IF YOU'VE BEEN following the flight of field goals in the NFL this season, you can reach only one logical conclusion: Either the ball is juiced or the kickers are juiced.
Kickers today are more accurate, with more distance, than ever.
I've heard many explanations - better training regimens, better playing conditions, more turf fields, more domes, the wonders of mile-high Denver. But, hey, it's one thing to be kicking at altitude, it's another thing to be making field goals from Mars.
I saw Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein make a 58-yarder against Seattle like he was picking up a quart of milk from 7-Eleven; maybe he's using Mark McGwire's old kicking shoe.
Best I can tell, most NFL kickers this year once rode on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team with Lance Armstrong and company.
Less than halfway through the 2012 season, look at this kicking rap sheet:
And - with apologies to Ravens and Redskins fans, many of whom are still having intermittent Billy Cundiff nightmares - have I mentioned that hardly anyone misses field goal attempts from anywhere anymore?
Some fella named Ryan Succop was six-for-six in the Chiefs' 27-24 overtime victory over the Saints.
Alex Henery - an individual nobody reading this column at this moment has ever heard of - is 35 for 39 in his season-and-a-half with the Eagles.
Connor Barth - who, at this time last year, I believe, was assistant professor for Germanic studies at Shippensburg (Pa.) University - recently had a string of 25 successful field-goal attempts ended with the Buccaneers.
Mike Vanderjagt holds the NFL record for most consecutive field-goal attempts made, at 42.
One day some guy will hit 75 straight and "SportsCenter" will yawn.
Playing from 1946 to 1967 with the Cleveland Browns, Hall of Fame kicker Lou "The Toe" Groza made 54.9 percent of his field-goal attempts. Nowadays, 77 percent doesn't even get you into the top 50 all-time for accuracy.