The 2012 NFL season more than ever before has seen kickers have an influence on matches. Here we celebrate an ode to the NFL's oddballs.[caption id="attachment_21099" align="aligncenter" width="496"] Scott Rovak / US PRESSWIRE[/caption] If there is any sight in modern football that inspires equal parts vindictive thought and bitter derision, it's the lily-white and spaghetti armed kicker methodically thwacking practice balls into a chipping net as he readies himself to destroy your sporting evening. Having an hour of brutal and frenzied NFL action decided by these PAT pilot fish is a fan's version of World War III being won by a Radar from M*A*S*H glib one-liner. Not only is it insulting enough that these dweebs get to hang around the rest of the team and are forced into your fantasy team like an unwanted pickle in your cheeseburger, but now more than ever before they are actually deciding matches. In fact, with a slew of overtime and last minute victories this season the humble kicker is hogging the headlines like never before. This week it was Detroit's Jason Hansen who managed to steal the limelight with his two pressure field goals in the Lions comeback win over Philadelphia. Or was it the Titans' Rob Bironas whose last minute FG made the Steelers look silly? Or perhaps it was one of the other five kickers who managed to get their team home by three points or less. If things keep going the way they are it's not too big a stretch to hypothesize that in the next decade or so it will be the boot boys dating supermodels, starring in unnecessary reality TV programs and getting the coach calling them by their first name. Young kids will spurn the chance for a bit of scrimmage on the gridiron to stand out in a lonely paddock by themselves practicing their run up, and franchises will be trading priority draft picks just in a vain hope of nabbing the top ranked college kickers. But hey, y'know what, maybe this is a good thing. After all the pressure that kickers are under is immense, the training mind numbing and the job security poorer than a nauseous rookie on an Alaskan king crab trawler. Because for every lauded 'Legatron', there is always going to be a few Billy Cundiff cast-offs. On top of this the kickers (along with their partner in squats the punter) is one of the few positions that have seen NFL teams peak from beneath their star-spangled banner to the wider world for talent. Players from Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Mexico and Germany have all graced the gridiron to slot the pigskin between the big sticks, and the history and appeal of the league is all the richer for it. So whilst they at times may seem somewhat superfluous to the footballing experience, perhaps it's time we gave the kickers the respect they deserve, or at least try to be a little bit nicer to them. Because you just never know when one of the little buggers might just decide your season.