It’s almost criminal how undervalued Stephen Gostkowski is among Patriots fans.
Gostkowski has not only provided stability at one of the most important positions in the game, but has been an elite kicker for 10+ years. Additionally, he is a four-time Pro-Bowler, a three-time All-Pro member, and of course, a two-time Super Bowl champion. Yet, Patriots fans refuse to let him out of the shadow of Adam Vinatieri.
It’s understandable that Vinatieri holds a special place in the hearts of Patriots fans. Vinatieri’s 10-year career with the organization saw two Pro Bowls, two All-Pro appearances, and of course, a couple of Super Bowl winning kicks. In fact, an article by ESPN once declared, “But Vinatieri has become famous, and nearly iconic in New England”. Vinatieri was seen as a demi-god in New England, so in the eyes of their fans, every kicker from then on out would forever be compared to him. This is why Gostkowski has never had a chance at pleasing Patriots fans.
He’s never had that ‘make it or break it’ kick where he would either become an instant legend or be run out of town. But when you take a look at the overall career stats, this is how Gostkowski stacks up against Vinatieri.
Gostkowski: FG%- 87.6 percent, XP%- 99.0 percent
Vinatieri: FG%- 84.3 percent, XP%- 98.2 percent
As you can see, throughout his career, Gostkowski has actually been the more accurate kicker. Once again, this in no way takes anything away from Adam Vinatieri. He’s possibly the best kicker in NFL history. However, it does makes you wonder why Patriots fans are so quick to judge every Gostkowski mistake.
In getting away from the Gostkowski vs. Vinatieri debate, let’s take a look at Stephen’s performance in New Englands latest Super Bowl run. This year alone, Gostkowski has put 37 field goals through the uprights, converting at a 92.5 percent rate. All of his misses were from 40-plus yards. As for extra points, Gostkowski has put up 47 PATs, missing only two. New England was fourth in the league for field goals made. He’s clearly still a more than reliable kicker. Something in the stars seems to be pointing towards Gostkowski coming up big for the Pats in Super Bowl 52.
–Travis Baker is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the NFL and the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0.