Stephen Gostkowski

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Stephen Gostkowski
Stephen Gostkowski 2013.jpg
Gostkowski in 2013
No. 3 New England Patriots
Position: Placekicker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1984-01-28) January 28, 1984 (age 31)
Place of birth: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Madison (MS) Central
College: Memphis
NFL draft: 2006 / Round: 4 / Pick: 118
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2015
Field goals: 266
Field goal attempts: 304
Field goal %: 87.5%
Long field goal: 57
Points scored: 1,258
Extra Points: 486/487
Stats at

Stephen Carroll Gostkowski (gust-OW-ski;[1][2] born January 28, 1984) is an American football placekicker for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft with the 118th pick. One of just two kickers drafted, Gostkowski was the only rookie kicker to make an NFL roster that year.

Gostkowski, who played both college football and baseball for the University of Memphis, is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history, and one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history.[3] He is also a consistent and prolific scorer: He is only the second player in NFL history to score 500 points in his first four seasons in the league, and the first to score 1,000 points in his first eight seasons in the league (despite missing half the 2010 season with a leg injury). Gostkowski also holds the record for highest average points per game scored over a career (8.67 points per game as of the end of the 2014 season), and is the first player since the AFL-NFL merger to lead the league in scoring in three consecutive seasons (2012–2014; he also led the league in scoring in 2008). In 2014, he became the Patriots' all-time leading scorer, surpassing Adam Vinatieri. As of 2015, he is also the Patriots' all-time leader in field goals.

Early years[edit]

Gostkowski graduated from Madison Central High School in Madison, Mississippi, in 2002. While there, he won four varsity letters each in football and soccer, and three in baseball, and was an All-State honoree in all three sports. Gostkowski holds the school record for longest field goal, a 55-yard kick. His teammates at Madison Central included current Saints linebacker Parys Haralson and Titans center Chris Spencer. His opponents included former Atlanta Falcons running back Jerious Norwood, who returned one of Gostkowski's kickoffs from two yards deep in the end zone; Gostkowski raced him down at the 25-yard line to prevent a touchdown.

His most common nickname growing up was "Beav"; he lost two front teeth playing hockey and had fake teeth that were too large put in as replacements.[4] While at Memphis, he was dubbed "Gotti" by Tigers head coach Tommy West, because West could not pronounce Gostkowski correctly.[5]

College career[edit]

Gostkowski attended the University of Memphis, where he played for the Memphis Tigers football team and majored in exercise and sport science. Gostkowski received an athletic scholarship to play baseball for Memphis, and was a walk-on for the football team.[6] He finished his college career with a total of 369 points, a school record, and 13th overall in NCAA Division I-A history, converting 70 of 92 field goals and 159 of 165 extra points (PATs) during his Tiger career. His 70 FGs and 159 PATs both set school records previously held by Joe Allison (1990–1993). He earned first team All-Conference USA honors in both his junior and senior years and was named Conference USA's Special Teams Player of the Year in 2005.

In 2005, his senior season, Gostkowski handled kickoff duties for Memphis, and had 39 touchbacks on 68 kickoffs. Gostkowski did so using a one-inch tee (the height of NFL tees), rather than the two-inch tees allowed by the NCAA at the time. Thus, NFL talent scouts could more accurately project his potential.[7]

In a 2005 game against Houston, Gostkowski managed the rare feat of recovering his own onside kick.

Professional career[edit]

2006 season[edit]

Gostkowski was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft with the 118th pick. During the Patriots' 2006 training camp, he competed with veteran kicker Martín Gramática, who the Patriots had signed as a free agent after Adam Vinatieri signed with the Indianapolis Colts. On August 23, 2006, before their third preseason game, the Patriots cut Gramática, and gave the job to rookie Gostkowski. (This is the reverse of what the makers of the video game Madden NFL 07 expected; in the game, New England's place kicker is Gramática, not Gostkowski, who is listed as a free agent.) Since Gramática's release, Gostkowski has not faced any competition for his job.

During the 2006 preseason, Gostkowski was perfect on kicks and PATs, going 9-for-9 and 11-for-11, respectively, for a total of 38 points. His longest field goal was a 54-yard attempt against the New York Giants in the last preseason game. On November 26, 2006, Gostkowski made the longest regular-season kick of his young career, a 52-yard kick against the Chicago Bears, which is also the longest kick ever made at Gillette Stadium. Gostkowski finished the 2006 season as the highest-scoring rookie, with 103 points (20 field goals and 43 PATs), edging out the 96 points scored by Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

While Gostkowski struggled early in his rookie season—he had two consecutive kicks blocked—his kickoffs were noticeably longer than were Vinatieri's in his last season in Foxborough. During the 2006 season, he averaged 65.5 yards per kickoff with a return average of 23 yards, and a total of 12 touchbacks. (By comparison, in 2005, Vinatieri's average kickoff was just 61.6 yards, though playing in a dome in 2006 he averaged 65.8 yards.) Gostkowski also outperformed opposing teams on field goals: Gostkowski made 20 of 26 kicks (76.9%), while opposing kickers made just 22 of 30 (73.3%). Gostkowski's rookie season was statistically about the same as Vinatieri's: Vinatieri converted 27 of 35 kicks (77.3%), but missed three PATs (39/42). In Week 17, he missed an extra point attempt, the only such miss of his career to date.

Gostkowski also had to contend with having three different holders during the season. After his first holder, punter Josh Miller, was placed on injured reserve after week 11, the Patriots signed Ken Walter, who held for weeks 12 to 15 until he too was placed on IR. Though the Patriots hired Todd Sauerbrun to punt, holding duties were given to the Patriots' backup quarterback Matt Cassel (which led to one regular-season kick that, while good, made two bizarre turns in mid-air).

2006 postseason[edit]

In the AFC Wildcard Game of the 2006 postseason against the New York Jets, Gostkowski was perfect on all his kick attempts, converting three field goal attempts (from 20, 40, and 28 yards) and four extra points. He also had one kickoff go through the back of the end zone (over 80 yards) for a touchback.

In the AFC Divisional Playoffs against the San Diego Chargers, Gostkowski made three of three field goals, including a 50-yard kick that was the longest successful kick in Patriots postseason history. He also made a 34-yarder in the third quarter and a 31-yard kick with 1:10 left in the fourth that made him only the third NFL rookie to attempt a game-winning playoff kick in the fourth quarter or overtime. (One of the others was Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding, who missed his attempt in the 2004 playoffs; in this game, Kaeding missed a potential game-tying 54-yarder in the closing seconds.) Gostkowski also converted his only extra point attempt of the game following a Jabar Gaffney touchdown in the second quarter.

In the AFC Championship, Gostkowski again converted all of his kicks (two field goals and four PATs), and recorded two touchbacks on kickoffs.

Expectations from the Vinatieri years[edit]

As an untested rookie, Gostkowski faced special scrutiny in the playoffs, given the playoff heroics of Vinatieri.[8] Gostkowski performed admirably, making all eight of his field goal kicks; he also recorded three touchbacks, including two in the Patriots' January 21, 2007 loss to the Colts at the RCA Dome.

2007 season[edit]

Although Gostkowski ranked just 30th in field goal attempts through the first 12 weeks of the NFL season (16 attempts, 14 converted), he managed to equal his entire 2006 scoring output in those 12 weeks, thanks to an NFL-leading 61 extra point attempts, all of which he converted. In Week 15, against the Jets, Gostkowski broke former Miami Dolphins kicker Uwe von Schamann's record for most PATs converted in a season, with his 67th successful attempt. In Week 16, against the Dolphins, Gostkowski broke von Schamann's record of 70 PAT attempts. Gostkowski finished the season a perfect 74-for-74 on PATs, eclipsing Jeff Wilkins' 1999 record of 64-for-64 with the St. Louis Rams.[9] (These PAT records were surpassed by Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater in 2013.)[10] Gostkowski also went 21 for 24 on field goals to finish with 137 points on the season, the third-highest total of any player that year (rookie Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby had 141, and Patriots receiver Randy Moss had 138).

Gostkowski also had the distinction, in the Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens, of kicking off from the Ravens' 35-yard line as the result of two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Ravens linebacker Bart Scott and an offside call on the Ravens defense on his PAT attempt. Gostkowski recorded a touchback on the kickoff, but there was confusion after the game as to whether or not the Patriots could have improved their field position by kicking the ball out-of-bounds instead.[11]

2007 postseason[edit]

Gostkowski only had two field goal attempts in the postseason, both in the divisional game against the Jacksonville Jaguars; Gostkowski converted one, but missed the other, his only failed postseason conversion. He was, however, perfect on his PAT attempts, going 9-for-9.

2008 season[edit]

Gostkowski was a key contributor in the Patriots' 19–10 win over the New York Jets in Week 2, the game that marked Matt Cassel's debut as a starter. Gostkowski kicked 4 of 4 field goals from 21, 37, 28, and 27 yards, and recorded touchbacks on the first five of his six kickoffs (the last kick was returned to the 20 before a Raymond Ventrone tackle).

In October, Gostkowski, after going 9-for-10 on field goals and 11-for-11 on PATs for a team-high 38 points, was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for the first time in his career.[12]

In Week 16, Gostkowski had the highest-scoring game of his NFL career, converting 4 of 4 field goals, and 5 of 5 PATs. The 17-point performance gave him a total of 34 field goals on the season, breaking Tony Franklin's 1986 franchise record of 32, and 141 points scored, tying Vinatieri's post-merger franchise record, with one game still to play. (Former wide receiver/kicker Gino Cappelletti scored 155 points for the Patriots in 1964, and 147 points in 1961, but those include 44 and 56 points on receptions.) Gostkowski finished the season with a league-leading 148 points, the 13th-highest single-season total in NFL history; his 36 field goals converted is the sixth-best total, and the most since Neil Rackers made 40 in 2005.

In December 2008 Gostkowski was selected for his first Pro Bowl appearance as the AFC kicker; his selection was the result of the players' and coaches' votes, as he did not finish in the top five in fan voting.[13] The Associated Press also voted him to the All-Pro First Team for the first time; he received 28 of the 50 votes for kicker.[14]

2009 season[edit]

Gostkowski kicks off the ball in October 2009.
Gostkowski in the 2009 preseason

In the Patriots' last-minute 25–24 victory over the Buffalo Bills, Gostkowski recorded his first fumble recovery. When Leodis McKelvin fumbled the ball on a kickoff return, with the Patriots trailing 24–19, Gostkowski recovered the ball at the Bills' 31-yard line. Tom Brady, describing the play in his postgame press conference, used yet another nickname for Gostkowski: "Meat,"[15] a reference to Bull Durham, coined by former Patriots punter Josh Miller during Gostkowski's rookie season.[16]

Gostkowski won his first AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award in the Patriots' Week 9 game against the Miami Dolphins, in which he recorded four field goals and two touchbacks, including one on a re-kick from the Patriots' 25-yard line following an offside penalty.

Gostkowski finished the season going 26-for-31 on field goals (83.9%). He was a perfect 47-for-47 on extra points and had a then-career-high 67.8 yard average on kickoffs.

2010 season[edit]

Gostkowski's contract expired after the 2009 season, which normally would have made him an unrestricted free agent. As a result of the expiring NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement, however, Gostkowski became a restricted free agent; the Patriots offered him $1,759,000 for the 2010 season. Gostkowski signed the tender on April 17.[17] On August 26, 2010, the Patriots signed Gostkowski to a four-year extension, which added four years to his one-year tender contract; the extension gave him $14 million from 2011 to 2014, with $5 million guaranteed.[18]

Gostkowski began the 2010 season missing three of his first four field goal attempts over two games. However, in Week 4, against the Miami Dolphins, Gostkowski recorded five touchbacks in a single game; two weeks later, Gostkowski kicked his first overtime game-winning field goal in the Patriots' 23–20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

In Week 9, Gostkowski was unable to finish the Patriots' game against the Cleveland Browns after sustaining a thigh injury; he was replaced by wide receiver Wes Welker. Three days later, on November 10, the Patriots placed Gostkowski on injured reserve with a torn quadriceps muscle, ending his season. The Patriots signed veteran kicker Shayne Graham to replace him.

Gostkowski finished the injury-shortened season 10-for-13 on field goals (76.9%, tying his career low from 2006), while setting a career high with an average kickoff distance of 67.9 yards. He was 26-for-26 on his extra point attempts.

2011 season[edit]

As Gostkowski recovered from his quadriceps injury, for the first time since his rookie season, he was not the only kicker in training camp; the Patriots brought in former University of Massachusetts kicker Chris Koepplin to help manage Gostkowski's workload; they released Koepplin before the start of the season.

In Week 16, after scoring a field goal against the Miami Dolphins to make the score 17–3 in favor of Miami, Gostkowski made a tackle of Clyde Gates on the subsequent kickoff that was credited as "pivotal" in the Pats' comeback victory.[19] Instead of allowing a touchdown, Gostkowski tackled Gates at the Miami 38. Miami lost the ball on the ensuing possession, and the Patriots went on to score a touchdown of their own, closing the deficit to 17–10 en route to a 27–24 win.

Gostkowski finished the season with 143 points, just five short of his career high in 2007; he made 28 of 33 field goals and all 59 of his extra-point attempts. Gostkowski was one of two kickers to score five or more points in every game in 2011 (the other was David Akers), and just the third player in NFL history to manage the feat (Gary Anderson also did it in 1998).

2013 season[edit]

Gostkowski during the 2013 season

In the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Gostkowski was a perfect 3–3, including the 35-yard game winning attempt.[20] In week 12 against Peyton Manning and the high-scoring Denver Broncos, Gostkowski made both his field goal attempts, including the game winning 31-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in overtime.[21] Gostkowski set a franchise record for the New England Patriots for most field goals in a season with 38 field goals made out of 41 attempts.[22] During the AFC Divisional game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 11, 2014, Gostkowski took over the role of punter for the Patriots after regular punter Ryan Allen was injured during the second quarter, averaging 41.8 yards per punt.[23] On January 20, 2014, he was named to his second Pro Bowl replacing Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater.

2014 season[edit]

During the preseason, Gostkowski made a 60-yard field goal against the Carolina Panthers; had it been a regular-season or postseason game, it would have been the longest field goal in Patriots history (Adam Vinatieri held the record, with a 57-yard field goal against the Chicago Bears in 2002). Gostkowski scored three field goals against the Oakland Raiders in a 16–9 Week 3 victory; coincidentally, all the points in that game were scored by players whose names ended in "-kowski": all of Oakland's points were scored by Sebastian Janikowski, while the only touchdown in the game was scored by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.[24] In the Patriots' Week 15 41–13 rout of the Miami Dolphins, Gostkowski broke the Patriots' career scoring mark set by Vinatieri in 2005, doing so in just his 134th game as a Patriot.

Gostkowski finished the season with an NFL-leading 35 field goals out of 37 attempts (94.6%, a career-high). He was honored with his third Pro Bowl selection and was selected as a Second-Team All-Pro (behind Vinatieri).he would win his first Superbowl ring when patriots beat the seahawks. he did not kick any field goals but made 4 extra pionts.

2015 season[edit]

In the Patriots' Week 3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gostkowski recorded his 423rd consecutive extra point (stretching back to Week 17 of the 2006 season), breaking Matt Stover's record of 422. For the first three weeks, he converted 14 of 14 extra points and 7 of 7 field goals, and was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for the third time in his career. During the Patriots' Week 5 game at AT&T Stadium versus the Dallas Cowboys, Gostkowski tied Vinatieri's franchise record kicking a 57-yard field goal to end the first half. Through the first five games of the season, Gostkowski was 12-for-12 on field goals and 21-for-21 on extra points.[25] He added three more field goals on three tries in a 30–23 win over the New York Jets in week 7 to start his season 15-for-15. Against the Miami Dolphins in a 36–7 win on Oct 29, he was four-for-four on extra points and two-for-two on field goals, including a 52-yarder.[26] Against the New York Giants on Nov. 15, with only one second remaining, he kicked the game-winning 54 yard field goal to get the 27–26 win, with the Patriots staying undefeated at 9–0 on the season. Additionally, he surpassed Adam Vinatieri on the Patriots' all-time leader in field goals.[27] With the performance against the Giants, Gostkowski improved to 21-of-21 FGs made and 34-of-34 extra points made for the season.[28] In week 11, in a 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills, Gostkowski missed a 54-yard field goal attempt; it was his first miss since Nov. 30, 2014, and his first miss at home since week 2 of the 2013 season.[29]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular Season[edit]

Field Goal Extra Point Total
Year Team Games Made Attempts  % <20 20–29 30–39 40–49 50+ Long Made Attempts  % Total Points
2006 NE 16 20 26 76.9 0 11 10 4 1 52 43 44 97.7 103
2007 NE 16 21 24 87.5 0 10 9 5 0 45 74 74 100.0 137
2008 NE 16 36 40 90.0 0 12 16 11 1 50 40 40 100.0 148
2009 NE 16 26 31 83.9 0 7 13 8 3 53 47 47 100.0 125
2010 NE 8 10 13 76.9 0 2 7 3 1 43 26 26 100.0 56
2011 NE 16 28 33 84.8 1 13 6 11 2 50 59 59 100.0 143
2012 NE 16 29 35 82.9 0 8 12 13 2 53 66 66 100.0 153
2013 NE 16 38 41 92.7 1 8 13 13 6 54 44 44 100.0 158
2014 NE 16 35 37 94.6 1 11 10 12 1 53 51 51 100.0 156
2015 NE 10 23 24 95.8 0 6 7 6 4 57 36 36 100.0 97
Total 146 266 304 87.5 3 84 94 68 17 57 486 487 99.8 1276



Field Goal Extra Point Total
Year Team Games Made Attempts  % <20 20–29 30–39 40–49 50+ Long Made Attempts  % Total Points
2006 NE 3 8 8 100.0 0 3 2 2 1 50 9 9 100.0 33
2007 NE 3 1 2 50.0 0 0 1 0 0 35 9 9 100.0 12
2009 NE 1 0 1 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 100.0 2
2011 NE 3 5 5 100.0 0 3 1 0 0 35 10 10 100.0 25
2012 NE 2 4 4 100.0 0 1 3 0 0 38 6 6 100.0 18
2013 NE 2 1 1 100.0 0 0 0 1 0 47 6 6 100.0 9
2014 NE 3 1 1 100.0 0 1 0 0 0 21 15 15 100.0 18
Total 17 20 22 90.9 0 8 7 3 1 50 57 57 100.0 117


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Patriots vs. Bengals media notes" (PDF). New England Patriots. October 1, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  2. ^ Ulman, Howard (January 17, 2007). "Kicker fills Vinatieri's shoes nicely". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Pro Football Reference: Career Field Goal Percentage". Pro-Football Reference. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  4. ^ Russell, Greg (Spring 2005). "Double Play". University of Memphis Magazine. Archived from the original on December 22, 2006. Retrieved February 11, 2007. 
  5. ^ Reiss, Mike (August 24, 2006). "He's got both feet out door". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 10, 2007.  (Incidentally, the 'k' would not normally be silent in Polish.)
  6. ^ Laurila, David (June 23, 2008). "Kicking Around Some Baseball with Stephen Gostkowski". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved July 1, 2008. 
  7. ^ Reiss, Mike (May 10, 2006). "Tee time". Reiss' Pieces. Retrieved January 5, 2007. 
  8. ^ Smith, Michael (January 4, 2007). "Gostkowski among kickers under the microscope". Retrieved January 4, 2007. 
  9. ^ "NFL Individual Records: Points After Touchdown". Retrieved December 29, 2007. 
  10. ^ Brinson, Will (December 29, 2013). "Peyton Manning sets NFL record for passing yards in a season". CBS Sports. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ Reiss, Mike (December 5, 2007). "Kickoff situation". Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ Reiss, Mike (October 30, 2008). "Gostkowski: AFC Special Teams Player of the Month". Reiss' Pieces. Retrieved October 30, 2008. 
  13. ^ Reiss, Mike (December 17, 2008). "Peers took a shining to stars". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ "2008 All-Pro team". Associated Press. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  15. ^ Forsberg, Chris (September 15, 2009). "Postgame chatter". Extra Points blog. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  16. ^ Solomon, Jerome (July 29, 2006). "For kickers, time to replace the clutch". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski signs his RFA tender". Boston Herald. April 17, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  18. ^ Reiss, Mike (August 26, 2010). "Source: Patriots kicker gets extension". Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  19. ^ Finn, Chad (December 24, 2011). "Gostkowski tackle proved important". The Boston Globe. 
  20. ^ Patriots vs. Bills - Box Score - September 8, 2013 - ESPN. Retrieved on November 16, 2015.
  21. ^ Broncos vs. Patriots - Box Score - November 24, 2013 - ESPN. Retrieved on November 16, 2015.
  22. ^ Gostkowski breaks two Patriots franchise records | Comcast SportsNet. (December 29, 2013). Retrieved on 2015-11-16.
  23. ^ Colts vs. Patriots - Box Score - January 11, 2014 - ESPN. Retrieved on November 16, 2015.
  24. ^ Peters, Micah (September 21, 2014). "". Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  25. ^ New England Patriots 2015 Statistics – Team and Player Stats – ESPN. Retrieved on November 16, 2015.
  26. ^ Miami at New England | 2015-10-29 | National Football League | Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on November 16, 2015.
  27. ^ Patriots vs. Giants – Game Recap – November 15, 2015 – ESPN. (January 1, 2015). Retrieved on 2015-11-16.
  28. ^ Yahoo Sports
  29. ^ Yahoo Sports
  30. ^ "Stephen Gostkowski". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Stephen Gostkowski". Pro-football-reference. Retrieved November 18, 2015. 

External links[edit]