By: Bryce Fields
Let’s all state the obvious – this NFL season has been a weird one. Already this season the Superbowl contender Vikings lost to the dismal Bills, who then beat reigning champs in the Eagles this week, dropping them below .500 on the season. Not to mention, the Browns have already won 2 games, tying another, and in general there have already been two games tied at the end of the matchup after only having 5 up until this point since 2012. You can’t touch the quarterback (sorry Clay Mathews, we know you are trying your best) and even Tom Brady has struggled. Obviously, nothing is going as planned this year in the National Football League.
Going along with that same theme, Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby experienced an odd day this past Sunday. And by odd, I mean absolutely awful. Crosby, a 12-year veteran in Green Bay who is the franchise’s all-time scoring leader by hitting over 80% of his field goals and 98% of his extra points. Mason Crosby is an incredible kicker, but that is not the Crosby we saw on Sunday.
Instead, Crosby had the worst outing of his NFL career. I won’t say that Crosby single-handedly lost the contest vs the Lions for the Packers, but let’s look at the numbers: Green Bay dropped the divisional matchup 31-23 (by 8 points, for those who aren’t great with math) and Crosby missed four (4) field goals, along with an extra point, in the game. That means Crosby left 13 points on the board that his right foot usually gets. If my math is correct, then by even getting most of those points, and the outcome of this game could be very, very different.
Okay, I really do not want to hate on Crosby very much. Just as he said in an interview with ESPN, this was definitely ananomaly in his NFL career that has proved for him to be one of the best kickers in the game. We aren’t that far removed from the fantasy football commercial where a locked-up participant finally took Mason Crosby in his draft, and Crosby will go on to be one of the better kickers in the league. But still, oh my goodness, this was a rough outing for the potential Hall of Fame kicker.
The biggest story here is NFL kicking in general, and how what once seemed a fantastic job who got the change to be heroes at the end of games no longer seems like that great of a gig. For example, just look at some of the kicking blunders that happened in week 5 of the NFL: Steelers kick Chris Boswell missed his third extra point of the season, tying his total missed in Pittsburgh over the past three seasons. Even worse, Chargers kicked missed his third extra point in the past two games this season. Rams kicker Cairo Santos almost cost the team their perfect season up until this point by missing an extra point and putting the Rams down 31-30, but redeemed himself by hitting the game-winning field goal later on. Then of course, there were Crosby’s struggles.
I’d like to apologize to Mason Crosby in advance for my rant about his struggles this week, but it was just a highlighting example how being an NFL kicker just does not look as glamorous as it use to when kicking legends Adam Vinatieri and Justin Tucker use to make it – wait, they missed field goals this week too? Oh boy, what a tough week for NFL kickers.