Crosby's Goal: Being Hero At Home

Mason Crosby returns to the state where he starred in high school. He hasn't kicked a game-winning field goal since the first game of his rookie season. What time could be better than Sunday against the Steelers?

DALLAS – Things are bigger in Texas.

Such as childhood memories.

As a senior at Georgetown (Texas) High School, Mason Crosby made the kick of a lifetime.

"I remember hitting a 59-yarder in high school," he recalled on Wednesday morning from the team hotel in nearby Las Colinas. "That was pretty awesome. I was the punter in high school and I didn't hear the coach yell, ‘field goal,' so I run out thinking I'm punting and then I see the holder and the offensive linemen. So, I lined up and nailed a 59-yarder. That was probably my first big kick."

The kick was the longest in the state in eight years and the third-longest in Texas high school history. And it set in motion a professional career that Crosby launched in his NFL debut, when he made a 42-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining to the beat Philadelphia to kick off the 2007 season.

Incredibly, Crosby hasn't kicked a truly huge field goal since. In Week 5, he hit the upright from 53 yards at Washington on a kick that would have beaten the Redskins. In 2008, he missed from 51 yards in the final half-minute on a kick that would have beaten Minnesota. Later that season, his game-winner from 38 yards at Chicago was blocked.

On Wednesday, however, coach Mike McCarthy unequivocally stated that he has confidence that Crosby can deliver that career-defining kick in Sunday's Super Bowl against Pittsburgh.

"I have all the faith in the world in Mason Crosby," he said.

Kickers are a dime a dozen. The great kickers, however, make clutch kicks. The truly elite kickers make clutch kicks in the biggest of situations, like Adam Vinatieri beating Oakland the Rams with two of the gutsiest kicks in NFL playoff history.

It's a moment Crosby has spent visualizing a little more than usual this week, and he's absorbed the advice of his peers about making it seem like it's a kick he's made a hundred times.

"Obviously as the kicker, I want that kick," Crosby said. "I want to be able to say I put my mark on this. I'm also a team guy, and I don't think it would be too bad if we won this by a few touchdowns. I know how these teams are and it's going to be a battle. Every point's going to matter."

McCarthy said – and Crosby agreed – that the break last week was just what both he and punter Tim Masthay needed. They spent a few days lifting weights, stretching and getting their minds refocused for this game.

And how special this game is for a kid who grew up three hours south on Interstate 35?

"Man, this is awesome," he said. "I've got a lot of family in this area and around the state. Obviously, (Cowboys) Stadium is new but just playing here and having lots of friends and family that are Dallas fans. It is really cool being back home. I think once my family gets here tomorrow and everyone's around, I think it will hit me more and make me realize how big this really is."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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