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FRISCO, Texas -- The NFL's kicker position has long had a clear number one in the Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker. His 90.2% career field goal percentage ranks as the highest of all time among qualified kickers (100 career field goal attempts), and his five First-Team All-Pro nods are the most at the position in NFL history. 

However, Tucker didn't wear the crown in 2023, ceding it to Dallas Cowboys first-year kicker Brandon Aubrey, a 28-year-old former MLS soccer player and USFL kicker who was a software engineer as recently as 2021. Aubrey earned the 2023 season's First-Team All-Pro kicker spot by draining an NFL-best 36 field goals on 38 attempts as he made each of his first 35 in a row, shattering the previous record for most made field goals without a miss to start a career by 17. That record was held by former Cleveland Browns kicker Travis Coons' 18 set back in 2015. 

"It's a testament to the whole unit," Aubrey said Thursday about his accolades this season. "Field goal is a team sport. So, going out there and making all of our kicks as a unit has been good, hope to keep it going in postseason."  

He even approached the record for the most made field goals in a season without a miss, but his pursuit of history went awry on his first attempt of the Cowboys' 38-10 Week 18 win. 

Most made FGs in an NFL season without a miss
NFL history



Mike Vanderjagt** (Colts)



Brandon Aubrey** (Cowboys)



Gary Anderson** (Vikings)


** Named to First-Team All-Pro, Pro Bowl teams

Commanders rookie defensive end Joshua Pryor blew through the middle of the Dallas line to swat Aubrey's first kick of the game into the ground with both hands. 

"First on the block, they had a nice rush to be honest with you," Cowboys special teams coordinator John Fassel said Monday. "They just knock one guy down and they pull one guy out and then they hit the chute. There's a lot of clean up for us on field goal protection for sure."  

Aubrey's next kick after that resulted in his first true miss of the season as he doinked the attempt off the left upright. 

"On the miss where he hit the upright, he just miss hit it," Fassel said. "There were some wind factors, but that wasn't the reason why. He just came off the field to say he kind of wrapped his toe and one of his only two he felt he mishit all year. That one missed. The other one he felt like he missed, he actually made it a couple of weeks ago." 

The Pro Bowler knew he was going to miss his second attempt the moment the ball and his foot connected because something felt off, a feeling many can relate to when swinging a golf club or hitting a tennis ball. 

"I just wrapped my toe around it, pulled it left a little bit. It was a little left of center line," Aubrey said. That's the way the wind was blowing. Might have gotten away with it indoors, but there is no telling. Bad kick. I could feel it off of my foot that it wasn't going to be a good kick. You can get away with it sometimes. When I do something that not what I want to do, I feel it immediately. I try not to think it about it too much, not let if factor into the next kick. Just diagnose the problem really quick, acknowledge what happened and move on. So just get back to that process. There might have been a little lack of focus on the ball, little peripherals came into play a little bit too much. So back in the process and make sure we make the next one."

Aubrey's regular-season finale didn't end with him in the dumps. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy went of his way to make sure that was the case. With the Dallas backups in the game in the fourth quarter and the team ahead 35-10, McCarthy called consecutive pass plays on second-and-10 and third-and-10 right after the two-minute warning. Backup quarterback Cooper Rush completed the first pass to seventh-round rookie wideout Jalen Brooks for a yard and failed to connect with second-year receiver Jalen Tolbert

That sequence of plays stooped the clock with 1:16 remaining with the Cowboys facing fourth down and nine from the Commanders' 32. Aubrey proceeded to drill his third and final attempt of the game 50 yards right down the middle for make number 36. 

"I felt like you guys would criticize my play-calling there at the end, but really it was to get Brandon an opportunity," McCarthy said Monday. "I wanted him to get one more before we got out of there last night. The block was unfortunate, we had a breakdown there in the protection. Then, the second one hits the bar. I think all that came out of it was we realized Brandon is human. The human thing to do was to give him another trip to the plate. I'm glad we were able to do that for him."

Fassel likened the coaching staff's desire to line Aubrey up one last time to how those who consider themselves hoopers wrap up a basketball shooting sessions: with a make. 

"It was great to get the last kick, the 50-yarder, and end on a make," Fassel said. "Not that he needed it, but it just felt good to line up one more time and see it go through, like playing basketball. You like to finish on a make. Just another adventurous day on special teams."

The idea to get Aubrey that last kick began to develop just before the two-minute warning thanks to a conversation between Fassel and McCarthy. 

"We had a conversation, I think it was right around the two-minute warning," Fassel said. "Coach [McCarthy] was great. He was going to run it to get the first down, and then the game is over. If we didn't, we wouldn't be too upset because we want to load him up, right about in that 50-yard-line range. I honestly do not feel like we needed it, but because it happened, it feels good. It was kind of maybe just a positive way to end the game. I really don't think, you didn't feel like Brandon needed it or his teammates were kind of like 'oh my gosh, here we go again' mentality. I didn't feel bad, but it sure felt good to load it up one more time. Credit to Brandon. To miss one kick, really two, and then stay warm the whole game with a minute left in the game and the game is over. Then, to get back out there, stay locked in and focused on a 50-yard field goal where the conditions weren't perfect and to hit probably his purest ball he did hit all season. That was Brandon's word. It did feel good."  

The first-year kicker felt like he was battling with the wind when he lined up for his final attempt of the regular season, but he was able to lock back in and conclude the regular season on a high note. 

"Yeah, with a little bit of wind pushing left on the field to hit a ball from 50 and have it go just straight down the middle the whole way," Aubrey said. "That's a good kick and something I got back to my normal form, normal process and was able to put a good ball on film. It's good to go out there and make the last kick of the regular season. I appreciate it." 

Besides Aubrey's near-robotic excellence at field goal kicking, one of the things his coaches appreciate the most about him is his ability to digest when there is an issue, have a calm conversation about it and keeping moving forward. That was certainly the case for Aubrey when his record-breaking run of makes came to an end on Sunday. 

"After the block, there really wasn't much of a conversation," Fassel said. "It's just like 'damn, sorry man that [the streak] ended on that one.' On the miss, I went up to him and just said 'how did the operation feel and how did it feel like off your foot?' He just described to me exactly what happened. It was actually pretty matter of fact. It wasn't like 'ok man man are you doing alright?' With Brandon, there isn't a requirement to do any of that. To go back on the field one more time, and Coach [McCarthy] gave us another chance was a good way to end up on."  

Not getting down in the dumps when things don't go his way on the field is an attribute Aubrey makes a concerted effort to have. 

"That's important to me," Aubrey said. "Obviously, you don't want to miss multiple field goals in a game and technically did that in that game. So people looking at the stats would be like 'wow, it's a rough game', but you can't let one play cascade into another play. So just acknowledge what happened, diagnose the problem. "

He also doesn't feel like he has done himself or the second-seeded Cowboys a service by snapping his streak prior to their postseason opener on Sunday against the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers

"I wasn't really too concerned about it," Aubrey said. "I just wanted to go out there and win the game and that was a big turning point in the game, I felt like the momentum really shifted, so more concerned about getting out there and just making sure we get that win, which we did. So overall happy with it going out there and making the last rep, making all the extra points had some good kickoffs. So I wasn't overly concerned about the streak when it was alive and not overly concerned with it now."

The reason why he isn't concerned about the streak is because in his mind, each field goal attempt is its own separate entity.  

"Yeah,  you want to make all your kicks and, like I've said, a million times each kick is independent of the last," Aubrey said. "So you never want to miss any kick, postseason, regular season up by 40 or down by 40. You just, you just want to make a kick as a kicker. So I wouldn't say there's more pressure or less pressure on the playoffs because you're perfect or  even if you've missed 10 field goals. For me, each game feels like an individual thing and I want to go out there and" make sure I put my best performance on tape."

His 2023 tape is the best Dallas has seen from a kicker in multiple generations. Aubrey is just the Cowboys'  fourth First-Team All-Pro kicker in franchise history and the first since Richie Cunningham in the 1997 season. 

"Well, I'd like to sit here and tell you we know exactly what we're doing, that's for sure," McCarthy said Friday when asked about signing Aubrey out of the USFL this past offseason. "I think just so much has to be said about trusting in your evaluation process and obviously giving a young man a chance. But at the end of the day, I mean, he's the one that's done the work. He's taken this opportunity and has performed at the highest level ever for a first-year kicker. So I can't say enough about him. Obviously, the physical talent that is his fine motor skillset of how he strikes the ball that was evident from the get go. You can see that right away in training camp. But gosh, his discipline and his emotional and spiritual consistency has just been so fun to watch. It's a joy. Really the whole special teams, particularly the battery of (long-snapper) Trent Siegh and BAnger [punter and holder Bryan Anger].These guys, they're so consistent with what they do, and that's so important in that trio to have that.I can't say enough good things about Brandon."