Thomas Morstead

Thomas James Morstead (born March 8, 1986) is an American football punter for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played college football at SMU.

Thomas Morstead
refer to caption
Morstead with the New Orleans Saints in 2012
No. 6 – New Orleans Saints
Position:Punter
Personal information
Born:March 8, 1986 (age 33)
Houston, Texas
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school:Pearland (Pearland, Texas)
College:Southern Methodist
NFL Draft:2009 / Round: 5 / Pick: 164
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 12, 2018
Punts:551
Punting yards:25,866
Gross punting average:46.9
Inside 20:192
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Morstead was born in Houston, Texas and was raised in a nearby suburb of Pearland, Texas. He has one brother, Patrick. He attended Pearland High School and won varsity letters in football and soccer. In football, as a senior, Morstead received second-team All-District honors and was named the Brazoria County Special Teams MVP. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, adding Academic All-State honors.[1]

College career

Morstead enrolled at Southern Methodist in 2004, turning down scholarship offers from Texas Christian, Rice, Texas and Missouri, but spent the season as a redshirt. He was a member of the Conference USA's Academic Honor Roll in 2005, but never appeared in a game.[2] Morstead took over place-kicking and punting chores in 2006, earning All-Conference USA third-team honors. He led the league and ranked 15th in the nation in punting, averaging 43.82 yards on 50 attempts, the best average by an SMU punter since Craig James averaged 44.9 yards in 1982. He made 13 of 18 field goals and 34 of 35 extra points for a total of 73 points. He also recorded one solo tackle.[3]

As a sophomore, Morstead was a consensus All-Conference USA first-team pick and also gained league academic honors. He again led C-USA and finished eighth nationally with a 44.65-yard average, as the Mustangs also ranked fourth in the NCAA with a 39.33-yard net average. He scored 82 points and set the league single-season record by making all 43 PAT attempts, as he also connected on 13 of 20 field goals. Morstead concentrated more on directional punting in 2008. The All-Conference USA honorable mention averaged a career-low 41.78 yards on 59 punts, but only 19 were returned, as the Mustangs placed third in the league with a 37.22-yard net average. He made 11 of 15 field goals, 29 of 30 extra points and amassed 62 points. Morstead missed three kicks inside of 40 yards in 2008, four in both 2006 and 2007.[4]

Professional career

Morstead was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 164th overall selection by the New Orleans Saints.[5] He was the second punter chosen in 2009, after Kevin Huber (by the Cincinnati Bengals).[6]

Morstead beat out Glenn Pakulak for the Saints' punting job in 2009. He played a critical role in the Saints' victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Morstead executed an onside kick during the second half kickoff. The Saints recovered the ball and were able to convert that possession into a touchdown and a 13–10 lead. The Saints would eventually win the game 31–17. After the game, Morstead stated that while he was excited about executing the play, he was also terrified knowing that if the play was not executed perfectly, the Colts would have likely recovered the ball with a shot of extending their 10–6 lead.[7] He currently holds the record for most kickoff touchbacks in one game (9 in a 62–7 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts on October 23, 2011)[8] and the record for the most touchbacks in a single season (68 in 2011).[9]

In July 2012, the Saints signed Morstead to a six-year extension stated to be worth $21.9 million, making him the second highest paid punter in the league (after Shane Lechler of the Oakland Raiders).[9] He went on to have an outstanding season, leading the league (with a record-setting pace through 15 games) in net punting yardage, and was elected to the Pro Bowl.[10]

Before the 2014 season, Morstead was selected as the Saints' special teams captain,[11] and he retained the title in 2015.[12]

In the NFC Divisional game versus the Minnesota Vikings, Morstead tore cartilage in his rib cage after making a tackle in the first quarter. Vikings' fans were impressed by the toughness and sportsmanship Morstead displayed in the eventual defeat, so a Vikings-dedicated Reddit group donated more than $140,000 to his charity in less than 24 hours.[13]

On March 16, 2018, Morstead signed a five-year contract extension with the Saints.[14]

References

  1. ^ "National Football League: NFL Draft 2009 - Thomas Morstead". NFL.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  2. ^ "Pro College Football Scouting". procollegefootball.blogspot.com. October 22, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "2008 Football Roster - 15 - Thomas Morstead". smumustangs.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  4. ^ "Thomas Morstead, Southern Methodist, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com". CBSSports.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  5. ^ "Thomas Morstead | Southern Methodist, P : 2009 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". www.nfldraftscout.com. September 21, 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "Kevin Huber News, Stats, Photos | Cincinnati Bengals". www.sbnation.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  7. ^ Hart, Jay (February 8, 2010). "Saints' onside decision 'terrified' rookie kicker". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Graves, Kandace (November 19, 2011). "Raffle for Thomas Morstead prize package ends Sunday". bestofneworleans.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Thomas Morstead, Saints agree". ESPN.com. July 26, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  10. ^ Hogan, Nakia (December 26, 2012). "New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead, guard Jahri Evans named to NFC Pro Bowl squad". NOLA.com. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  11. ^ Yellin, Lyons (September 1, 2014). "New Orleans Saints name Junior Galette, four others team captains". WWLTV.com. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  12. ^ Terrell, Katherine (September 10, 2015). "New Orleans Saints vote three new captains for 2015 season". NOLA.com. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Duncan, Jeff (January 18, 2018). "Contributions to Thomas Morstead's foundation soar past $150,000 mark". NOLA.com. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Gantt, Darin (March 16, 2018). "Saints extend punter Thomas Morstead". ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com.

External links

2009 NFL Draft

The 2009 NFL Draft was the seventy-fourth annual meeting of National Football League (NFL) franchises to select newly eligible football players. The draft took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, on April 25 and 26, 2009. The draft consisted of two rounds on the first day starting at 4:00 pm EDT, and five rounds on the second day starting at 10:00 am EDT. To compensate for the time change from the previous year and in an effort to help shorten the draft, teams were no longer on the clock for 15 minutes in the first round and 10 minutes in the second round. Each team now had 10 minutes to make their selection in the first round and seven minutes in the second round. Rounds three through seven were shortened to five minutes per team. This was the first year that the NFL used this format and it was changed again the following year for the 2010 NFL Draft. The 2009 NFL Draft was televised by both NFL Network and ESPN and was the first to have cheerleaders. The Detroit Lions, who became the first team in NFL history to finish a season at 0–16, used the first selection in the draft to select University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford.It was the first draft since 1983 that saw two centers being selected in the first round—Alex Mack at No. 21 to the Browns, and Eric Wood at No. 28 to the Bills. It was also the first time since the 1993 draft that a player from the University of Miami (FL) was not selected in the first round. As of the end of the 2018 season, the 2009 Draft has seen 11 of the 32 first-round selections make the Pro Bowl, and 27 (including three punters) in total for the entire class. It has been referred to as one of the worst drafts in league history.

2009 New Orleans Saints season

The 2009 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 43rd season in the National Football League (NFL). It was the most successful season in franchise history, culminating with a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints recorded a franchise record 13 regular season victories (later tied in the 2011 and 2018 seasons), an improvement on their 8–8 record and fourth-place finish in the National Football Conference (NFC)'s southern division from 2008. As a result, the Saints advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. For head coach Sean Payton, this was his fourth season with the franchise, commanding a club overall record of 36–24, though it also marked the first year of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal that would ultimately result in his unprecedented (for a coach) one-year suspension from the league.With a victory over the Carolina Panthers on November 8, the Saints jumped out to an 8–0 start, the best in franchise history. They went on to set the record for the longest undefeated season opening (13–0) by an NFC team since the AFL–NFL merger, eclipsing the previous record (12–0) held by the 1985 Chicago Bears. This record has since been tied by the 2011 Green Bay Packers and surpassed by the 2015 Carolina Panthers. Despite losing the last three games of the season to finish 13–3, the team clinched a playoff berth, a first-round bye and—for the first time ever—the top seed in the NFC. The Saints defeated Kurt Warner and the defending NFC Champions Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Divisional playoffs, and proceeded to host the NFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history. There, they defeated Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in overtime, then went on to face Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts at Super Bowl XLIV in the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl appearance. The Saints won the Super Bowl 31–17, giving the city of New Orleans its first NFL championship. The Saints are the first team to defeat three former Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in a row in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl. The Saints, along with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are the only teams to go to one Super Bowl and win it.

Although five Saints were elected to the Pro Bowl (with two others added as injury replacements), since the game was held one week prior to Super Bowl XLIV, they did not participate.

2009 Senior Bowl

The 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl was an all-star college football exhibition game featuring players from the 2008 college football season, and prospects for the 2009 Draft of the professional National Football League (NFL).

The game was played on January 24, 2009, at 6 p.m. local time at Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The South defeated the North, 35–18, and quarterback Pat White of the South team was named game's Most Valuable Player (MVP). Various players were seen to have either improved or harmed their NFL draft prospects through their play in the game and the week leading up to the competition, which was closely monitored by NFL scouts and the media.Coverage of the event was in high-definition on the NFL Network.

2012 All-Pro Team

There are three 2012 All-Pro Teams—one each named by the Associated Press (AP), Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA), and Sporting News—for performance in the 2012 NFL season. While none of these have the official imprimatur of the NFL (whose official recognition is nomination to the 2013 Pro Bowl), they are included (separately) in the NFL Record and Fact Book. Any player selected to any of the teams can be described as an "All-Pro."

The AP team, with first- and second-team selections, was chosen by a national panel of 50 NFL writers; the Sporting News selection process used a panel of 27 NFL coaches and executives, while the PFWA team is chosen by polling its 300+ members.

2012 New Orleans Saints season

The 2012 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 46th season in the National Football League, and the 37th with home games at the Superdome. It was going to be the seventh season under head coach Sean Payton; however, he was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2012 season as part of the punishment for the team's bounty scandal. On April 12, 2012, linebackers coach Joe Vitt was named interim head coach to replace Sean Payton while he served his one-year suspension. On August 22, 2012, it was announced that Aaron Kromer would take over while Vitt himself served a six-game suspension to start the regular season. The Saints attempted to make history as the first host team to play the Super Bowl on their own home field, but they were eliminated from post-season contention for the first time since 2008 in Week 16. The Saints set an NFL record for most yards given up by a defense, 7,042 yards, surpassing the 1981 Baltimore Colts record of 6,793 yards.

2013 Pro Bowl

The 2013 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's sixty-third annual all-star game which featured players from the 2012 season. It took place at 2:30 pm Hawaii–Aleutian Time (UTC−10:00; 7:30 pm Eastern Time) on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The game was televised nationally by NBC in place of CBS. The game was delayed for 30 minutes due to flash flood warnings.John Fox of the AFC West Denver Broncos led the AFC "home team" against a "visiting" NFC team that was coached by the Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy of the NFC North. These coaches were selected for coaching the highest seeded team to lose in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, which has been the convention since the 2009 Pro Bowl. Ed Hochuli was the game referee.Players on the winning team (NFC) each earned $50,000, while players on the losing team (AFC) earned $25,000.The Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers had the most Pro Bowl selections with nine. The Kansas City Chiefs, despite only winning two games, had six selections. Six teams, the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Diego Chargers, had no selections. Three rookie quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson) were selected, which is the most in Pro Bowl history.

2019 New Orleans Saints season

The 2019 New Orleans Saints season will be franchise's 53rd season in the National Football League, the 44th to host games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the thirteenth under head coach Sean Payton. The Saints will try to improve on their 13–3 record, after losing in the NFC Championship to the Los Angeles Rams, which included a controversial pass interference no-call on the Rams defense, and try to make it to the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl XLIV.

Brandon Fields

Brandon David Fields (born May 21, 1984) is a former American football punter who played nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Michigan State University, and earned consensus All-American honors. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He has also played for the New Orleans Saints.

Chris Reis

Chris Reis (born September 19, 1983) played as an American football safety for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He played college football at Georgia Tech and played high school football for Roswell High School. In 2007, he also played in the NFL Europe as Safety for the Cologne Centurions where he was named to the 2007 NFL Europe All-World Team.

Reis played a central role in a crucial play during Super Bowl XLIV. With the Saints trailing the Indianapolis Colts 10-6 at the beginning of the second half, Saints head coach Sean Payton unexpectedly called for an onside kick by rookie punter and kickoff specialist Thomas Morstead. The kick bounced off the Colts' Hank Baskett, and a fierce battle for the ball ensued. The officials eventually ruled that the Saints had recovered the ball: although Jonathan Casillas was officially credited with the recovery, Casillas and other Saints players said it was actually Reis who did so. The play was considered a key turning point in the Saints' eventual 31-17 win.Reis suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4 of the 2010 season and was put on IR afterwards. Reis was cut from the New Orleans Saints on September 3, 2011Reis is a Christian.

Holder (gridiron football)

In American football and Canadian football, the holder is the player who receives the snap from the long snapper during field goal or extra point attempts made by the placekicker. The holder is set on one knee eight yards behind the line-of-scrimmage. Before the play begins he places the hand which is closest to the place kicker on the ground in a location designated by the kickers foot (In high school games, the holder/kicker combo is responsible for a kicking block, which lifts the ball off the turf), with his forward hand ready to receive the snap. After receiving the snap, the holder will place the football on the turf, or block, ideally with the laces facing the uprights and the ball accurately placed where the back hand was initially, then balancing the ball with one or two fingers until the ball is kicked.

The holder, like the placekicker and the long snapper, is protected from intentional contact from the opposing team. The penalty for roughing the holder is 15 yards and an automatic first down.

Kickoff specialist

A kickoff specialist is a seldom-used position in gridiron football. Kickoff specialists are members of the special teams. They are responsible for kicking the ball in the kickoff. These players tend to have a strong leg, often capable of making touchbacks, and capable of keeping a ball in the bounds of the field of play but do not have the accuracy or technique required to be a full-time placekicker or punter. Some kickoff specialists later become full-time placekickers, while some are marginal placekickers who are soon out of football.

Due to modern roster restrictions (and a 2016 rule change discouraging the kicking of touchbacks by awarding the receiving team possession at the 25-yard line instead of the 20), most NFL teams do not elect to have a kickoff specialist, and instead use their placekickers (or, less often, punters) on kickoffs. The most recent NFL kickoff specialist was Jordan Gay, who played the position for the Buffalo Bills under special teams coach Danny Crossman from 2014 to 2016. Prior to Gay's being claimed off waivers, Buffalo's kickoff duties were handled by Billy Cundiff and John Potter, who likewise were kickoff specialists during their time in Buffalo; for 2017, the team brought in former high school kicking phenom Austin Rehkow as a contender for the position but opted not to use a kickoff specialist that year. Other players who have spent at least some time as kickoff specialist for an NFL team since 2006 include Steven Hauschka, Rhys Lloyd, David Buehler, and Todd Carter. As of the end of the 2014 NFL season, punters Thomas Morstead, Matt Bosher, Sam Martin, Pat McAfee, and Michael Koenen handle kickoffs. There is at least one example of a backup quarterback serving as a kickoff specialist; in 1965, Bob Timberlake did so for the New York Giants. In high school football and most other professional leagues, such as the Arena Football League and, until recent roster expansions, the Canadian Football League, one kicker handles all three kicking positions. Even college football teams usually do not use kickoff specialists, despite the much larger rosters at that level; however, if an underclassman has a stronger leg than the upperclassman kicker, but is not yet ready to assume placekicker or punter duties, they will handle kickoff a while being the primary backup to the other positions.

List of SMU Mustangs in the NFL Draft

This is a list of SMU Mustangs football players in the NFL Draft.

Minneapolis Miracle

The Minneapolis Miracle (also known as the Minnesota Miracle) was the National Football Conference (NFC) divisional playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints on January 14, 2018, and specifically its final play. The game was played as part of the National Football League (NFL)'s 2017–18 playoffs.

The Saints came back from a 17–0 first-half deficit and established a 24–23 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the contest. On the last play of the game, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who evaded Saints safety Marcus Williams and ran to the end zone to complete the 61-yard touchdown pass. This game was the first in NFL playoff history to end in a touchdown as time expired.

In the aftermath, Keenum and Diggs were lauded for their efforts on the game-winning score, while Williams received criticism for his errant tackle attempt. The Vikings' radio call by Paul Allen – who described the play as a "Minneapolis Miracle" – went viral and became the popular appellation for both the play and the game itself. The play won multiple end-of-year awards and prompted a change to the rules.

Pearland, Texas

Pearland ( PAIR-land) is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. Most of the city is in Brazoria County, with portions extending into Fort Bend and Harris counties. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 91,252, up from a population of 37,640 at the 2000 census. Pearland's population growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 142 percent, which ranked Pearland as the 15th-fastest-growing city in the U.S. during that time period, compared to other cities with a population of 10,000 or greater in 2000. Pearland is the third-largest city in the Houston MSA, and from 2000 to 2010, ranked as the fastest-growing city in the Houston MSA and the second-fastest-growing city in Texas. As of 2015 the population had risen to an estimated 108,821.

Pearland High School

Pearland High School (PHS) is an American public high school, located in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston. It is one of three high schools in the Pearland Independent School District, and serves parts of Pearland and most of the city of Brookside Village. In 2015, the school was rated "Met Standard" by the Texas Education Agency.

SMU Mustangs football statistical leaders

The SMU Mustangs football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the SMU Mustangs football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Mustangs represent Southern Methodist University in the NCAA's American Athletic Conference.

Although SMU began competing in intercollegiate football in 1915, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1945. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.

These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1945, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.

Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002. The Mustangs have played in five bowl games since this decision, giving many recent players an extra game to accumulate statistics.These lists are updated through the end of the 2017 season.

SMU Mustangs football under Phil Bennett

Phil Bennett was the coach of the Southern Methodist University's football team from 2002 to 2007. He compiled a 19–51–0 record, and was succeeded by June Jones.

Tim Masthay

Timothy James "Tim" Masthay (born March 16, 1987) is a former American football punter. He played college football at Kentucky. Masthay was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He has also played for the Green Bay Packers and later won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers over his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Masthay was nicknamed "Ginger Wolverine" by his Packers teammates for his long red sideburns.

Wil Lutz

Wil Lutz (born July 7, 1994) is an American football placekicker for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia State.

New Orleans Saints current roster
Active roster
Reserve lists

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