Niners Live ask the question: Will Kicker Robbie Gould be Able to Fill Mr. Reliable Phil Dawson’s Shoes?
The San Francisco 49ers and General Manager John Lynch wasted no time in signing free agent kicker Robbie Gould (35) to a two-year deal worth $4 million with one million being fully guaranteed. This deal ranked him as the 11th highest paid kicker in the NFL out of 33 kickers (overthecap.com). Gould replaces potential future Hall of Fame kicker Mr. Reliable himself/veteran and former 49ers kicker Phil Dawson who recently signed with division rival the Arizona Cardinals will be (42) to start the 2017 season. Robbie Gould (6-0, 190lbs) has spent his last 11 seasons with the Chicago Bears where he showed consistency and poise as a kicker. With Chicago, he managed to make 276 of his 333 field goal attempts with a career 85.9 field goal percentage making him the Chicago Bear’s franchise leader in field goals made. He also holds the highest field goal percentage of field goals made from 50 yards or more (23), and total points scored (1,207) (49ers.com).
He is the 7th most accurate kicker in NFL history.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) March 13, 2017
Gould’s career 85.9 field gold percentage ranks 7th all time amongst all kickers. His accuracy and consistency brought him to the Pro Bowl and the 1st team All-Pro team in 2006, along with making the All-NFC Special Teams Player of the Week three times (week 4-2015, week 16-2016, and week 9-2005). He has made 399 extra points on just 406 attempts and a career-long 58-yard field goal to definitely place him as a high ranking placekicker in the league.
Robbie Gould has, at times, showed a lack of focus and concentration in clutch situations throughout his career. In Week 13, December 1st, 2013, Gould missed field goal attempts (66,47) in the late minutes of the game against the Minnesota Vikings to lose 23-20 in overtime (CBSsports.com).
Note: Robbie Gould missed two field goals in that game also, (40,36).
In the following week of the 2015 season, the Chicago Bears played the Washington Redskins, and ole Robbie missed another clutch field goal (50) to tie the game with 1:45 seconds to go in the game. Needless to say, the Bears lost again 24-21, which essentially crushed the Bears fan base (video).
Phil Dawson in comparison:
There are no negative attributes when it comes to the career of Phil Dawson, the undisputed legend in the making. Dawson has the highest field goal percentage amongst any kicker with 400 made field goals. He has played a total of 279 games with 404 of 478 made field goals which currently place him 8th all time of active players in field goal percentage (84.5%) and 11th overall. Dawson has been the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week five times (week 5-2014, week 17-2014, week 14-2013, week 15-2005, and week 3-2001), not to mention making the 2nd team All-Pro for 2007 and 2012.
During his tenure with the Cleveland Browns, Phil Dawson tied Lou Groza for the Brown’s career field goal record with 234, and he had one Pro Bowl appearance in 2012. Niners Live has always held Phil Dawson in high regard, in fact, a while back we discussed: How Dawson Exemplifies a Model of Consistency.
He adds 490 extra point attempts missing only 10 in 18 years, and a career-long 56-yard field goal with landing 38 field goals from 50 yards or more, not to mention a total 1,698 points scored total. Dawson has proven to be Mr. Reliable in clutch time field goals in close games. A classic Hall of Fame career.
There are not many kickers in the NFL available that could live up to the accomplishments and career achievements displayed by Phil Dawson. But in an overall assessment, Robbie Gould is worthy of an opportunity to continue his career with a fresh start as a San Francisco 49er. Although he has had some missed opportunities in clutch situations, it does not define the impact he has displayed throughout his 11-year career and the overall production/accolades he has achieved in his time with the Bears and New York Giants where he was a perfect 10 out of 10.
In reality, Robbie Gould is 67 field goal attempts from reaching 400 attempts, and with new weather conditions, change of scenery, and a new special team’s coach in Richard Hightower, he could very well thrive in Santa Clara. Gould is on pace to compete with some of the accomplishments set by the future Hall of Famer Phil Dawson and mentor from afar.
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author Jonathan Armstead new Staff Writer at Niners Live, Co-Author, Editor Niners Live.