Green Bay Packers fans are the most loyal fans in the sports world. How else could one explain the fact that they have sold out every single home game for decades, despite the fact that many of those years saw the Packers struggle to put a winning product on the field.
Packers fans also are proud of the team history, as well they should be. There are few organizations in professional sports that carry the mystic of the Packers. Many former players are held in legendary status in the hearts and minds of fans, and again, this is a good thing.
Sometimes, though, that fierce loyalty and adoration for living legends can cause fans to, unfortunately, be less than welcoming to new additions to the team. Perhaps many recall how Aaron Rodgers was booed during Family Night in 2008 because fans were upset that he was taking over the starting job from Brett Favre.
And sometimes, the recency bias of fans can cause them to be blind to the reasons why the team decides to move on from a veteran player in favor of a new one. That is what is happening right now in the case of Mason Crosby and Anders Carlson.
New Green Bay Packers Kicker Anders Carlson Has Struggled at Times During Training Camp
Before the fans and media were able to watch much of the Packers’ practices, running back Aaron Jones raved about the leg power and talent of new kicker Anders Carlson during OTA’s. However, Carlson has been somewhat inconsistent during training camp.
While he does have good days, he also has awful days. These awful days, especially, are highlighted on social media and draw angry reactions from fans that demand Crosby be brought back into the fold.
Meanwhile, general manager Brian Gutekunst, head coach Matt LaFleur, and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia have been preaching patience with their young rookie. They have no plan or intention on bringing in another kicker to compete, unless Carlson suffers an injury.
Mason Crosby Was Not Always the Kicker That Fans Seem to Remember He Was
This is not meant to be a hit-piece on Mason Crosby. He is the Packers’ all-time leading scorer and played more games in Green and Gold than any player in franchise history. He has earned the respect and status to which he is held.
That being said, bringing Crosby back to replace Carlson is not a guarantee that things will improve. Additionally, it would be a deviation from the approach that the Packers took with Crosby himself as they waited patiently for him to find his footing in the NFL.
And it took a while. In fact, in 16 NFL seasons, Crosby was an above-average kicker (in terms of the league average for field goal percentage) just seven times:
Mason Crosby FG%/NFL avg
7/16 years above avg
— Robin Adams (@theotherRobin19) August 19, 2023
As one can see, Crosby did not make over 80% if his field goals until his fifth year in the NFL, and in the season following that one, he made just 63.6%, over 20% below the league average.
Now that season, 2012, in all fairness, was a bit of an anomaly. Crosby was asked to attempt nine field goals of 50 or more yards, the highest total in his career. He made just two of them.
Of course, there is the argument that kicking at Lambeau Field, in the cold and elements, may have had a negative impact on his overall career numbers. However, what is interesting is that Crosby actually had a slightly higher field goal percentage at home versus on the road. While at Lambeau, Crosby made 81.8% of his kicks; on the road, he made 81.1%.
Also interestingly, Crosby’s field goal percentage got higher as the temperatures got colder:
- September- 91.4%
- October- 78.9%
- November- 76.7%
- December- 80.5%
- January- 88.2%
The point of all of this is not to try to throw shade at Crosby. As mentioned, he deserves to be held in the esteem in which he is. However, the Packers had to practice an exorbitant amount of patience over the course of multiple seasons in order for him to reach that level.
This is the approach that the team is taking with Carlson. While fans may remember the good moments with Crosby (as well they should), it is important to recall the patience that organization showed him while he went through his struggles.
Obviously, given how popular Crosby is with fans, that patience paid off, even if fans at the time wanted to move on. The same is and will be true for Carlson.
Just be patient.