New England Patriots: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

20. player. 47. . K. (2006-present). Stephen Gostkowski

  • 2x Super Bowl Champion (XLIX, LI)
  • 4x Pro Bowl (2008, 2013-15)
  • 2x First-Team All-Pro (2008, 2015)
  • Second-Team All-Pro (2014)
  • NFL record for most consecutive PATs made (479)

Yes, the Patriots have three kickers that have cracked the top-20 in the all-time greatest players debate. Deal with it, as both have been spectacular for New England. The first placekicker we’ll touch on today is the incumbent Stephen Gostkowski.

New England used a fourth-round pick to select Gostkowski in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Memphis. He was brought in to be the heir apparent to Adam Vinatieri, who the Patriots had decided against using the franchise tag on him for the second straight season. Vinatieri is still doing his kicking thing for the rival Indianapolis Colts of the AFC South.

Will huge field goal kicking shoes to fill, Gostkowski has done just about everything right as the focal point of the Patriots’ special teams unit for the last decade plus. He was part of the high-octane offense that was the 2007 AFC Championship team. Though New England didn’t win the Super Bowl that year, Gostkowski would begin to enter his prime the next season.

He made his first career trip to the Pro Bowl in 2008, earning First-Team All-Pro honors as well. While the Patriots would fall again to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl in 2011, Gostkowski continued to be a model of consistency in the Patriots kicking game. He made his second trip to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and helped the Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX over the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

Gostkowski capped off that 2014 campaign with his third career trip to the Pro Bowl, earning Second-Team All-Pro honors as well. He would have another great season in 2015, as he made his fourth Pro Bowl and his second All-Pro First-Team.

Gostkowski earned his second Super Bowl ring as a part of the 2016 team that came back from 28-3 to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Houston in Super Bowl LI. To date, Gostkowski has four Pro Bowls, three All-Pro selections and two Lombardi trophies. And he’s only in his mid-30s.

Who’s to say that Gostkowski is hanging up the spikes any time soon? I mean, Vinatieri is still kicking for the Colts and the internet didn’t exist while he was in college at South Dakota State. But has Gostkowski surpassed Vinatieri in Patriots’ lore? Not exactly.

Sure, Gostkowski is only one Super Bowl win off Vinatieri’s pace, but has put up a larger body of work in New England that his predecessor. Vinatieri is a no-doubt Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee whenever he does call it a career.

Gostkowski is close, but still remains in Vinatieri’s placekicking shadow in New England. Even if Gostkowski did set a record for most consecutive PATs made at 479, he in a way is still chasing Vinatieri in Foxborough.