LAKE FOREST – Robbie Gould entered the Bears’ locker room after practice Wednesday, made a quick stop at his No. 9 stall and took aim at a hallway that is off-limits to reporters.
Hey, Robbie, my main man, Mr. Good As Gould. Let’s chat.
“Not now,” Gould said without breaking his stride. “Thanks, though.”
No, Robbie. Thank you.
Because it’s fun to write about incredibly long field goals, and you kicked one.
Gould made history Sunday when he lined up for a 58-yard field goal attempt just before halftime against the Cincinnati Bengals. Patrick Mannelly snapped the ball, Adam Podlesh caught the snap and pointed the pigskin into the turf, and Gould swung his right leg and let it rip.
Gould’s kick, which marked the longest of his career and the longest in the history of Soldier Field, cleared the crossbar with plenty of room to spare. It could have been good from, gosh, I don’t know.
“It looked to me like about 65, if I had to guess,” Bears special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis said.
Those of us who struggle to kick our tires were amazed. Here was Gould, a nine-year veteran coming off calf surgery, doing something no Bears player had done in the 93-year history of the franchise.
Yet Gould’s teammates were not nearly as surprised.
“He’s got – I don’t want to jinx him – X number in a row from 50-plus yards,” Mannelly said. “I think it’s just having the opportunity to kick it.”
Let’s delve deeper into Mannelly’s math.
In this case, X equals 11. And 11 consecutive field goals from 50-plus yards equals a share of the NFL’s all-time record, tying fellow kickers Blair Walsh (2012 to current) of the Minnesota Vikings and Tony Zendejas (1988 to 1993) of the – throwback alert – Houston Oilers and Los Angeles Rams.
Before every game, DeCamillis and other Bears coaches discuss that day’s weather elements and roughly how far they would be comfortable attempting a field goal. DeCamillis bases his comfort level on two categories, one for a “reasonable make-it” and one for “a desperation-type situation.”
Which category described Gould’s 58-yard attempt?
“It felt reasonable,” DeCamillis said. “Because I saw him hit it in the pregame and because he told us that he could.”
Well, sure, but what if he were lying?
I mean, I could tell you a lot of things. I could tell you I speak Latin while juggling tennis balls. I could tell you I always work out and never eat fast food. I could tell you I was really popular in high school.
Has DeCamillis ever had a kicker who told tall tales about his field-goal range?
“Yeah,” he said with a chuckle. “Morten Andersen. I mean, if we’re from 75 [yards out], ‘Yeah, I’ve got it, coach.’ You’ve got to really have a feel for the guy, too.”
But Gould is honest about what he can and cannot make. That’s important because if Gould were to miss a long-distance kick, it would give the opponent great field position.
“That’s probably the thing I’m most encouraged by with him, is he really understands football,” DeCamillis said. “He’s not one of those guys that’s a soccer player that doesn’t. He gets it.”
And now Gould is getting a chance to stretch his leg.
“The one thing Robbie has worked on his whole career here is his strength, and every year he has gotten better and better and stronger and stronger,” Mannelly said. “He could have kicked that earlier in his career. I don’t know why he never really got an opportunity to do it before.
“But when he lined up for it, I had a good feeling he was going to make it.”
• Shaw Media sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @tcmusick.