Mat McBriar

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Mat McBriar
Mat McBriar 2007.jpg
McBriar in 2007.
No. --     Free agent
Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1979-07-08) 8 July 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth: Melbourne, Australia
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
College: Hawaii
Undrafted in 2003
Debuted in 2004 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2013
Punts 589
Punt yards 26,581
Average punt 45.1
Stats at NFL.com

Mat McBriar (born 8 July 1979) is an Australian born player of American football who is currently a free agent. McBriar played college football for the University of Hawaii. He was signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2003, and he played for the Cowboys for eight seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, and the Pittsburgh Steelers for part of the 2013 season.

Early years[edit]

McBriar began as an Australian rules football player, playing for Brighton Grammar School and Deakin University (he attended three semesters). At one stage, he entered a junior superkick competition, finishing 3rd overall.

Unlike others such as Darren Bennett who earlier played in the NFL, McBriar was not a standout athlete in Australia. After performing well at an NFL-sponsored kicking competition in Waverley Park, however, Bennett helped him receive a football scholarship with the University of Hawaii.[1] There he recorded the Warriors' all-time, single-game record with a 53.8 yards/attempt average against Tulane University on 25 December 2002. After 3 years, he had the second-best career punting average for the Warriors with 42.22 yards per punt behind Jason Elam. As a junior he made the second team All-WAC after averaging 43.4 yards per punt, and earned All-WAC honors as a senior, after averaging 44.8 yards per punt.

In January 2003, McBriar was the first-ever Australian player to be selected to play in the Hula Bowl Maui, as punter for the Kai (North) team.

Professional career[edit]

Denver Broncos[edit]

On 28 April 2003, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos and had six punts for a 41.5-yard average in the preseason.

Seattle Seahawks[edit]

McBriar was traded from the Broncos to the Seattle Seahawks on 22 August 2003 for a conditional draft choice. He averaged 44.8 yards on five punts in his only preseason game with the Seahawks. Shortly thereafter, the team waived him on 31 August 2003.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

On 26 December 2003, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their practice squad, becoming the second Australian to play for the team, after punter/kicker Colin Ridgway. In 2004 he became the team starter at punter.

In 2006, McBriar made headlines with a 75-yard punt which made the record books as the second longest in Cowboys' history.[2] Also in 2006, he has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice for his outstanding punting ability.

In December 2006 season, McBriar was only the second ever Australian player to be selected in the Pro Bowl, as punter for the NFC team.[3] His league leading 48.2 yards-per-punt average in the 2006 season broke Sam Baker's team record of 45.4 yards per punt, made him the first player to average over 48 yards per punt since 1963 and tied him for fifth best in NFL history. He was the Cowboys' first Pro Bowl punter since 1971.

On 28 February 2007, the Cowboys extended McBriar's contract to a 5-year, $8.5-million contract. He also received a $2.5-million signing bonus. This contract made McBriar the highest-paid punter in the league. That season he narrowly missed a Pro Bowl selection, after being chosen as a reserve for the NFC team.

On 12 October 2008, McBriar sustained a season-ending fracture in his kicking foot, after he suffered his first career blocked punt, which was also returned for the game-winning touchdown on the final play of an overtime loss against the Arizona Cardinals. Before the injury he was averaging 49 yards per punt and had a 38.8 net punting average.[4][5]

In 2009 he had a team record 38 punts downed inside the red zone ranking third in the NFL, and sixth all-time in a single season in league history. With the injury of Brad Johnson in 2009, McBriar took up holding duties for the Cowboys on field goals and extra point attempts. However, after several missed field goals, holding duties were handed over to Tony Romo in game 13 versus the San Diego Chargers.[6] McBriar resumed his role as the team's holder during the 2010 season, in which he also was named to his second Pro Bowl, after leading the NFL in both gross punting average (47.9 yards) and net average (41.7). He also had 22 punts downed inside the red zone, with eight touchbacks.

In 2011 he was bothered during the season by a nerve issue that affected his left foot, so he was placed on the injured reserve before the final game. He finished the year with a 43.8 gross average and a 36.1 net average per punt. His contract was not renewed after the season, leaving as the franchise leader in net average (38.1), gross average (45.3) and punts inside the 20-yard line (175).[7]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

On 25 July 2012, McBriar signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he battled Chas Henry for the starting position. McBriar was released by the Eagles on 29 August; however, he was re-signed 25 September to replace Henry as the team's punter.[8] McBriar was released by the Eagles on 25 March 2013 making him a free agent.

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

McBriar punting with Pittsburgh

On 29 October 2013, McBriar was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers to replace the inefficient Zoltán Meskó. He played in 9 games and averaged 41.3 yards per punt. His contract was not renewed after the season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Alex (2004-09-08). "McBriar starts NFL journey against man who made him". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Philip, By (2006-12-21). "Punt on gridiron pays off | thetelegraph.com.au". News.com.au. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ Anatomy of a play - The blocked punt
  6. ^ "Dallas Cowboys' Romo to resume role as holder | Dallas Cowboys News - Sports News for Dallas, Texas - SportsDayDFW". Dallasnews.com. 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  7. ^ Archer, Todd. "Mat McBriar joins Eagles". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  8. ^ Wulf, Bo (2012-09-25). "McBriar Returns As Punter; LS Added". Philadelphia Eagles. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 

External links[edit]