Raiders punter Shane Lechler is an All-Pro, a Pro Bowler and the NFL record holder for career average. Today, he intends to add another line to his resume in the game against the Dallas Cowboys: hitting the Cowboys Stadium scoreboard.
"Oh, I will," Lechler said of his intention to aim for the 160-foot-by-90-foot structure suspended 90 feet above the field. "Pregame, for sure. If that guy in Tennessee hit it, I can hit it."
Tennessee Titans punter A.J. Trapasso showed everyone that it was possible by nailing the scoreboard in an Aug."21 exhibition game, the stadium's grand opening. That set off a wave of studies, reviews and hand-wringing over what to do if it happened in a regular-season game.
"It's an issue, yeah," said Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who serves as co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee. "Something has to get worked out. It can become a problem."
Fisher was forced to throw a challenge flag because the officials didn't see the ball hit the scoreboard, and the down was replayed. The league ultimately ruled that the scoreboard was built within the prescribed specifications and doesn't need to be raised.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones disagreed with calls to raise the scoreboard.
"You don't need to move it," he said at the time. "You got to be trying to (hit) it. The rule is very clear. You just kick it over."
No punter has hit the scoreboard in the five regular-season games played at Cowboys Stadium, and Cowboys coach Wade Phillips doesn't expect it to happen.
"Oh, I don't think he's going to hit it if he kicks it," Phillips said of Lechler in a conference call this week. "Nobody's even come close, except the guy that kicked it straight up in preseason to try to hit it. Shane doesn't kick 'em straight up."
If Lechler doesn't hit the scoreboard today, it won't be for lack of trying. He said he's going to try to do so before the game but not during it.
Raiders coach Tom Cable said he won't ask Lechler to adjust his punting style.
"Nah, you just got to let him kick," Cable said.
"My wife was not too happy about that," Ellis said, laughing. "It was like, 'We leave Dallas, and you're still going to miss Thanksgiving with us.'""
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services and Associated Press contributed to this story.