The Patriots, more than any other franchise have found over the past decade or so, that you need a reliable kicker to when it counts most in the postseason.
With Adam Vinatieri on the Colts and Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve, Shayne Graham will have to be hero with the game on the line for the Patriots.
In his first season with the Patriots, Graham made all 12 of his field goals with the Patriots. However, he has never played a postseason game with a Patriots team that seems to more often than not find themselves in extremely tight playoff games. Those games, are often decided on the leg of the kicker.
So, it may be a bit of a red flag when you consider that Graham missed both of his field goals in the 2010 playoffs.
Those needing a reminder of how crucial the kicking game can be in games that matter most need to look no further than the college ranks. As we were reminded by Boise State kicker, Kyle Brotzman, the kicking game has the power to alter the outcome of a game in the final moments.
Boise State was no doubt a championship-caliber team, but their kicker ended any dreams of bringing home the title. It goes without saying that the Pats will need Graham to be more like Gostkowski, or perhaps even Vinatieri than Brotzman. Graham will likely get his chance to prove his merit ? earn his Patriots stripes so to speak ? at some point.
It?s a lot to put on the shoulders of a player who joined the team halfway into the season, but if history tells us anything, the Patriots will likely call on Shayne Graham at some point to continue his consistency from the regular season. It just may make the difference between whether or not the Patriots bring home the Lombardi Trophy.