SPORTS

Meet the hosts behind the ‘Special Forces Gang’ podcast

Oct 26, 2018, 2:40 PM | Updated: 3:55 pm
Special Forces Gang...
Punter, Tom Hackett and kicker, Andy Phillips after practice Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at the University of Utah.

The ‘Special Forces Gang’ podcast is the best source for behind the scenes information into University of Utah Football, provided by hosts, former Utes, Tom Hackett and Andy Phillips.

Tom and Andy talk life, sports and share stories from inside the program, as well as, bring you exclusive interviews with players, past and present.

Andy and Tom bring a lot to the table with their unique journey through life and professional sports. Whether you are into sports or just like the sound of Tom’s accent, this is the podcast for you.

Meet Andy Phillips

Andy Phillips is a former University of Utah Ute kicker who played all four years of college and is a Utah native. He competed on the U.S. Ski Team as an alpine racer from 2007-2011 before redshirting for the Utes in 2012.

During his 2013 year as a Ute, Phillips made every field goal in the first six games, going 11-11, tying the fourth-longest streak in University of Utah history.

In the 2014 season, Phillips performed 75 of Utah’s 77 kickoffs with 39 touchbacks and a 61.9-yard average, as well as, led the Pac-12 with 23 field goals, finishing 82.1% on field goals and 97.8% on extra points and being named first-team All-Pac-12.

Phillips signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent on May 11, 2017, and waived on August 7, 2017, and is currently an NFL free agent.

Meet Tom Hackett

Tom Hackett is also a former University of Utah punter who played all four years of college but is originally from Melbourne, Australia. Hackett played Australian rules football Scotch College before playing the last nine games of the 2012 season as a Ute, being named the Pac-12 Player of the Week in his first American football game.

In 2013 he led the Pac-12 in punt yards in five different categories including in punt yards, average, punts inside the 20, 50+ yard punts and long punt, which landed him a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12.

Hackett led the nation in punts inside the 10 and punts inside the 20, with a 46.7 punt average in 2014, which was the second all-time in a season at Utah.

Hackett was awarded the Ray Gay Award as the nation’s top punter in 2014 and 2015 and was eventually signed by the New York Jets in May of 2016 and was waived in July 16 and is currently an NFL free agent.

Why ‘Special Forces Gang’?

The words “special forces” and “gang” aren’t typically used to describe two close friends, who just happen to be former NFL and Utes players but that’s exactly what Special Forces Gang is, according to host and former Utes kicker Andy Phillps.

“For those of you who follow Utah football closely, you’ll know that each position group comes up with some sort of name for their group. The o-line is o-block, safety pride — that’s the name of the safeties, the wide receivers used to be the air force gang,”  Phillips said.

So, when it came time to decide what the specialists on the team were going to call themselves, it came pretty easily.

“We decided as specialists, we needed our own name, why wouldn’t the most important position group, on the entire football team have their own name?” Phillips says. “So, SFG was born, the Special Forces Gang and it really turned things around for us.”

“In fact, we took our game to a whole other level once SFG was introduced into our lives,” former Utes punter Tom Hackett added.

Aside from the on-the-field benefits that SFG garnered, the specialists also decided to pull inspiration from the real special forces.

“Game taken to the next level, just as you would expect from somebody in the special forces. You’re talking about covert ops, beards were grown, mustaches got a little bit more thickness in them,” Phillips jokingly says.

Reach out to the guys

Contact us by email at SFG@ksl.com or by Twitter @SFGKSL, @TomCantHackett, @AndyDPhillips and make sure to tag the gang on social media #PuntersArePeopleToo #SFG #GoUtes and feel free to download and subscribe to the Special Forces Gang podcast.

To hear the latest episode from the podcast, click play below!

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Meet the hosts behind the ‘Special Forces Gang’ podcast