Mason Crosby Earning Paycheck, Proving Doubters Wrong All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Kicker Mason Crosby celebrates with teammates after nailing a 56-yard FG in Atlanta.

When Green Bay Packers placekicker Mason Crosby signed a new 5-year contract with the team back at the end of July, it came with some trepidation on the part of fans. Many people questioned the value of his brand new raise, while some criticized the re-signing all together. Throughout the first five games of the season, however, Crosby has performed to near perfection.

With Sunday night’s game against Atlanta in the books, Mason Crosby is now 9-for-9 on the year in field goal attempts and 20-for-20 in extra points, giving him a total of 47 points scored. For some comparison, he was only 7-for-10 in field goals after five games last year, and he is currently on par to break his personal best 141 points scored in his 2007 rookie season.

Crosby’s 56-yard field goal also ties his (and the franchise) record for longest completion, going back to the 2010 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Packers kicker has been under some intense scrutiny the past few years, though. Our own “Jersey” Al Bracco has written on this topic numerous times, but his most recent post – made just after Crosby signed his new contract – really broke through the misconceptions about his abilities.

In short, the numbers proved he has been an average kicker at best.

With such a strong start to his season, could we finally be seeing the Mason Crosby we’ve wanted and waited for? Yes, there are many more games to be played and plenty of field goals to be attempted in the coming weeks; still, it’s hard not to get excited.

Crosby owes part of his success to the offense being able to get close to the endzone.

Of his nine field goal attempts, two have been less than 30 yards, six have been between 30 and 40 yards, and only one has been from more than 50 yards out. In addition to this, he wasn’t even called on to attempt a field goal in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints or in Week 4 against the Denver Broncos.

Finally, I would be remiss to leave out the job Mason Crosby has done on kickoffs.

While I don’t have a lot of stats to present, his game against the Falcons on Sunday made it perfectly clear that he can kick the ball out of the endzone with consistency (at least in a dome). Only once out of seven times were the Falcons able to return the ball on a kickoff. And in previous games, Crosby has shown a nice ability to put the ball far to one side of the endzone and force touchbacks that way.

Against the Broncos, he also showcased his perfection of the onside kick. While Crosby made a few of those last season, it’s clear the Packers have faith in his ability to make the play at any moment.

As I said before, there is a lot of season left ahead of Mason Crosby, but so far we can’t ask for much better. He is clearly earning every penny of his new contract, and if he keeps up this rate of success, he will put many doubts to rest.


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


16 thoughts on “Mason Crosby Earning Paycheck, Proving Doubters Wrong

  1. I love the way he’s played so far, but I’m just not sold yet. I don’t think I’ll even be sold if he has a really good season.

    The way I see it, he needs to at least perform out a few years of his contract to make up for all games he could have won us.

    Mason has really been just that bad for four years in my opinion.

    1. In Crosby’s defense (did I just say that?), he did finish out last season very well. If he finishes this year over 80%, I’ll be happy. The real test will be when he’s asked to win a game. Of course with the Packer’s offense, that probably won’t happen much.

      1. I know you’re referring to the clutch kick at the end of a game (and I totally agree), but I think Crosby came close to being asked to “win a game” against the Falcons. He put up practically half the points in FGs alone, and his 56-yarder was a huge score that helped drive the momentum for the Packers.

        Really, without any of those first three FGs, the TD to James Jones wouldn’t have been a “go-ahead” score. And his last FG was what made it a 2-possession game.

        Though to reiterate, I agree and would also like to see him make a big kick under pressure for the win.

  2. I don’t know if Crosby changed his kicking style or what, but the flight of the ball has changed compared to the previous four years. Nearly every kick is end-over-end and straight. In the past Crosby would often have a severe hook (even xtra points). Maybe he’s taking a little off his kicks to keep them straight.

    Needless to say I’ve been very pleased (and surprised) with the way he’s kicked this year. If he continues kicking this way I would actually feel confident in him trying a game winning field-goal from 40 and out. Couldn’t say that last year.

    1. I’ll have to check on that, but it’s sure possible. Straight end-over-end indicates you’ve undercut the ball (hit it at a lower point). Strike the ball higher and you’re more likely to hit it further and harder, but it will tend to swerve. (Applying soccer principles here…)

  3. Count me as one of the doubters. It’s hard to change after viewing his continual failure to convert pressure kicks in prior years. I still have that doubt. None of his kicks this year were win/lose kicks. I’ll reserve judgement till that time.

    I will say, every kick this year was straight down the middle. No famous push to the right efforts yet. Keep up the good work!

  4. Guys, I’m from Australia and although I have followed the Packers since I was a little kid (I’m 42 now) I have never really gotten seriously into them over the last few years. Congrats Al on a great site by the way, I like that nobody gets flamed out like on CheeseheadTV especially. Its a great forum for discussion.

    My in depth theoretical knowledge of the game is getting better but I feel I can comment on place kicking as we have it in our football here too.

    Ideally, you want a little bit of what we call hook and you know as draw in your kick. Just like in golf, it gives you a little extra distance and is much more controllable than a fade or slice as we call it.

    Anyway, my question is this: Why would the plan for all kickoffs be to put the ball into one of the corners assuming no touchbacks? In my albeit limited knowledge, wouldn’t it be easier to send the gunners down one sideline thereby cutting off angles for the returner? There must be a reason for sending the ball down the middle, but I just can’t see it… Can someone help me out???


    1. Norm,

      First of all, thanks for the kind words. You hit on one of my key points, intelligent discussion with respect for other’s opinions. Of course, that might make us “boring” to a large number of people, but I don’t care.

      As for your kickoff question, the tactic of kicking to the sidelines is used in punts, but not so much in kickoffs, because if a kickoff goes out of bounds, it means instant great field position for the other team. There’s also less chance you kick it out of the end zone, because the ball has to travel farther to cover the diagonal distance as opposed to straight line distance (if I remember my geometry). Slocum actually tried it a bit last year and it didn’t really worked. i think it actually results in more kickoffs being returned. It might make sense for a weak-legged kicker, but if your kicker is capable of hitting it out of the end zone, let him try.

      excellent question.

  5. Well I had mentioned this before in an article or two about Mason Crosby. While he is nowhere near being an elite kicker (or even a “great” one) I’ve never thought of him as being miserable (I’m sure a few of you can attest to that).

    There’s a reason why the coaches like him, and I highly doubt it has to do with comfort level (look at the punter position to see what they’re willing to do to turn over specialty positions for a small upgrade).

    I made the point that the vast majority of the kickers that we know today to be the best kickers in the league had very crappy looking statistics their first four years in the league. This is especially the case with specialized positions like punters and kickers.

    First four year kicking statistics:

    Jay Feely: 76.775
    Crosby: 78.125
    Graham: 80.575
    Bironas: 83.875

  6. Vinatieri had an 80% rate his first four years. Neil Rackers: 67%

    Just as a couple more examples of what we consider to be pretty good kickers today.

    I have to add I have no idea what coaches see in Crosby, since I don’t know much about the mechanics of it specifically, but obviously it is something.

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