Normally, this would be a “who was the special teams player of the year?” award, but it felt insulting to everyone to try to build any drama out of that when the choice was unanimous. Instead, we pulled the gang together to discuss why Younghoe Koo is the obvious choice this year, and why his season was so remarkable.
I say that, but one person had to be different. Read on and then share your thoughts on Koo’s season.
He masked the offense’s problems and had a historic year
The Falcons scored 396 points in 2020. Younghoe Koo was personally responsible for 144 of those points, a year after he and Matt Bryant were responsible for 143 of Atlanta’s 381. Under Steve Sarkisian in 2018, Atlanta scored 414 and Bryant and Giorgio Tavecchio accounted for 116. In 2016, Bryant banked 158 points in year where Atlanta scored 540.
Where am I going with this? Koo’s year was like Bryant’s in 2017, when the veteran knocked home 137 of the team’s 353 points: One of the few things separating Atlanta from humiliation. Teams are not supposed to need kickers to come through for them relentlessly because they are crummy in the red zone, but the Falcons needed Koo over and over again just to stay in games. He outscored the offense against Carolina (twice), comprised the team’s entire body of scoring the first time out against New Orleans, and kept them in a half dozen games with his leg alone. Koo was asked, over and over again, to get Atlanta some points when the offense stalled out, and with his hyper-reliable leg he did so and had one of the great seasons in Falcons history.
I have no doubt he’ll be great again next year, but man, I hope the Falcons don’t have to rely so heavily on him in 2021. - Dave Choate
No love for the long snapper?
Look, Younghoe Koo was good and all. He scored those 144 points and was as money as ... well, Money Matt. I mean, Koo wouldn’t have been able to score all those points were it not for the gross red zone incompetence from Dirk Koetter. So if you’re going to nominate Koo, you may as well include Dirk and I’m not ready to recognize him for anything. Plus, long-snappers get no love in the NFL.
In all seriousness, Koo was incredible this year and his snub from the All-Pro team was an undeserved slap in the face. Even better, at just 26 years old he could have a long and fruitful career in front of him. Let’s hope our next coaching staff doesn’t need him to be this good yet again. - David Walker
Moving on from Money
How can you not be thrilled that the Falcons finally found a really good Matt Bryant replacement? The Money Man is a franchise legend, and his shoe was always going to be hard to fill. Finding a good kicker in the NFL is something to always be grateful for, but a Pro Bowl-caliber one?
Younghoe Koo had a stellar year for the Falcons, and it’s incumbent for the new regime to link him into a good contract as soon as they get here. Regardless of how Atlanta does this fall under [insert head coaching hire], they’re bound to be in some close games and need some help from the field goal unit if the red zone offense takes time to coalesce. The fact that the 26-year-old Koo, a Georgia Southern alum, returned to the state and forged a career here is beyond awesome. His 2020 is more than enough to land him on this list and should make him a top priority for this new iteration of the Falcons - Cory Woodroof
Are you looking for a player that has everything? Well, this is your man. He is: (1) really good at his job; (2) has an awesome name. This allows bloggers to both praise him while throwing in some pretty Koo puns. How amazing. More importantly, Koo many have been the only thing to go right with the Falcons on the field and more generally across the rest of the world in 2020. Let’s keep him in Atlanta for a long time. - Matt Chambers