GREEN BAY, Wis. -- No player was more scrutinized during the Green Bay Packers’ training camp than kicker Mason Crosby.
After making just 63.6 percent of his field goals in 2012, Crosby’s every kick in practice was charted and reported on, and his summer-long totals were updated daily. Even after outlasting camp competition from two different kickers – Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez – Crosby went through the indignity of having to take a pay cut.
So it had to be with some measure of satisfaction that the seventh-year kicker quietly finished off the best season of his career by making a two routine field goals of 27 and 33 yards in Sunday’s 33-28 win at the Chicago Bears that gave the Packers the NFC North title.
Crosby finished the season 33-of-37 on field goals. His 89.2 percent conversion rate not only was his career high but was second-best in team history behind only Jan Stenerud’s 91.7 percent season in 1981.
What’s more, he earned back every dollar of the pay cut he took in August, when his salary was slashed from $2.4 million to $800,000. He was given the opportunity to earn back the remaining $1.6 million through incentives, and by topping the 85 percent mark for the season, he collected the final $800,000 of that. The other $800,000 came via roster bonuses for being on the team all season.
“I think it’s just the fact I’ve made kicks to help this team get to this point,” Crosby said after Sunday’s game. “I did my part, took advantage of opportunities. It’s not about that. I’m not thinking about what those dollar amounts are. It’s more I’m really happy with the percentage and how I finished this year. To finish off with two makes in Chicago and get the win, there’s nothing better than that.”
Crosby’s previous best season came in 2011, when he made 24 of 28 field goals (85.7 percent). For his career, Crosby has made 185 of 235 field goals (78.7 percent). In what was a remarkable year for kickers, Crosby's 89.2 percent conversation rate ranked only 14th best in the NFL this season
He has two years remaining on his contract. His pay in those seasons ($2.65 million in 2014 and $2.8 million in 2015) was unaffected by last summer’s contract renegotiation.