Mike Vanderjagt investigated for grabbing kid who taunted him

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Former NFL kicker Mike Vanderjagt has been suspended from his middle school coaching job after he was accused of grabbing and screaming at a student, apparently because the child taunted Vanderjagt over his missed field goal in the Colts’ loss to the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs.

The Naples News reports that Vanderjagt is a part-time coach at a middle school in Marco Island, Florida, but that he was suspended from that position when the school’s dean of students called the police to say that Vanderjagt had been witnessed grabbing a student by the throat. According to the police report, a student was taunting Vanderjagt by yelling “wide left, wide left,” and Vanderjagt walked up to him, grabbed him by the throat and started cursing at him. Both the student involved (who apparently didn’t realize that Vanderjagt’s miss against the Steelers was actually wide right) and another student who witnessed the incident told police the same story.

That sounds a bit like what got Bobby Knight fired from a much higher-profile coaching job, and it’s unsurprising that Vanderjagt’s side of the story is similar to Knight’s story when he got fired at Indiana: Knight said he was simply trying to teach a young man to respect his elders, and Vanderjagt said that he decided he had had enough after students had been taunting him about missed field goals for months.

Vanderjagt said he did nothing more than put his hand on the child’s shoulder at the base of his neck to hold him in place while talking to him, and he had no intention of hurting or threatening the student. Police forwarded their report to the state’s attorney’s office, which decided not to press charges. It will be up to the principal to decide when or if Vanderjagt is reinstated to coaching.

Vanderjagt spent eight years in Indianapolis and had some very good seasons but is remembered by many for that miss against the Steelers, which was his last kick with the Colts before spending one final NFL season with the Cowboys. He’s also remembered for being famously roasted by Peyton Manning, who called him a “liquored-up” “idiot kicker.” The always reliable Wikipedia says that Vanderjagt is currently working as a pizza delivery man.

77 responses to “Mike Vanderjagt investigated for grabbing kid who taunted him

  1. It was all that Mannings fault, everyone knows that. If he had held the ball, laces out, like he was supposed to, Finkle err Stupid kicker would never have missed that …

  2. Guess he was a liquored-up coach this time, lol.
    Peyton’s quote is one of the funniest ever about a kicker.
    Seriously though, if he lost it when dealing with a student, he needs to do something else.
    It takes a dedicated, special person to teach in a school. I salute the ones that do it correctly everyday.

  3. Did he draw blood? Did the kid turn purple?

    If not, /care. Lesson learned, kid. Don’t run your mouth like a tough guy. Hate these brat people in society that mouth off, and then immediately run off to the authorities when someone gets sick of it and backhands them for it.

  4. . . . (who apparently didn’t realize that Vanderjagt’s miss against the Steelers was actually wide right) . . .


    That made me LOL.

  5. eastsideballa says: May 25, 2012 12:39 PM

    Peyton Manning just texted Vanderjagt the following: “Lol”.


    dear world:

    please stop with this “lol” bs. it is so stupid.



  6. I’d loved to talk to your physicians, wives, and Pastors’.

    “he that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone a her”. John 8:7

    If you guys are so prefect why aren’t you helping others out of their life’s ditch?

  7. you know in all honesty i’d probably snap, and do the exact same thing if i had to deal with ahole kids taunting me all day every day. i get it.

  8. So this kid is 12-14 now, which would make him 5-7 during that game? I’m willing to bet someones dad thought taunting the kicker was a good idea.

  9. mavajo says: May 25, 2012 12:40 PM

    Did he draw blood? Did the kid turn purple?

    If not, /care. Lesson learned, kid. Don’t run your mouth like a tough guy. Hate these brat people in society that mouth off, and then immediately run off to the authorities when someone gets sick of it and backhands them for it.

    Must be from the deep south, cousin marriage parts ’cause where I come from coach ain’t putting his hands on middle schooler…he WOULD be running padded laps though

  10. I would think even though Vanderjagt is part time coach, he still qualifies as under the broad term of faculty and easily could’ve requested they suspend the kid for insubordination.

    But in any case the dude is 6’5, 220.

    He isn’t some average sized kicker. Middle schools in the US run up to 8th grade. I doubt there are many 6’+ kids running around. Staring down the kid probably would’ve been effective.

    He’ll probably be fired and school will get sued.

  11. Even if the kid was taunting him for the whole year, you never lay your hands on a child. Go to the principal and get the kid suspended, don’t touch him.

  12. 3rd attempt to chime in on this subject, the first 2 were denied. so ill make it simple:

    thumbs up to vote for vandy
    thumbs down to vote for kid

  13. The little punk got what he deserved then. You cant just taunth the heck outta someone then go running and tell on them when they react. If that was my kid I’d go wide left on his noggin a few times. Whos raising these kids? Vanderjagt made it to the highest level of football. Whats that kid ever gonna do? So much disrespect.

  14. This is so funny to picture.

    Just imagining some kid making faces at Vanderjagt saying, “wide left, wide left” and being surprised with a choke-hold…lol so classic.

    Wish I was there for that one.

  15. Another “tough” kid learns a lesson. Don’t talk if you can’t back it up. Sounds like a life lesson learned to me. I’m sure he’ll live through it this time, but maybe not next time when another kid with a weapon might take him out after mouthing off.

    I’ve had coaches do worse to me. It taught me to shape up.

  16. So the kid acts like the sound end of a north-bound defecating moose, Vanderjagt tries to set him straight, and Vanderjagt gets in trouble?

    Sorry, but the kid needs to learn how to respect the adults working at his school. Would any other teacher or coach at that school be expected to put up with that kind of disrespect from a kid?

    The saddest part of all of this is that once kids know they can act like this, and the school won’t back up their own employees, the kids can get away with anything. Then when an adult steps into do something, the kid cries bloody murder and the parents call their lawyer.

    He should have slapped the kid silly.

  17. Can I somehow slip a Patriot’s reference in here? You know me — you know I can!

    Looooove me some Tom Brady!

  18. Our society is really soft- I don’t care for Vanderjagt, but i think what he did is fine. This provides a lesson.

    When i was 12- I mouthed off to my father and he grabbed me by the shirt by my neck and lifted me with one arm. I was a foot off the ground, against a wall and he asked me to say it again. It scared the crap out of me- and i never mouthed off like that again.

    It was a lesson learned-

  19. Anybody stupid enough to hire the liquored up kicker to work with kids deserves what they get… what’s it take, ten seconds on google to reveal what this loser is like? C’mon… whoever hired him needs to get fired first. What’s next, hire Romanowski to teach ethics and morality?

  20. I was at a tailgate outside a Colts game a year or two after that and saw someone in a #13 Colts jersey walk by only it read Ray Finkel instead of Vanderjagt on the back.

  21. The gall of people who think they can say anything they want to anyone they want. I just saw a youtube video yesterday of this old Caucasian woman in a scooter spouting off the N word at a Black guy washing his car, and the guy preceded to spray her with the hose instead of his car. IMO, she got what he deserved. Famous people have it even worse. I remember a woman yelling obscenities at Chris Brown as he walked through a store after the Rhianna altercation. She followed several feet behind him and berated him mercilessly. Chris ignored her, which must have taken unbelievable will power.

    You don’t have the right to say what you want to people, and seven hells to those that contend they can because this is a free country. People can only take so much, and, if you cat the right person on the wrong day you may end up wishing you would have kept your trap shut. Sad thing is, after an incident where the antagonist get beat up they want to sue or have the person they chided arrested.

  22. vikingdoode says:
    May 25, 2012 1:52 PM
    Drew Brees wants an explanation!

    Kid deserves a punch in the eye


    It took much longer than I thought it would for Brees to come up.

  23. Ask anybody that works with kids in the school system. You are not allowed to touch a kid. In that regard Vanderjagt should have know better. But these kids are out of control, they punch, hit, even bite teachers and other kids with no consequences . I know of one child like this, and the schools response is to reward him when he doesn’t act up. Too bad the days are long gone when a coach could and would rightfully kick the little smart ass of any kid dumb enough to mouth off. The other part of that is that if that did happened and your dad found out, you’d get another butt kicking when you got home. These days they file a lawsuit.

  24. He’s A Damn Kicker….Why Is He Choking A Kid. He Should Of Kicked The Lil Bastard In the Groin
    But he probably woulda kicked wide rite

  25. That missed FG got in his head and messed him up for good.

    It wasn’t just that he missed it, it was how badly he missed it. It effectively ended his career and cost him a Super Bowl ring.

  26. i love the picture that accompanies this story. now cut to the sideline where peyton smirks and lips, “he missed.”


    indy should have never even been in the game. crooked pete morelli overturning polamalu’s interception was an abomination.

  27. What makes a kicker qualified to be a football coach? That’s the real crime in this…

  28. Another POS colt. Takes after the owner he played the majority of his career for in his love of alcohol.

  29. The kid didn’t lie. He just had no respect.I guess shanking that kick reverberates through time… Someone coached that kid, it was common schoolyard knowledge. Pretty weak for him to even acknowledge the taunt, much less react aggressively, if not violently. Puts him down there at the childish level, like many of you commentors. What a bunch of stupid losers, preaching slap-around therapy. I sincerely hope you’re not parents.

  30. I actually feel bad for the guy.
    Our kids are out of control… teachers, coaches, principals have no recourse for students that act like punks. It’s pathetic.

  31. This guy is actually one of the best kickers in NFL history. Never missed a field goal or PAT in 2003, including the playoffs. Also has the highest FG conversion rate of any NFL kicker ever.

  32. The lack of respect in our society went down when we did away with corporal punishment. Now it’s cool for kids to disrespect adults while the parents look for a lawsuit because their brat was somehow damaged.

  33. I trust Wikipedia more than the clowns that write these articles and don’t get their facts straight – and oh yeah by the way Wikipedia says the following:

    He currently owns a pizza restaurant in Marco Island, Florida.[6]

  34. I live here in Estero Florida, and indeed he does deliver pizza. I was surprised as heck last week when he showed up in a beat up Ford Taurus to deliver my very tasty pizza hut pizza. Because I am a steelers fan I tipped him $10 bucks and wished him luck on his pizza endeavors

  35. Vanderjagt tried to put his hand on the kid’s left shoulder, but missed to the right and ended up with his hand on the throat.

  36. I’m from Naples, FL and in response to the “pizza delivery boy” statement, Vanderjagt actually owns a pizza joint on Marco Island, he’s not just a delivery boy

  37. Who does this kid think he is?? I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had ever mouthed off to a coach like that.
    That kind of insubordination can rip a team apart. My experience tells me that what happens on the practice field stays there. Coaches have to do what they have to do to stop trouble makers from ruining things for the rest of the team. This kid should have learned a lesson in respect, but instead he’s being taught that being a mouthy brat will eventually get you whatever you want.

    Shame really, the kids had a chance to learn the game from someone who has played at the highest level, but now they are gonna b stuck with some random coach whom the kids obviously don’t respect. Face it, if you respect/fear your head coach then I guarantee you won’t be insulting one of his assistants

  38. I don’t care who your teacher is, kid, you respect him and the work he does. He tries to get something of value into your thick, empty scull and as you may have noticed, it is a thankless job. Obviously your upbringing (or lack thereof) is shining through in flying colors. Keep it up and some day, when you’re grown up in age, you will taste the wrath of someone who won’t be taking your crap.

    I’m with the liquored-up idiot on this one.

  39. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: May 25, 2012 12:50 PM

    So that was a pizza delivery dude that missed my driveway and pulled up on the grass!

    It could have been…did he miss your driveway to the right?

  40. Vanderjagt was probably just correcting the kid, telling him it was “wide right”. Of course, he probably also didn’t know that the kid was sitting in the end zone, so to him, it looked like it was “wide left”. It’s all a matter of perspective!

  41. Vanderjagt was only able to choke him on his 2nd attempt. On his first attempt to grab the kid, he was wide left.

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