Things went from bad to worse for Dallas kicker Brett Maher during his first field goal attempt against San Francisco on Sunday.
After missing four field goals the week prior against Tampa Bay — setting an NFL record — Maher’s first attempt against the 49ers was low and blocked by Samson Ebukam.
While Maher likely didn’t feel good about the play, the governor of Texas appeared to virtually kick him while he was down.
“I swear, I can kick as good as the Dallas Cowboys kicker,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Tweet just before 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Abbott has used a wheelchair since he was 26 years old when a tree fell on him when he was jogging.
The Tweet has since gone viral, garnering more than 17 million views, 18,000 retweets and 120,000 likes about 12 hours later.
I swear, I can kick as good as the Dallas Cowboys kicker.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 23, 2023
The post seemed to have stunned both his supporters and opponents, with many questioning if the Tweet was legitimate.
“Had to check 10 times that this was a real account,” Tweeted Bobby Belt, a sports producer.
The Tweet was sent from Abbott’s personal account @GregAbbott_TX. The Twitter account @GovAbbott is the official feed of the Office of Texas Governor.
Many people thought the Tweet was funny and honest.
“We don’t usually agree with our Governor…but tonight, we do,” the Libertarian Party of El Paso County Texas posted,” while others said “Niiiice!!! You’re my hero, sir!” and “Tweet of the day!”
Others criticized the post, saying Abbott himself has missed some big political kicks in his career.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a politician slam his own state’s team while a playoff game is still going on. Of course Abbott is an unprecedented jerk, so maybe it’s good politics,” one person Tweeted.
Others said, ”You can’t even kick on the light switch for us in winter” and “I swear the Dallas Cowboys kicker would not dump underdressed families in subfreezing weather without resources.”
I swear the Dallas Cowboys kicker would not dump underdressed families in subfreezing weather without resources.— David O'Donnell (@odonnell99) January 23, 2023
Why would you trash the Dallas Cowboys, a team from your state for God’s sake! Pretty nasty.— SassyForSure 🇺🇸🗽🌻 (@aGoldenOldy) January 23, 2023
But he wasn’t the only Texas official publicly expressing criticism for the kicker on Sunday.
“Attention @dallascowboys: This is your MAYOR speaking. NO MORE KICKING! #CowboyNation,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson Tweeted. “You can support your kicker and feel for him without thinking it’s a good idea to rely on his leg in this game. It’s not personal. It’s football. I think Maher has been great for us, but we should be going for 2 and going for it on 4th and short from here on out today.”
Johnson Tweeted that even if the football wasn’t blocked, it likely would not have made it through the goalposts.
Attention @dallascowboys: This is your MAYOR speaking. NO MORE KICKING! #CowboyNation— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) January 23, 2023
Luckily, for Maher and Cowboys Nation, he fared better on his later attempts.
He made his first field-goal attempt in the third quarter when he converted a 25-yarder and then added a 43-yarder in the fourth quarter.
These were his first — and last — successful field goals of the postseason, as the Cowboys lost 19-12 to the 49ers.