Mason Crosby has been the whipping boy by Packers fans the last few years.
People have been eager to paint him as the goat for missing the 52-yarder at the Metrodome in 2008 or the 52-and 51-yard field goals at Indianapolis in 2012.
But despite getting the Monday Morning Quarterback treatment every time he misses a field goal, Crosby had the best season of his seven-year career last year. He made over 89 percent of his field goals, including 5 for 7 from 50 yards or more, and he was perfect from extra points for the second straight year.
And now, Crosby is on the cusp of greatness. He is only 151 points from tying Ryan Longwell as the Packers career scoring leader. Crosby, who turns 30 on Sept. 3, is under contract until 2015, so there’s plenty of time for the record to fall.
However, I doubt that even a Packers career scoring record will sway the minds of the Packers faithful that wanted him gone two years ago.
Kicking is one of the most fickle jobs in sports. They don’t help the offense move the ball down the field. They don’t wrap anybody up on defense. They are only called on when an offensive drive fails or to be the end-of-game savior.
And when their foot fails them, things get ugly for them. Yet, running backs and wide receivers fail at some point in the game but they usually don’t receive the same amount of criticism when a kicker pushes an attempt as time expires.
Crosby’s 141 points he scored last year and in his rookie year of 2007 are the highest Packers scoring totals in a season by a player that was only a kicker. And believe it or not, Crosby owns the most field goals at a distance of 50 yards or more with 19. That’s two more than Chris Jacke and six more than Ryan Longwell.
When Crosby signed the five-year $14.75 million contract back in July of 2011, I was one of those that was a little surprised. But then that season he connected on 85.7 percent of his kicks (24 for 28) including a 58-yard boot at Minnesota.
After that season I was sold. I understand that he is only a 2012 season away from another Sahara dry patch. But I also know that Crosby has what it takes to put aside his ego and compete.
Remember, the Packers brought in guys like Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez to push Crosby last August. And when he had to perform, Crosby nailed all 14 of his field goal attempts to send Ramirez packing and keep the job.
On an offense that has the NFL’s best quarterback, one of the league’s best running backs and a couple of receivers that might be the best pass-catching tandem in the league, Crosby is often overlooked. However, he should be looked at as another weapon.
Remember, kickers have a much longer average shelf life than other NFL players. Barring a crazy injury, which includes a torn ACL of Bill Gramatica proportions, Crosby should be able to perform for another five years.
And after all that, you still find the need to make Crosby your whipping boy, take a look at the entire picture. Why is the game coming down to a kick in the first place?
In the next two years, Crosby will become the best scorer in Packers history. Better than Don Hutson, better than Paul Hornung and better than Jim Taylor. It’s about time to start realizing how good Crosby really is and stop magnifying only his faults.