kicking down to a science. However, he explains, it’s never really easy, even when it looks like it is.
“There is no such thing as a chip shot,” he smiles. “Every kick is tough.”
That’s because, as Pineiro’s learned, there’s an art behind the art of actually booting the ball that needs to be mastered.
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“A lot of it is mental. [Actually] 90% of it is mental”
Hence the need for the positive self-talk before every kick. There’s also visualization that takes place. Some people are surprised to see it go through the uprights. To Pineiro, that’s simply a replay.
“We talked it into existence,” he remembers. “On the field. I go, ‘Johnny [Hekker] when I make this kick, I’m jumping on your back! Let’s do it!'”
Once it’s done, Pineiro says there’s no better feeling. At least until he makes the next one.
“I’m not going to make every kick. I hope I can. I wish I can. It’s just part of the game.”
Clearly, there’s a method to his nonexistent madness.