After 11 seasons with the Bears that included one Super Bowl run and two NFC Championship Game appearances, Robbie Gould had the benefit of time.
His release was a surprise, no doubt, and there were no hints along the way that the Bears were ready to part company with their kicker. But once Gould did get the news near the end of training camp, he knew the criteria for his next move boiled down to one factor: a chance to win a championship.
“For me, I wanted to play for a contender,” Gould told Newsday. “I was lucky enough to play for 11 years and have the opportunity to wait for that call and opportunity.”
The call was a rather abrupt one on Oct. 20. The same day the Giants deactivated kicker Josh Brown after documents associated with an investigation into his domestic violence case revealed he had admitted to abusing his wife on several occasions, the Giants called Gould and agreed to terms sight unseen. He met the team in London, kicked in the Giants’ win over the Rams and has been with the team ever since.
“I had a bunch of calls earlier,” said Gould, who declined to say which teams contacted him after his release. “But it wasn’t about getting a call, it was about where I wanted to play. I just want to win a Super Bowl. I want to help this team win a Super Bowl, and that’s a big part of why you play the game.”
With December now upon us and the importance of each game growing week to week, Gould knows his time to win a game could come at any moment. He has attempted only two field goals, making both, but has missed three extra-point attempts.
The Giants face the Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field, and Gould is prepared for whatever awaits him, including a potential game-deciding kick.
“You visualize that kick, where you’re going to hit it, on what line you’re going to hit it, and obviously that helps you prepare for that rhythm, that tempo, that swing you need to make the kick,” said Gould, who will turn 35 on Tuesday.
The extra points have been a source of concern for the coaching staff, but not enough to prompt the Giants to look for another kicker. In fact, coach Ben McAdoo expressed confidence in Gould and believes he will come through when a clutch kick is needed — perhaps as soon as the Steelers game.
“I just told Robbie that I’ve seen him make a bunch of big kicks in the past,” McAdoo said. “They’re coming. I told him at some point in time, we’re going to call his number to really make a big one for us and we trust him to do it. Just keep swinging.”
Gould isn’t worried about the extra points.
“I get it. Every point in this league is precious, and I’m going to do my best to put that point on the board,” he said. “You’re going to see the extra-point percentages decrease. That’s the reason for the rule [to have the extra-point line of scrimmage moved back to the 15]. I know what I need to do. I’ve had a great week of practice and preparation, and hopefully it translates to the game.”
Gould is anxious to do his part and contribute to a team he believes can continue a special season.
“This locker room understands what it takes to win, the character that you need to have to put on that late-season run,” he said. “The nice part about it in this locker room is that it’s pretty young. They’ve got a great foundation here, and I’m just looking forward to being a part of it and enjoying the run.”
He thinks he made the right choice, even if he had to wait a few weeks to make the decision.
“I wanted to wait for the right opportunity, and then this one came available,” he said. “When you get a chance to play for the New York Giants, it’s not something you say no to.”