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Marquette King: Making punting cool again (or, for the first time?)

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The Denver Broncos have one of the best punters in the NFL in Marquette King and also the flashiest.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when we hated Marquette King because he taunted us with a “bucking bronco” celebration dance after a coffin corner punt inside our 5-yard line?

And then remember two years later when we loved him because his badass self became a Bronco?

Yeah, me too.

Name: Marquette King
Position: P
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 195
Age: 29
Experience: 7
College: Fort Valley State

King reminds me of Aqib Talib - both in attitude and fan reaction.

Both are players who will be themselves in front of the camera and away from it - and they really could not care less whether we approve. But both have big talent to back up their big mouths, and so you only hate them when they’re your opponent.

Welcome to the team, Marquette. We love you now.

And there is a lot to love.

The Good

Having gone undrafted in 2012 but signed weeks later by the Raiders, King spent his rookie year on Injured Reserve.

But after winning the job for the Raiders in 2013, King led the NFL in gross yards per punt (48.9). The following season he led the league in total punting yards (4,930) and total punts (109), both of which were single-season records for the Raiders.

More impressive than his average punt distance or even his longest ever punt (72 yards) though, is perhaps King’s ability to use the punt to his team’s advantage - pinning it inside the five when he needs to and booting it long when he’s supposed to. His precision punts mixed with big-leg kicks have earned King AFC Special Teams Player of the Week two times in his career, once in 2015 and again in 2016. Both those years mark seasons King kicked his longest punts - 70 and 72 yards respectively.

And King has also done the near impossible - he made punting cool. Not only did the Macon, Ga., native combine athleticism and precision in punting, he basically turned the punt into an exciting defensive play. He even has his own version of a “sack” with a celebratory dance after a game-changing kick.

And who on the Broncos would argue with him? When your offense can’t move far enough down the field to get a field goal, what better way to give a spark to the defense than a punt that pins the opponent deep in its own territory?

Hopefully the Broncos don’t have near the need for King’s skill as in recent years because hopefully the new offense under Case Keenum spends more time getting points than requiring punts. But it will still feel good having King at the ready to pull the offense out of trouble when necessary.

The Bad

The downside to King’s ‘tude on the field is that he has been known for costly penalties - usually for the team but on occasion even for himself, including an $18,000 fine for a horse-collar tackle (and a touchdown-saving play).

Few Broncos fans will forget King’s taunting penalty last season when his fake punt that ended in a loss of three yards made him mad enough to throw the football at Andy Janovich’s helmet for an unsportsmanlike conduct call.

But that wouldn’t have been quite so funny to Denver fans if the memory of the aforementioned “bucking bronco” dance still wasn’t a stinging reminder of his talent.

The good news is that now King is a bucking Denver Bronco and that dance will be for taunting others.

In fact, King has already put it to good use, doing the dance in front of the Raiders’ training facility last Friday while in Oakland:

Quotable

If you’re into social media, you already know that King loves to do a lot of talking on there - and he doesn’t really care if he offends you. A great Sidelines feature last year pointed out that King is a bit of an oddball - and that’s just as well with him.

The 28-year-old from Macon, Georgia, operates as if he doesn’t have a care in the world. And when you break it down, why would he? He’s one of the best in the world at his profession. He owns a multi-bedroom home atop a hill in Arizona, with an unobstructed balcony view of downtown Phoenix, because he likes the area’s “vibe” and because “nobody would’ve expected me to be out here.” And when he’s not driving his year-old Cadillac Escalade, he can walk anonymously down the street without fear of being mobbed by fans.

”The funny thing about it, I forget that I even got money,” says King, who owns numerous superhero outfits but barely any furniture. “I mean, I look at it like, as long as I’ve got enough to get food and to cover my head, I’m chilling.”

But while he tries to live his life care-free, he doesn’t go about things carelessly. When presented with a chocolate milkshake as the next prop to launch during the punting shoot, the normally joyous and down-for-anything King tightens up, concerned that a dog playing in the park later that day could get sick from accidentally consuming the chocolate residue.

These brief moments of normalcy and charity rarely appear on his Twitter or Instagram handles. King says he prefers to keep the altruistic things he does “low key” (last year, for example, he spent a Monday bundling groceries together and distributing them to homeless people in Oakland) because he feels like good deeds don’t require special recognition. Instead, King opts to share pictures of himself dressed as the Green Power Ranger or as the protagonist from “Assassin’s Creed.”

But now that King is OUR punter, his social media bravado, er swagger - much like his on-field antics - is kind of endearing.

So rather than quoting him, I’ll just a leave a few gems for you to enjoy:

2018 Status

Umm, duuuuuuhhhhh. Starter.

Let’s make that “kickass starter” actually.

Poll

We know Marquette King is on the team, so here’s a more important question - does King or Von Miller have more swagger in his celebration dances?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Marquette is great, but Von is still the "king."
    (651 votes)
  • 14%
    I think Marquette could challenge Von for this title.
    (149 votes)
  • 21%
    No wonder the Broncos traded Aqib Talib - no team could have that many "swagger" players together!
    (213 votes)
1013 votes total Vote Now