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Greg Zuerlein (American football)

Gregory Zuerlein (born December 27, 1987) is an American football placekicker for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, he played college football at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Missouri Western.

Greg Zuerlein
refer to caption
Zuerlein in 2016
No. 4 – Los Angeles Rams
Position:Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1987-12-27) December 27, 1987 (age 31)
Lincoln, Nebraska
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:191 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school:Pius X High School
(Lincoln, Nebraska)
College:Missouri Western
Nebraska–Omaha
NFL Draft:2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 171
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2018
Field goals made:177
Field goals attempted:212
Field goal %:83.5
Career long field goal:61
Touchbacks:331
Player stats at NFL.com

Contents

Early yearsEdit

Zuerlein was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and graduated from Lincoln Pius X in 2006. In 2004, Zuerlein set a Nebraska state record for field goals in a season, converting 12-of-16 attempts with a long of 52 yards. His successful play would earn him Nebraska All-State and All-Class honors as a junior and senior.[1]

College careerEdit

Zuerlein attended the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) for three seasons, but sat out the 2010 season with a hip injury. Zuerlein set the UNO school record of 61 consecutive PATs while converting 19 of 26 field goal attempts.

UNO cancelled its football program in 2011, and he moved to another Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association school, Missouri Western State University, in 2011.[2] There, he set a NCAA Division II record of 21 consecutive field goals including nine that were 50 or more yards which in turn included two 58-yard field goals. He had a .952 field goal percentage completing 23 of 24 attempts, which was the highest of any NCAA player in any division with 12 or more attempts in 2011 as he averaged 10.7 points per game.[3][4]

Professional careerEdit

 
Zuerlein during Rams training camp in 2012

Zuerlein was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the sixth-round (171st overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.[5] He was the first non-Bowl Championship Series kicker to be drafted since Stephen Gostkowski in 2006, and the first below the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision since Paul Ernster in 2005. The Rams cut their primary kicker Josh Brown, who was in the final year of his $14.5 million five-year deal, the same weekend they drafted Zuerlein.[4][6]

2012 seasonEdit

Zuerlein made his NFL debut in the season opener against the Detroit Lions and converted two extra point attempts and three field goal attempts in the 27–23 loss.[7] In Week 3, against the Chicago Bears, hemade a 56-yard field goal, the longest at Soldier Field.[8] In Week 4, he hit a 60-yard field goal against the Seattle Seahawks, which beat the franchise-record of 58 yards, set by Zuerlein earlier in the same game.[9] The kick broke Jeff Wilkins' 14-year record.[10] He became the first player in NFL history to make a 60-yard field goal and a 50-plus yarder in the same game.[11] He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort against the Seahawks.[12] In Week 6, Zuerlein missed three field goals wide left, the first two from 37 and 52 yards, and the final one at 66 yards to tie the game against the Miami Dolphins.[13] In Week 13, Zuerlein made a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Rams a 16–13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome. It was the second longest successful field goal in NFL overtime history, three yards short of the NFL overtime record, which is held by Sebastian Janikowski[14] He earned another NFC Special Teams player of the Week award for his game against the 49ers.[15] In 2012, he attempted 13 field goals of 50 yards or longer, converting seven. Overall, in his rookie season, he converted all 26 extra point attempts and 23 of 31 field goal attempts.[16]

2013 seasonEdit

Zuerlein started the 2013 season off converting all four field goal attempts and one extra point attempt in the 27–24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.[17] The 13 points he scored in the season opener was his highest scoring in one game on the season. Overall, he was a reliable kicker when called upon, converting all 34 extra point attempts and 26 of 28 field goal attempts in the 2013 season as the Rams finished with a 7–9 record.[18][19]

2014 seasonEdit

In Week 2, Zuerlein converted four field goal attempts and one extra point to help provide the difference in the 19–17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[20] In Week 11, against the Denver Broncos, he converted all five field goal attempts and one extra point in the 22–7 victory.[21] He earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the third time in his career.[22] Overall, he finished the 2014 season converting 34 of 35 extra points and 24 of 30 field goal attempts.[23]

2015 seasonEdit

In the 2015 season opener against the Seattle Seahawks, Zuerlein converted all four extra point attempts and both field goal attempts in the 34—31 overtime victory.[24] In Week 5, against the Green Bay Packers, he converted one of four field goal attempts in the 24–10 loss, the first time since his rookie season that he missed three in a single game.[25] In Week 9, against the Minnesota Vikings, he converted four of five field goal attempts for a season-high 12 points scored in the 21–18 loss.[26] Overall, he finished the 2015 season with 26 of 28 extra points converted and 20 of 30 field goals converted.[27]

2016 seasonEdit

The Rams made the decision to move from St. Louis to Los Angeles prior to the 2016 season.[28] On April 15, 2016, Zuerlein signed a one-year contract to return to the Los Angeles Rams.[29] After the Rams were shut out against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, Zuerlein provided all the scoring in the 9–3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.[30][31] In Week 5, against the Buffalo Bills, he converted all four field goal attempts and one extra point in the 30–19 loss.[32] Overall, he finished the 2016 season converting all 23 extra point attempts and 19 of 22 field goal attempts.[33] The Rams' offense did not provide a lot of opportunities for Zuerlein compared to the past and he scored a career-low 80 points on the 4–12 season.[34] Head coach Jeff Fisher was fired before the season ended.[35]

2017 seasonEdit

Before the 2017 season, Sean McVay was hired as the new coach of the Los Angeles Rams.[36] On March 14, 2017, Zuerlein signed a three-year contract extension with the Rams.[37]

On September 10, 2017, in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Zuerlein converted three field goals and five extra points in the 46–9 home victory.[38] He tied with Oakland Raiders' kicker Giorgio Tavecchio for the most points scored by a kicker in Week 1 with 14.[39] On October 1, 2017, Zuerlein broke the Rams record for the most field goals in a game going 7 for 7 (surpassing Jeff Wilkins in 2006) against the Dallas Cowboys in the Rams 35–30 upset win, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career.[40] On November 2, 2017, Zuerlein received the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for his strong performances in October.[41] In Week 10, Zuerlein converted all four field goals, including a 50-yarder in a 33–7 win over the Houston Texans, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in the 2017 season.[42] On December 20, 2017, Zuerlein was placed on injured reserve due to a back injury.[43] This news came a day after it was announced the Zuerlein was named to his first Pro Bowl.[44] In addition, he earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November.[45] He was later named as a First Team All-Pro.[46] He finished the season leading the league in scoring with 158 points and 11.3 points per game.[47]

2018 seasonEdit

In the 2018 season opener, Zuerlein converted all three extra point attempts and converted four of five field goal attempts including a 55-yarder in a 33–13 win over the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career.[48] He suffered a groin injury in pregame warmups before the Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals.[49] he returned to action in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers converting four extra point attempts and three field goal attempts in the 39–10 victory.[50] In Week 11, against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, he coverted six of seven extra point attempts and three field goal attempts in the historic 54–51 victory.[51] In the regular season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, he converted all six extra point attempts and both field goal attempts in the 48–32 victory.[52] Overall, he finished the 2018 season converting 35 of 36 extra point attempts and 27 of 31 field goal attempts.[53] The Rams won the NFC West and earned the #2-seed in the NFC Playoffs.[54]

In the Divisional Round against the Dallas Cowboys, he converted three extra point attempts and three of four field goal attempts in the 30–22 victory.[55] In the 2019 NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints, Zuerlein was instrumental in the Rams' overtime win, hitting all four of his field goal attempts.[56] This included a 48-yard field goal near the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, and then a 57-yard field goal to win the game in sudden death overtime, sending his team to the Super Bowl LIII. The winning kick tied the record for the longest successful field goal in NFL overtime history.[57] In Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots, Zuerlein made a 53-yard field goal late in the third quarter to score the first Rams’ points and tie the game at 3–3. With 8 seconds left in the game and his team down 13–3, he missed a 48-yard field goal that would’ve set up his team for a desperation attempt to tie or win the game with an ensuing onside kick recovery and a Hail Mary pass. The Rams lost 3–13.[58]

NFL statisticsEdit

Regular season
General Field Goals PATs Kickoffs Points
Season Team GP FGM FGA FG% Blck Long XPM XPA XP% KO Avg TBs Pts
2012 STL 16 23 31 74.2% 0 60 26 26 100.0% 67 67.1 37 95
2013 STL 16 26 28 92.9% 0 54 34 34 100.0% 78 66.4 52 112
2014 STL 14 24 30 80.0% 1 56 34 35 97.1% 73 66.6 38 106
2015 STL 16 20 30 66.7% 3 61 26 28 92.9% 64 65.1 38 86
2016 LA 16 19 22 86.4% 0 54 23 23 100.0% 59 64.3 36 80
2017 LA 14 38 40 95.0% 0 56 44 46 95.7% 95 64.7 73 158
2018 LA 11 27 31 87.1% 0 56 35 36 97.2% 75 64.6 57 116
Career 103 177 212 83.5% 4 61 222 228 97.4% 511 65.5 331 753

NFL records and honorsEdit

  • NFC Special Teams Player of the Week – Week 4 (2012), Week 4 (2017), Week 1 (2018)
  • NFC Special Teams Player of the Month- October (2017), November (2017)
  • Longest field goal in Rams history: 61 yards[59]
  • Most 50-yard field goals attempted in a season: 13 (2012)
  • First player in NFL history to make a 60-yard field goal and a 50-plus-yard field goal in one game
  • First player in NFL history to make two field goals of 58+ yards in one game
  • Longest field goal in the first quarter: 58 yards (tied with Nick Lowery)
  • Longest field goal in the third quarter: 60 yards
  • Most 60+ yard field goals made in NFL history: 2 (tied with Sebastian Janikowski)[59]
  • Rams record for highest field goals in one game: 7 (surpassed Jeff Wilkins)
  • Most field goals per game, season – 2.79 (39 field goals/14 games), (2017)
  • Most games in a season with 14+ points – 7 (2017)

Personal lifeEdit

Zuerlein and his wife, Megan, have four young children.

Zuerlein was given the nickname "The Leg”.[60]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "St. Louis Rams official website". Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  2. ^ "OTL: UNO cuts sports". ESPN.com. May 6, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Associated Press. "Rams pick K Greg Zuerlein of Missouri Western in sixth round". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2012.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Sipple, Steven M. (April 28, 2012). "Pius X grad Zuerlein gets sixth-round call from Rams". Lincoln Journal Star. Journalstar.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  5. ^ "2012 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Associated Press (April 28, 2012). "St. Louis Rams to release veteran kicker Josh Brown – ESPN". Espn.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  7. ^ "St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions – September 9th, 2012". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Mayer, Larry (September 18, 2012). "Bears cruise behind strong defensive effort". Chicagobears.com. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  9. ^ "Greg Zuerlein makes St. Louis Rams-record 60-yard field goal". NFL.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Associated Press (September 30, 2012). "Greg Zuerlein makes St. Louis Rams-record 60-yard field goal". NFL.com. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Battista, Judy (October 20, 2012). "The Rams' Greg Zuerlein Has Potential of Record Proportions". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  12. ^ "2012 NFL Week 4 Leaders & Scores". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "NFL Football Highlights, Clips & Analysis - NFL.com". www.nfl.com.
  14. ^ "Greg Zuerlein's 54-yard field goal in overtime lifts St. Louis Rams past San Francisco 49ers – NY Daily News". nydailynews.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  15. ^ "2012 NFL Week 13 Leaders & Scores". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  16. ^ "Greg Zuerlein 2012 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams – September 8th, 2013". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  18. ^ "Greg Zuerlein 2013 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  19. ^ "2013 St. Louis Rams Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  20. ^ "St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – September 14th, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  21. ^ "Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams – November 16th, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "2014 NFL Week 11 Leaders & Scores". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
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  25. ^ "St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers – October 11th, 2015". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
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  28. ^ "California love: Rams head back to L.A. for '16". ESPN.com. January 13, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  29. ^ "'Legatron' agrees to 1-year deal to kick for Rams". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  30. ^ "Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers – September 12th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  31. ^ "Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams – September 18th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  32. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams – October 9th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  33. ^ "Greg Zuerlein 2016 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  34. ^ "2016 Los Angeles Rams Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  35. ^ "Rams COO: Fisher firing 'organizational failure'". ESPN.com. December 12, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  36. ^ "Rams make McVay youngest head coach at 30". ESPN.com. January 12, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  37. ^ Simmons, Myles (March 14, 2017). "Rams Agree to Terms with K Greg Zuerlein". TheRams.com.
  38. ^ "Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams – September 10th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  39. ^ "Player Game Finder Query". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  40. ^ "Deshaun Watson, Todd Gurley among Players of Week". NFL.com. October 4, 2017.
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  42. ^ Maya, Adam (November 15, 2017). "Tom Brady, Cam Newton among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  43. ^ Simmons, Myles (December 20, 2017). "Rams Place Greg Zuerlein on IR, Sign Ficken". TheRams.com.
  44. ^ Around the NFL staff (December 19, 2017). "NFL announces 2018 Pro Bowl rosters". NFL.com.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  45. ^ "Zuerlein Named November NFC Special Teams Player of the Month". www.therams.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  46. ^ "2017 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  47. ^ "2017 NFL Scoring Summary". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  48. ^ Teope, Herbie (September 12, 2018). "Mahomes, Fitzpatrick among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  49. ^ "Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein out 3–6 weeks with groin injury". Rams Wire. September 19, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  50. ^ "Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers – October 21st, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  51. ^ "Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams – November 19th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  52. ^ "San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams – December 30th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  53. ^ "Greg Zuerlein 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  54. ^ "2018 Los Angeles Rams Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  55. ^ "Divisional Round – Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams – January 12th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  56. ^ Shpigel, Ben; Cacciola, Scott; Schonbrun, Zach (January 20, 2019). "In the Din of the Dome, the Rams Beat the Saints in Overtime". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  57. ^ Just, Amie. "Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal longest game-winner in playoff history". nola.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  58. ^ "Super Bowl LIII – Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots – February 3rd, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  59. ^ a b "Greg Zuerlein makes 61-yard field goal". espn.go.com. November 8, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  60. ^ Beattie, Trent (November 12, 2016). "Kicking Field Goals From St. Louis to Los Angeles: Record-setting Rams' kicker Greg Zuerlein". National Catholic Register. EWTN News, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2016.

External linksEdit