GREEN BAY – It seems like a formality, always does – the extra point following a Green Bay Packers touchdown.
The Packers have been fortunate to not worry about their kicking game for years thanks to sixth year kicker Mason Crosby. He's missed two his entire career and hasn't missed a field goal since 2010. His career kick percentage is 80-percent, with a long of 58 yards.
There he was again Sunday, trotting out following Jordy Nelson's 11-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers late in the fourth quarter. Rodgers has received all of the accolades – and rightfully so – for executing the game-winning drive, but the actual game-winning point came off the right foot of Crosby.
It may feel like a formality, but when it comes to wins and losses, it never is.
Crosby is no "ordinary" kicker, either.
He set an NFL record with 649 points through his first five seasons, and is one of only six players to record two, 140-point seasons. Crosby also holds the record for the longest field goal in Packers history and won the NFL scoring title in 2007 as a rookie.
Crosby took a few minutes to chat about kicking and visiting Milwaukee in this edition of Milwaukee Talks.
OMC: When you visit Milwaukee, where might someone find you?
MC: My wife (Molly) loves it, the Asian fusion restaurant Umami Moto. That's my wife's favorite and I love it, too. I love those three restaurants in that one area (on Milwaukee Street). As far as in Downtown, those are the spots we love the most.
OMC: So you sit down at Umami Moto – what's coming out?
MC: I love the Kobe sliders. The first time I went there was when (offensive lineman) Daryn Colledge was here and he ordered up a couple orders of those. Those were delicious. I remember those the most.
OMC: You've been a part of the revitalization of the Vince Lombardi Golf Classic at North Hills Country Club in Menomonee Falls – where else have you played down here?
MC: North Hills Country Club is awesome. I've wanted to get down there to play Brown Deer. I've heard good things about that. We played Merrill Hills...
(At this point, locker neighbor and punter Tim Masthay interrupts.)
Masthay: Haven't you played all of them?
MC: (Laughs) Yeah, I play everywhere. According to most guys that's all I do. I don't know if I play football.
Masthay: I think he's played in every state.
MC, laughing again: I guess!
OMC: You're a music fan and like to travel to see live shows – any particular favorite experiences in Milwaukee?
MC: Well, this weekend Need To Breathe is coming to town (Oct. 5 at The Pabst Theatre) and we've gotten to know some of the band, some of the guys, but unfortunately we can't get down and see them a couple times. They put on a good show.
We went and actually saw them then they were touring with Taylor Swift and we went and saw them at the Bradley Center and that was awesome. Taylor Swift, it's like a theater performance. It was a cool show. Obviously we like those guys. It's a cool venue. I like it. I've been to a couple of the Admirals games, been to a couple hockey games.
OMC: Along those lines, there seems to be more of a kinship with you all and the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, with players from each team going to watch each other. Why is that?
MC: Yeah, I saw a couple guys here (for the Chicago Bears game on Sept. 13). I think that connection is growing more and more. Obviously as teams are being successful and this state is just really doing well in sports, so it's really kind of fun to watch.
We support all the Milwaukee teams and all the teams in the state of Wisconsin because we're fortunate that we get the support as well. I think it's reciprocal. We try and get down and show our support and our love for all those guys and those teams down there and I think they do the same.
OMC: Finally – you joked how your teammates think all you do is play golf – does that kicker stereotype still exist, that you're not "real" football players. I know the late Steve Sabol of NFL Films used to always show kickers in sort of a comical light.
MC: know! I think there's a respect for what we do on the field and in the games and the pressure and the different things like that. Guys will give us a hard time for some of our things, like when guys are in meetings or whatever and we can only watch so much film of us kicking balls. As long as get our work done.
During the offseason is our time to really get in with the guys, work out, make sure we get that chemistry, build that, and show that we're working, we're here and we're doing our stuff.
You mentioned Steve Sabol – I remember as a kid watching NFL Films and all the Football Follies and those different things and I mean, I was definitely one as a kid like 'These kickers, what are they doing?' But I think the position of kicker, you have to be accurate. You have to be consistent. There's a lot of demand and a lot of pressure on that position to be the best every week. So, I think guys would want our job most of the time during the week in practice, but when game time comes I think they understand what that role presents.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.