When the Patriots visit Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the hostile environment shouldn’t affect the way Gostkowski handles his job of kicking the football through the uprights.
Overall, Gostkowski has some impressive career numbers against the Bills. In 18 games, he’s 30-for-36 in field goals, including a perfect 58-for-58 in extra-points to give New England a 16-2 advantage over the Bills since Gostkowski replaced Adam Vinatieri in 2006.
“Buffalo’s a great environment,” Gostkowski said. “They’ve got great fans and it’s fun to play there. It’s a tough place to play. With my job, I don’t really hear people when I’m out there. I’m too focused on doing my job.”
Gostkowski said his 10 seasons of NFL experience help him tune out distractions, including weather conditions or crowd noise. He said if you let those bother you, it means you’re not focused or confident in what you’re doing on the field. To him it doesn’t matter if it’s at Buffalo or any other stadium in the NFL.
“It’s all one constant noise, too, so it’s a lot easier to block out,” Gostkowski explained. “It’s not like it’s one person yelling at you. It’s one constant crowd noise and once you’ve played in it once, it’s not like one crowd noise is different than the other. Buffalo’s a great atmosphere to play in, for sure.”
The first game he played in the NFL as the Patriots’ starting kicker was Sept. 10, 2006 against the Bills at Gillette Stadium. He was 22 at the time and the Patriots won that game 19-17. His first experience at Ralph Wilson Stadium was on Oct. 22, 2006, and New England dominated that game 28-6.
Asked what he remembered about his first time playing in Buffalo, Gostkowski laughed.
“I don’t even remember, truthfully,” he said. “I can hardly remember what I ate for dinner last night. All NFL places are really good football environments, and Buffalo’s no exception. They have some pretty rowdy fans and you can get some funny hecklers on the sidelines while we’re warming up and that’s always fun to look forward to.”