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Resiliency propelled Mason Crosby to his place in Packers history
For 15 years, veteran kicker has been Green Bay’s ultimate ironman
By Wes Hodkiewicz Dec 19, 2022

GREEN BAY – It's always been more about the people than the records for Mason Crosby.

After the Green Bay Packers drafted the Georgetown, Texas, native in the sixth round in 2007, Crosby approached his fledgling NFL career with two guiding principles – be accountable and be available – to both his teammates and his family.

Fifteen years and 255 regular-season games later, it's brought the 38-year-old kicker to this moment. Tonight, when Crosby takes the field against the Los Angeles Rams, he's set to tie Brett Favre's record for most consecutive games played in Packers history.

The achievement comes after Crosby quietly broke Morten Andersen's record for most consecutive games played by an NFL placekicker when he kicked off in Buffalo on Oct. 30. Among specialists, only punter Jeff Feagles (352 games) has made more consecutive NFL regular-season appearances than Crosby, whose rookie season in Green Bay coincided with Favre's 16th and final in a Packers uniform.

"Obviously when you get here, you know that Favre had that run and how tough he was and his longevity," Crosby said. "You get 10 years in and it's like, 'All right, I still haven't missed one.' You start kind of chipping away at that and thinking let's try to have as many consecutive as possible.

"It's just being available, trying to keep your body as healthy as possible. Even if I'm dinged up and stuff doesn't always feel perfect, it's just knowing that it's important to be on the field and be available for this team."

The consecutive games played mark is the latest in a series of Crosby's career milestones. He's nearly lapped the field when it comes to scoring. In 2015, Crosby shattered Ryan Longwell's record for most points scored in team history (1,054) and has since pushed his total to 1,877, which currently ranks 12th in NFL history.

He's one of only four players to play at least 16 seasons in Green Bay, trailing only longtime teammate Aaron Rodgers' 18. Nobody has played more games at Lambeau Field than Crosby's 126 appearances. Along the way, the veteran kicker has made the eight longest field goals in Packers' history, including a career-long 58-yard attempt in 2011.

“I always had that mentality from a little kid where I want to play, I want to be involved." Mason Crosby

Crosby also has 12 game-winning kicks on his ledger, including an emotional 51-yard attempt as time expired in the Packers' 34-31 win over Dallas in the 2016 NFC Divisional playoffs.

To get here hasn't been easy. Crosby has overcome injuries, illnesses, professional setbacks, and personal adversity to suit up in every game the Packers have played since 2007. Looking back on his journey, Crosby credits his parents, Jim and Karen, for building his ironclad resolve.

"Growing up, it was kind of a mindset of, 'If you're not injured or hurt, you're going to find a way to be out on the field,'" Crosby said. "I always had that mentality from a little kid where I want to play, I want to be involved, and I'm going to find any way possible to do that."

K Mason Crosby
K Mason Crosby

Momentum swings

You have to travel back more than 20 years to Crosby's days at Georgetown High School for the last time he missed a game, stemming from a knee surgery his sophomore year. He later became a two-time All-American while playing in 50 straight games at the University of Colorado from 2003-06.

The game changes once you're in the NFL, though. It's a week-to-week league for many specialists, a byproduct of playing a position without a playbook and teams often only carrying one kicker, punter, and long snapper on their 53-man rosters. It takes talent, discipline, and toughness to last with one team for 16 seasons.

"It just shows his character," said punter Pat O'Donnell, a ninth-year veteran who signed with Green Bay in March. "Lasting 16 seasons, especially in Green Bay, is not an easy task. When the weather starts changing, the body breaks down a little bit, but just seeing the way he prepares every week has been amazing for me and our room, in general."

After unseating Dave Rayner for Green Bay's kicking job, Crosby began smashing team records right out of the gate. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month during November of his rookie campaign on his way to scoring the most points in a season by a Packers kicker (144). To this day, that is still Crosby's highest point total in a season, though he also matched it in 2013.

While Crosby settled in, won a Super Bowl and signed a contract extension, his career hit a snag in 2012. He endured a nightmarish season in which he made just 21 of 33 field goals (63.6%), including a stretch of eight consecutive games with at least one missed attempt.

The Packers stood by him, though, and the 6-foot-1, 207-pound kicker responded with a career-high 89.2% conversion rate the following year. Even through his 2012 struggles, Crosby maintained his NFL postseason record of 23 consecutive made field goals from 2010-16.

"Lasting 16 seasons, especially in Green Bay, is not an easy task." Punter Pat O'Donnell

In 2015, Crosby surpassed Ryan Longwell as the Packers' all-time leading scorer. Five years later, he became the first Packers kicker to go an entire season without missing a field-goal attempt. Over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Crosby set a club record with 27 consecutive field goals made. He's currently on pace to notch his ninth season with at least an 80% conversion rate on field goals.

"As a young rookie, it's being able to see his process every day, and the way he can sit back and then all of a sudden turn it on when it's time to perform," long snapper Jack Coco said. "It's a performance-based business, and the way he presents himself is at the utmost professional level. It's an honor that I've had the opportunity to work with him, a 16-year veteran. It's unbelievable."

Although Crosby has sent the Packers' all-time scoring record into orbit, it takes more than just on-field success for a kicker to make it every Sunday. To sustain his body, Crosby has adjusted his offseason kicking routine over the years and been diligent about weightlifting and nutrition. When Rich Bisaccia was hired as the Packers' new special teams coordinator earlier this season, he consulted Crosby when determining how to build the specialists' schedule.

"I don't know if there's some magic potion to it, but I know mine is a really good balance of putting the work in, doing the physical side, but also the rest and recovery," Crosby said. "Just having the right mindset, too. Just the mindset of I am going to battle through illness and aches and pains, and little strains and different things. I'm just going to find a way to battle and adjust and adapt so that I can be available on Sundays."

'Pure grit'

For all the professional hardship Crosby overcame on the field in 2012, it doesn't compare to the adversity he and his family overcame in 2019.

That season began with Crosby's wife and mother of five, Molly, being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. At the end of training camp, she underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove a neuroendocrine tumor on the bottom lobe of her right lung.

Crosby, who was locked in a kicking competition with Sam Ficken at the time, played in the Packers' preseason game the night before Molly's surgery. He flew overnight with Molly's mom to Rochester, Minn. The next morning, shortly after Molly woke up from surgery, the Packers called Mason to inform him he'd won the job.

Molly made a full recovery, but the Crosby family suffered a heavy loss later that same season when Mason's sister-in-law, Brittany, passed away following a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. Her passing sent shockwaves through the family and occurred just prior to the Packers' scheduled road trip to face the New York Giants. Crosby flew to Texas to be with his brother Rees, took a private plane to New York for the game, made all five kicks he attempted in a 31-13 Packers victory, and then went back to be with his family.

After the win, Head Coach Matt LaFleur awarded Crosby the game ball.

"That was obviously really tough for him," said Rodgers of Crosby after the game. "We wrapped our arms around him and supported him. He's been through a lot this year. He really has. He's a great friend, a great locker room presence for us."

Back then, the furthest thing on Crosby's mind was a football streak. He simply wanted to be there for his teammates. The first, and really only, time Crosby's string of consecutive games played became a motivational tool was this past offseason when he had his right knee scoped after organized team activities.

"He’s helped, I guarantee you, so many people in this locker room." Long snapper Jack Coco

The procedure sidelined him for the full duration of training camp and raised some questions about whether he'd be ready for the Packers' opener in Minnesota. Crosby kept a confident demeanor externally, but as recently as two weeks before the Packers traveled to U.S. Bank Stadium, there were questions about whether he'd hit all the necessary checkpoints to be cleared. Fortunately, he made significant process the final week of camp and was activated off the physically unable to perform list during the mandatory roster reduction to 53 players.

"It was something that was important to me to push to get back and keep that streak alive," Crosby said. "When I got activated, it was kind of a shift from recovery and rehab to prepping for the season. I think that shift really got me going in the right direction. It showed me I can do this. I can push to play in that first game and sustain it through a season."

Crosby has done just that, kicking in all 13 games for the Packers this season while drilling 15 of his 16 attempts from inside 50 yards. With two more games played, Crosby not only would break Favre's franchise record but also surpass London Fletcher for fourth all-time in NFL history in consecutive games played. Only Feagles, Favre (299) and Jim Marshall (282) have longer overall ironman streaks.

Among NFL kickers, he leads all of his active contemporaries in consecutive games played by five full seasons. Baltimore's Justin Tucker, who hasn't missed a game in his 11 NFL seasons, is the only kicker within 100 games of Crosby's current streak (173). Crosby has now played in 328 consecutive games (including playoffs) dating back to his freshman year at Colorado, a run that undoubtedly will leave his name permanently etched in the Packers' record book.

"It shows his pure grit and determination," Coco said. "Every single day, when times aren't going well or when times are going well, he comes in as the same person. He does his job every single day and he's a very level-headed leader. He's helped, I guarantee you, so many people in this locker room; many different faces throughout a lot of different things because he's been here for so long."

LS Jack Coco, K Ramiz Ahmed, K Mason Crosby & P Pat O'Donnell
LS Jack Coco, K Ramiz Ahmed, K Mason Crosby & P Pat O'Donnell

A legacy of reliability

Crosby played only one season with Favre, but it provided a masterclass in toughness. Beyond just durability, Crosby learned so many lessons about what it takes for a veteran player to stay on the field each and every Sunday.

Over the past 15 years, Crosby hasn't been shy about asking for additional input from veteran kickers such as Matt Bryant and Adam Vinatieri on what it takes to last in the NFL. Bryant played 18 seasons, while Vinatieri's Hall of Fame run lasted 24 seasons. He retired last year as the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,673 points.

An open mind and years spent kicking at the game's highest level have aided Crosby in developing his own tutorial for how to handle kicking in Green Bay. Since Lambeau Field was built in 1957, few know the ins and outs of the iconic stadium and its volatile wind patterns better than Crosby.

"The thing I've noticed the most about him is he's an extreme competitor," Bisaccia said. "He's been a great compass as to how we do some things in our stadium and how we play with some of the teams in our division. And the way in which he carries himself in the meetings, he's a great leader for us. He's been through a lot of football. I think he's done a great job of echoing what we're trying to do and how we're trying to build our culture a little bit within the special-teams units."

“I think when it’s all said and done, that’s probably going to be something that I’m going to look back on and be really proud of." Mason Crosby on his streak of consecutive games played

Bisaccia believes the 38-year-old kicker has only gotten stronger with his kicking leg since the injury scare over the summer. Crosby's ability to move forward without setback has brought peace of mind to LaFleur, who appreciates the fact he's never had to wonder who his kicker is going to be on an NFL gameday during his four seasons as Green Bay's head coach.

"Those guys, their plays are converted into points," LaFleur said. "Anytime that you don't worry about that, and you can put a guy out there and have the confidence that he's going to come through, I think that's a huge relief because most coaches have been on some teams that maybe don't have a guy that's so reliable."

At 38, Crosby continues to be a mentor inside the Packers' locker room whether it's golfing with the rookie Coco or opening his home to O'Donnell, whom the Crosbys hosted for a brief time this past spring while the Packers' new punter and his family house-hunted in Green Bay.

For Crosby, it goes back to the ideals of availability and accountability. Whenever the day comes that he turns in his cleats and shelves the K-balls, Crosby believes his ability to be on the field every Sunday for his team will be his lasting legacy and the honor that means the most to him, personally.

"I think when it's all said and done, that's probably going to be something that I'm going to look back on and be really proud of," Crosby said. "I just feel very fortunate that I've always been able to be available and go out there for this team and this organization. I haven't always felt perfect but tried to make it work."

Most consecutive games played in NFL history

  1. 352 Jeff Feagles (NE, PHI, ARI, SEA, NYG)
  2. 299 Brett Favre* (ATL, GB, NYJ, MIN)
  3. 282 Jim Marshall (CLE, MIN)
  4. 256 London Fletcher (STL, BUF, WASH)
  5. 255 Mason Crosby (GB)
  6. 254 Shane Lechler (OAK, HOU)
  7. 253 L.P. Ladouceur (DAL)
  8. 248 Morten Anderson (NO, ATL, NYG, KC)
  9. 244 Chris Gardocki (CHI, IND, CLE, PIT)
  10. 243 Bill Romanowski (SF, PHI, DEN, OAK)

*Favre played 255 consecutive games with Green Bay from 1992-2007

Most consecutive games played in Packers history

  • 255 Mason Crosby (2007-current)
  • 255 Brett Favre (1992-2007)
  • 187 Forrest Gregg (1956, 1958-70)
  • 167 Rob Davis (1997-2007)
  • 166 Willie Wood (1960-71)
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