|Birth Day:||January 28, 1984|
|Birth Place:||Baton Rouge, United States|
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He attended Madison Central High School in Wisconsin and was named All-State in football, soccer, and baseball.
Gostkowski graduated from Madison Central High School in Madison, Mississippi, in 2002. While there, he won four varsity letters each in football and soccer, and three in baseball, and was an All-State honoree in all three sports. Gostkowski holds the school record for longest field goal, a 55-yard kick. His teammates at Madison Central included current 49ers executive Parys Haralson and former Seahawks center Chris Spencer. His opponents included former Atlanta Falcons running back Jerious Norwood, who returned one of Gostkowski's kickoffs from two yards deep in the end zone; Gostkowski raced him down at the 25-yard line to prevent a touchdown.
In the AFC Divisional Playoffs against the San Diego Chargers, Gostkowski made three of three field goals, including a 50-yard kick that was the longest successful kick in Patriots postseason history. He also made a 34-yarder in the third quarter and a 31-yard kick with 1:10 left in the fourth that made him only the third NFL rookie to attempt a game-winning playoff kick in the fourth quarter or overtime. (One of the others was Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding, who missed his attempt in the 2004 playoffs; in this game, Kaeding missed a potential game-tying 54-yarder in the closing seconds.) Gostkowski also converted his only extra point attempt of the game following a Jabar Gaffney touchdown in the second quarter.
Gostkowski attended the University of Memphis, where he played for the Memphis Tigers football team and majored in exercise and sports science. Gostkowski received an athletic scholarship to play baseball for Memphis, and was a walk-on for the football team. He finished his college career with a total of 369 points, a school record, and 13th overall in NCAA Division I-A history, converting 70 of 92 field goals and 159 of 165 extra points (PATs) during his Tiger career. His 70 field goals and 159 extra points both set school records previously held by Joe Allison (1990–1993). He earned first team All-Conference USA honors in both his junior and senior years and was named Conference USA's Special Teams Player of the Year in 2005.
In 2005, his senior season, Gostkowski handled kickoff duties for Memphis and had 39 touchbacks on 68 kickoffs. Gostkowski did so using a one-inch tee (the height of NFL tees), rather than the two-inch tees allowed by the NCAA at the time. Thus, NFL talent scouts could more accurately project his potential.
In a 2005 game against Houston, Gostkowski managed the rare feat of recovering his own onside kick.
While Gostkowski struggled early in his rookie season—he had two consecutive kicks blocked—his kickoffs were noticeably longer than were Vinatieri's in his last season in Foxborough. During the 2006 season, he averaged 65.5 yards per kickoff with a return average of 23 yards, and a total of 12 touchbacks. (By comparison, in 2005, Vinatieri's average kickoff was just 61.6 yards, though playing in a dome in 2006 he averaged 65.8 yards.) Gostkowski also outperformed opposing teams on field goals: Gostkowski made 20 of 26 kicks (76.9%), while opposing kickers made just 22 of 30 (73.3%). Gostkowski's rookie season was statistically about the same as Vinatieri's: Vinatieri converted 27 of 35 kicks (77.3%), but missed three extra points (39/42). In Week 17, he missed an extra point attempt for the first time in his NFL career.
During the preseason, Gostkowski made a 60-yard field goal against the Carolina Panthers; had it been a regular-season or postseason game, it would have been the longest field goal in Patriots history (Adam Vinatieri held the record, with a 57-yard field goal against the Chicago Bears in 2002). Gostkowski scored three field goals against the Oakland Raiders in a 16–9 Week 3 victory; coincidentally, all the points in that game were scored by players whose names ended in "-kowski": all of Oakland's points were scored by Sebastian Janikowski, while the only touchdown in the game was scored by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. In the Patriots' Week 15 41–13 rout of the Miami Dolphins, Gostkowski broke the Patriots' career scoring mark set by Vinatieri in 2005, doing so in just his 134th game as a Patriot.
Gostkowski was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft with the 118th overall pick. He was the first of two placekickers to be selected that year. During the Patriots' 2006 training camp, he competed with veteran kicker Martín Gramática, who the Patriots had signed as a free agent after Adam Vinatieri signed with the Indianapolis Colts. On August 23, 2006, before their third preseason game, the Patriots cut Gramática, and gave the job to rookie Gostkowski. Since Gramática's release, Gostkowski has not faced any competition for his job.
During the 2006 preseason, Gostkowski was perfect on field goals and extra points, going 9-for-9 and 11-for-11, respectively, for a total of 38 points. His longest field goal was a 54-yard attempt against the New York Giants in the last preseason game. On November 26, 2006, Gostkowski made the longest regular-season kick of his young career, a 52-yard kick against the Chicago Bears, which is also the longest kick ever made at Gillette Stadium. Gostkowski finished the 2006 season as the highest-scoring rookie, with 103 points (20 field goals and 43 extra points), edging out the 96 points scored by Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Gostkowski finished the season with 143 points, five short of his career high in 2007; he made 28 of 33 field goals and all 59 of his extra-point attempts. Gostkowski was one of two kickers to score five or more points in every game in 2011 (the other was David Akers), and the third player in NFL history to manage the feat (Gary Anderson also did it in 1998).
In December 2008, Gostkowski was selected for his first Pro Bowl appearance as the AFC kicker; his selection was the result of the players' and coaches' votes, as he did not finish in the top five in fan voting. The Associated Press also voted him to the All-Pro First Team for the first time; he received 28 of the 50 votes for kicker.
Gostkowski and his wife Hallie met when they were both attending the University of Memphis; they married in 2008. Hallie works as a nurse at a Boston hospital and the couple lives in Wrentham, Massachusetts with their sons Slayden and Gannon as well as a daughter, who was born in 2016.
Gostkowski's contract expired after the 2009 season, which normally would have made him an unrestricted free agent. As a result of the expiring NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement, however, Gostkowski became a restricted free agent; the Patriots offered him $1,759,000 for the 2010 season. Gostkowski signed the tender on April 17. On August 26, 2010, the Patriots signed Gostkowski to a four-year extension, which added four years to his one-year tender contract; the extension gave him $14 million from 2011 to 2014, with $5 million guaranteed.
In the 2012 season, Gostkowski converted all 66 extra point attempts and 29-of-35 field goal attempts. In Week 11, in the 59–24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, he tied his career high, with eight extra points converted to go along with a 31-yard field goal. With 153 total points scored, he won the scoring title for the 2012 season.
In the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Gostkowski was a perfect 3–3, including the 35-yard game winning attempt. In week 12 against Peyton Manning and the high-scoring Denver Broncos, Gostkowski made both his field goal attempts, including the game winning 31-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in overtime. Gostkowski set a franchise record for the New England Patriots for most field goals in a season with 38 field goals made out of 41 attempts. During the AFC Divisional game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 11, 2014, Gostkowski took over the role of punter for the Patriots after regular punter Ryan Allen was injured during the second quarter, averaging 41.8 yards per punt. On January 20, 2014, he was named to his second Pro Bowl, replacing Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater, who was playing in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Gostkowski was named one of two starting kickers for the 2015 Pro Bowl (along with Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey); it was Gostkowski's third consecutive nomination, and fourth overall. Gostkowski was also named the kicker on the 2015 AP All-Pro first team, receiving 47 of 50 votes; Bailey received the other three votes.
During the 2016 offseason, the NFL changed the rule on kickoffs so that touchbacks would grant the offense an extra five yards, with possessions starting at the 25-yard line rather than the 20-yard line. The Patriots took advantage of Gostkowski's ability to deliver "mortar kicks" that have a long hang time but land inside the field of play, which then forces the opposing team to attempt to return the kick. In the Patriots' Week 1 upset of the Arizona Cardinals, the Patriots used such a kick to force the Cardinals to start their final drive, which ended in a missed field goal, at their own eight-yard line. While against the Houston Texans in Week 3, the Patriots forced two fumbles on such kickoffs. He earned Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 13 for making all four field goal attempts including three over 45 yards and converted two extra points.
In the 2017 regular season, Gostkowski was 45-of-47 on extra point attempts and 37-of-40 on field goal attempts. His 156 points was the second highest total of any player in the NFL, behind only the Los Angeles Rams' Greg Zuerlein. It was the fifth time Gostkowski had eclipsed the 150-point mark in his career.
On April 9, 2019, Gostkowski re-signed with the Patriots on a two-year, $8.5 million deal.
On October 2, 2019, as a result of a left hip injury he sustained, Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve for the second time in his 14-year career. Mike Nugent was signed as his replacement, but eventually released. Nick Folk was brought in to assume the kicking duties, but was then also released and replaced by Kai Forbath. Folk eventually ended up being re-signed by the Patriots as their main kicker.
On March 23, 2020, Gostkowski was released by the Patriots after 14 seasons with the team.
On September 3, 2020, the Tennessee Titans signed Gostkowski. Gostkowski was a teammate of Titans head coach, Mike Vrabel, from 2006 to 2008 when Vrabel played linebacker for the Patriots. In the season opener against the Denver Broncos, Gostkowski struggled, missing three field goals and an extra point. However, with 17 seconds left in the game, Gostkowski kicked a game-winning field goal, putting the Titans up 16–14. In Week 2 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gostkowski made three of four extra point attempts and two field goal attempts, including a 49-yard game-winner late in the fourth quarter. Gostkowski was crucial to the Titans' Week 3 win versus the Minnesota Vikings, making all six of his field goals, including another game-winner late in the fourth quarter, this time from 55 yards out. He was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Week 3. On October 1, 2020, Gostkowski was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for his performance in September.
On October 25, 2020, Gostkowski missed a 45 yard game-tying field goal with 19 seconds left in the 4th quarter in a 24–27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Had Gostkowski made the kick, the game would have likely been sent into overtime.
Currently, Stephen Gostkowski is 37 years, 8 months and 28 days old. Stephen Gostkowski will celebrate 38th birthday on a Friday 28th of January 2022.
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