Jake Elliott had one of the most memorable seasons in Eagles history for a kicker as a rookie in 2017. After being signed from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad, Elliott nailed a 61-yard kick as time expired in the Eagles’ Week 3 home opener to beat the New York Giants. That game-winner was the longest field goal in Eagles history, and his 53-yarder in the Divisional Round against Atlanta was the longest postseason field goal by an Eagle and an NFL rookie. In Super Bowl LII, he recorded the two longest field goals by a rookie in Super Bowl history including one that put the Eagles up by eight points with 1:05 remaining.
He added to his legacy last Sunday with a game-winning, walk-off field goal to beat the Texans and keep the Eagles' playoff hopes alive.
You’re an avid golfer. Which professional golfers did you look up to growing up?
“I was always a big Tiger (Woods) guy, so watching him make a comeback was really great. As far as it goes now, I’m kind of into all of the younger generations.”
Which courses are your favorite?
“My favorite one I’ve been to is Pine Valley. I definitely want to get out to Pebble Beach. I want to get to the course at St. Andrews. I would say those are the two bucket lists right now, Chambers Bay as well.”
You’re also a great tennis player. Which tennis player did you watch the most?
“Lleyton Hewitt. He was my favorite growing up. We just had a similar style of play, so it was easy to follow him and fun to cheer for him.”
Do you get to play tennis often?
“Not a whole lot. I try to play a couple times in the offseason every year but when I go back home to Chicago, I go back to the high school and hit with the kids there. It’s fun. That’s a place that I loved when I was growing up and I know they enjoy it, so trying to compete with them is fun. Some of their top guys are good so it’s sometimes tough to hold my own now not having played in a couple years. Just a little rusty.”
You’ve said that your favorite meal is deep-dish pizza. What are your favorite toppings?
“I like the green onion, peppers, and sausage. That’s my go-to. I’ve never been about the pineapple pizza. I’ve tried it, and it’s OK, but I really don’t think it fits with pizza.”
Which kick of yours is your favorite memory?
“I would say that Giants one was probably my favorite. Just being new to the team, new to the city, and that being my first home game, it just made it a special kick.”
Which kick had more pressure, the 61-yarder or the fourth quarter in the Super Bowl?
“I would say that the Super Bowl one was probably more pressure-packed because obviously the stage it was on. I would say the Giants one was still a big pressure kick for me because I was new to the team, trying to prove I was worth being here. Trying to save my job. But I was honestly not even that nervous for that kick. I was just really confident for it for some reason and I was just begging for the chance.”
How did things change for you after the game-winner against the Giants?
“I would say publicity-wise, it obviously changed a lot. It didn’t change anything that I did per se as far as, I would just get recognized more when I went out and stuff like that. But nothing crazy. Being recognized out in public is just so different than where I came from. I blend in pretty well. So, once you start getting noticed around Philly, they’re pretty passionate fans, so it’s cool.”
Your rookie year had some ups and downs early. Did you think it would end with a Super Bowl?
“Definitely not. It was definitely a roller-coaster ride, being drafted pretty high for a kicker (fifth round, 153rd overall), and then ending up being cut, being shipped off here, it was just a huge roller-coaster ride. And then winning it all my rookie year, it seems almost easy but it’s hard to win in this league. You hear that from all of the veterans, and once you’re really in the thick of things, that’s when you really notice. But it was a roller-coaster ride for sure.”
How did you prepare to kick in a Super Bowl as a rookie?
“I approached that week like every other week and did that as much as possible and thought it was just going to be like any other game until I stepped out on the field for the first time. The legs were a little heavy, a little shaky. It was different. It was a different stage. But I think after that first one, after that first kick, things calmed down a little bit. I kind of got into the flow of the game and felt all right.”
How do you stay zoned in before a big kick?
“I just try to stay off on my own. I really don’t communicate with others during those times. A lot of people like to go off and will like to crack a joke with a buddy and try to ease the mood, but I like to go off on my own and be in my little zone. I do that pretty much for every kick. Try not to treat them differently.”
Do you get more nervous for long kicks?
“I wouldn’t say more nervous. I would say more zoned in, just being aware of the situation. I try not to think too much of it, not make anything bigger than it needs to be. But those situations, those are the ones you can’t wait for as a kicker.”
Which stadium is your favorite and least-favorite for kicking?
“Favorite is pretty much anywhere indoors. The toughest, I haven’t actually kicked in it, but I grew up in Chicago and I’ve heard that Soldier Field is hard to hit in. In college, I played at the Linc against Temple and it was actually one of the tougher ones I ever had to kick in college. It was cool that I knew the stadium and had to kick there a few times before I came here so that was a little bit of a helpful experience.”
Fans like to try and mess up the kicker from behind the goal posts. Does that work?
“It doesn’t affect me that much. I’m pretty good at this point at tuning that stuff out. So, I try to stay in my zone and not worry about all that stuff.”