The Green Bay Packers kicking game went south last season – so far south that Packers kicker Mason Crosby was a shell of himself – the opposite of what we saw year-in and year-out by the Detroit Lions’ Jason Hanson.
Hanson, the 21-year veteran who was the model of consistency each and every year he was in the National Football League, was injured for part of last season and still managed to convert 88.9 percent of his kicks (32-of-36), while Crosby 63.6 percent (21-of-33).
Hanson announced his retirement yesterday, saying it was time. He did everything right over the past two-plus decades, making 82.4 percent of his kicks (495-of-601). He also tagged on 665 extra points. He missed only eight point-afters over the course of 21 seasons – pretty incredible statistics.
Those are statistics that Crosby must be dreaming about. If he sticks around for 21 years, one would only hope he could recreate Hanson’s stats.
The only thing that must be sticking in Hanson’s craw is the fact that during those 21 seasons, not once did he ever – and I mean EVER- beat the Green Bay Packers in the state of Wisconsin. He tried his best. Every time he came on the field against the Packers, one knew it was an automatic make. But it wasn’t enough because – well, because he played for the Lions. He was the kicker for some pretty bad teams over the course of his career – but not all of them. He had his chances … it’s just that the Packers have had the Lions number for a very long time.
As reported on CheeseheadTv.com, Associated Press writer Noah Trister, said: “The Lions losing streak on the road against the Packers began in 1992, Hanson’s rookie season. Detroit has not won a road game against Green Bay since 1991. That includes games played in Milwaukee in 1992, 1993 and 1994.”
That’s not to say he wasn’t the best kicker in the league during that stretch of time. He was always a classy player, never boasted about his accomplishments and gave place-kickers a good name.
In making his decision to retire, Hanson said: “It was time to make a decision. It was the right time to step away. Ultimately, it’s my heel – the problem I developed last year. Now that we’re starting a new year, it’s still an issue. I have the desire. I have the determination, as I said earlier, to come back. Each time I’d start to push it, I’d kind of short-circuit. I realized that at this point of my career, I don’t want to perform in a compromised way. It’s not good for the team. I lost a little of my desire to play injured.”
As a Packers fan, I won’t miss watching Hanson convert kick after kick and then trying to compare the Packers’ kicking game with that of Hanson’s over the years – there is no comparison.
Hanson scored a total of 2,150 points in 327 games. To date, Mason Crosby has kicked in 96 games in six seasons. We hope his goal is to recreate what Hanson has accomplished – except for the winning part.
When thinking about it, if Crosby can convert even 70 percent of his kicks and still continue to win games, that would be OK, too.