Today, we end our summer-long New England Patriots kickoff countdown series by profiling the owner of the No. 3 jersey, kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Gostkowski is the subject of discussion because there are just three days until the Patriots open the 2016 season.
Size: 6-foot-1, 200 pounds
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NFL experience: 10 seasons
Selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Gostkowski has proven wrong those who questioned the Patriots for taking a kicker so early in a draft. Clearly, the Patriots knew what they were doing, as Gostkowski is now the most accurate kicker in Patriots’ franchise history and one of the best kickers in NFL history, period. Gostkowski is one of the most prolific scorers the league has ever seen; he holds the Patriots’ record for most field goals. Gostkowski also owns the record for most consecutive extra points, a streak that will probably never be touched now that the NFL has moved extra points back to a 33 yards.
Of course, Gostkowski’s 2015 season ended in a not-so-great fashion. The normally automatic extra point kicker botched one against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, a turn of events that started a downward trend for the Pats in that game. We shouldn’t blame the loss entirely on Gostkowski because that just isn’t fair, but every Patriots fan watching that game knew that the missed extra point would come back to haunt the Pats. And it sure did.
Recent installments in Patriots kickoff countdown profile series:
This season, we expect Gostkowski to keep up the good work at the age of 32. Kickers have the longest life spans out of all the football positions, so there is no reason to think that Gostkowski won’t be one of the NFL’s best punters for the 11th year in a row.
This concludes our tour of the Patriots’ roster numbers. Ever since we were 99 days out from kickoff we have been marking the number of days until the Patriots open 2016 and simultaneously profiling the bearer of that jersey number. The end of this series means that football really is upon us, and that is a great thing.