Sailing the Seas of Cheese: Perfection Where You Least Expect It
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we catch excellence.
If you were to walk up to me and declare that Aaron Rodgers is the closest thing to perfect when it comes to Packers football, chances are I wouldn’t argue with you. I mean, seriously, Brett Who? Rodgers’ career QB rating is something north of stellar at 111ish. He can thread the proverbial needle and get blood from a stone when it comes to playmaking. But hold it right there, Scooter. I’m going to argue with you after all. He isn’t the most perfect player on the team this year.
Mason Crosby is.
Yes, that’s what I said. Sounds absolutely insane, doesn’t it? After all, this is the kicker everyone loved to hate, or at least marginally tolerate up until this season. Prior to this year, his success rate of field goal attempts was a not-so-stellar 78% (and a previously abysmal 67% success rate when the attempt was from 40 yards or more) which, if you were offering grades is a pretty solid C. But in the ranks of the NFL such a success rate consistently puts you in the bottom 25th percentile of all place kickers. Yeah, that’s pretty much an F minus, minus in any book. It’s a stat that makes you one of the last kids picked in
kickball fantasy football.
I won’t rehash all of the statistics. The fabulous Jersey Al Bracco has written extensively on Crosby’s previous ventures in mediocrity and summarizes the stats from Crosby’s first four seasons over at his blog. And I don’t doubt that games like the 2010 match-up against the Washington Redskins didn’t earn Crosby any new fans. Had he not missed those two field goal attempts, the game wouldn’t have gone to overtime. Had it not gone to overtime, would Aaron Rodgers have sustained a concussion. If he didn’t have that first concussion, would they be playing behind the Eight Ball come the end of the season. Had they not been behind that Eight Ball, would they have not played with such a sense of urgency would they have been so white hot heading into the playoffs?
Fortunately, the Butterfly Effect does not apply to professional football. The last time Mason Crosby missed a field goal attempt was in Week 13 of 2010 when the ball smacked off the goal post with a 29 yard attempt against the San Francisco 49ers. For the record, had he not made the one field goal he kicked in the Super Bowl, a Steeler’s field goal would have sent that game into overtime with time running out in the fourth quarter. Talk about a Cardiac Pack pucker factor I’m glad we never had to deal with.
Since that December Throwback game, Mason Crosby has been absolutely perfect. Twenty-one attempts, twenty-one successful field goals. No blocks, no muffed extra points. He is literally batting a thousand. He is only one of five place kickers that are currently perfect on the season. Both he and Jacksonville’s Josh Scobee are 14/14 for the season. The others have attempted less. Considering his perfect streak dates back to the last quarter of of the 2010 season–including the playoffs–Crosby truly is in a class of his own.
People shook their head when Ted Thompson extended Crosby a five-year $14.75 Million contract extention this past July. Not a bad chunk of change considering this deal ranks up there with the grand old man Sebastian Janikowski’s contract. But once again Thompson proved the doubters wrong. Not only has Crosby proven thus far this season his Achilles Heel is not found around the 40 yard mark, he’s shattered records with that 58 yard beauty of a kick this past week. The best thing about that kick? He would’ve made it even if it had been a 65 yard attempt.
Too bad I’ll never see this type of perfection at work. I’m incredibly superstitious when it comes to football (Hey, Rodgers, you can thank us later for that solid we did you by voting for Hillis. Look who now has the
Cheese Touch Madden Curse. You’re welcome.) Because of that magical thinking superstition I have, I will never see Crosby attempt a field goal. When he’s setting up his shot, I’m covering my eyes. Last time I saw a field goal was the Chris Jacke game winner as time expired against the 49ers back in 1996. With this current hot streak, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to jinx it by watching his handiwork any time soon.
Yesterday I sent my question to Jason Wilde for #AskAaron Tuesday. At the time I didn’t know the answer. I asked, With all the talk about the 2010 Packer team being all about quality and character, what does the 2011 version have that makes it superior to the 2010 team?
Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, so I’m not even sure Wilde even asked the question. I guess it doesn’t matter because I already know the answer:
A perfect Mason Crosby.