Lost in the Jay Cutler media frenzy, there sat Robbie Gould. He had just kicked the Bears to an improbable 17-14 win over the defending Super Bowl-champ Pittsburgh Steelers via a pressure-packed 44-yard field goal...in the rain.
Yet Gould, who deserved a healthy portion of the credit, escaped Soldier Field relatively unnoticed, somehow dodging applause from the city's newspaper writers the following day. All the credit went to Jay Cutler for notching his first win as the Bears' starting quarterback.
As a fan or member of the media, I don't blame you for focusing on the storylines involving the Bears' prized quarterback. Let's face it, it was a HUGE story after everything that happened in the offseason. But even though Cutler may seem like the Bears' "Golden Boy," I think I can make a case for someone else on the 53-man roster. Someone who does his job better than anyone else on the team when it comes to consistency. Someone who pronounces his last name GOLD.
You got it. Robbie "Solid" Gould.
Upon entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Penn State, Gould failed to catch on with the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens. But an injury to Bears kicker Doug Brien in 2005 paved the way for a "Gould Rush" in Chicago. In fact, just six weeks after making his Bears debut, Gould kicked his first game-winning field goal in a victory over the Saints.
Ever since his big break in Chicago, Gould has been arguably the Bears most consistent player. Sure, it's easy to say that he has the lightest of all NFL jobs...but I don't buy that. I would argue that the ups-and-downs and the pressure associated with the job make it a rather stressful one. As we've seen before with countless kickers, if you screw up, you could be out of a job rather quickly.
Since 2005, Gould hasn't had to look over his shoulder, though. Why? Well, because the guy flat-out performs the way he is expected to on Sundays. He has converted over 88% of his field goals since the beginning of his Pro-Bowl season in 2006. More importantly, when it matters most, Gould can be counted on. Despite the toughest of conditions, Sunday's heroics against the Steelers shouldn't surprise anybody. It's just what he does.
In my opinion, Gould's consistency and consummate professionalism make him an easy candidate for the title of the Chicago Bears' "Golden Boy"...and his name makes it kind of a fun proposition anyway.
Jay Cutler is a great quarterback, and as a Bears fan, I can't tell you how happy I am to have him on my team after years of quarterback deprivation. But I'm saying that Robbie Gould should get a whole lot more credit, not just for his game-winner against the Steelers, but for his steady career as the Bears' kicker.
Go ahead, look at Gould's career stats. The guy has been both consistent and clutch.
Kickers DO matter, especially when you have one that is solid as "Gould."