Packers stay with Mason Crosby despite the numbers

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Mason Crosby kicks a field goal during a Green...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me state the obvious: Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby has had a terrible season!

That having been said, I’m not one to kick a man when he is down (pun intended). You have to give the Packers brass credit for sticking with Crosby, but if things don’t get better with his kicking, and a game, or worse yet, a playoff game, is lost due to a missed field goal, Packer Nation will have little to no sympathy for those who kept Crosby as their kicker.

Let’s look at Crosby’s season.

In many respects, sticking with a kicker who is in a slump is not traditionally standard operating procedure in the NFL. The fact that the Packers are staying with Crosby despite the lowest field goal percentage in the league (58.6 percent) and that he is one of only two kickers with 10 or more missed field goals this season (Crosby has 12, San Francisco’s David Akers has 10 misses) is pretty rare.

Since 2000, three kickers have ended the season with a field goal percentage under 60 percent (minimum of 20 attempts). They were: Neil Rackers (Cincinnati), Todd Peterson (Pittsburgh) and Jake Arians (Buffalo). Each of these three men finished their season at 57.1 percent. Should Crosby end the year under 60 percent, he would be the first kicker with this low of a FG percentage since Peterson in 2002.

Going back to 1966 (the start of the Super Bowl era), we have had seven kickers with a minimum of 20 FG attempts who ended the year under 40 percent. They were:

Kicker, year, FG made/FG attempt, FG pct.
Happy Feller, 1971, 6/20, 30.0 percent
Fred Steinfort, 1983, 7/21, 33.3 percent
Ken Vinyard, 1970, 9/25, 36.0 percent
Joe Danelo, 1976, 8/21, 38.1 percent
Errol Mann, 1976, 8/21, 38.1 percent
Mac Percival, 1969, 8/21, 381. percent
Lou Groza, 1976, 9/23, 39.1 percent

I think we can say two things about the above list: (1) It’s highly unlikely Crosby will approach these numbers; (2) Teams certainly did not change kickers back in the 60’s and 70’s like they do now.

When comparing Crosby’s 2012 season to other Packers kickers, we discover a couple of interesting stats:

* Crosby’s 12 misses are the most by a Packers kicker since Chester Marcol missed 14 in 1974. Crosby is the 10th Green Bay kicker (since 1966) to miss 10 or more in a season since Ryan Longwell missed 11 in 2001.

* Using the criteria of a minimum of 20 field goal attempts, Crosby currently has the third worst FG percentage since 1966. His 58.6 percentage is higher than Don Chandler’s 42.9 percentage (12 of 28) in 1966 and Dale Livingston‘s 53.6 percentage (15 of 28) in 1970.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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