Steven Hauschka went out for football as a sophomore at Middlebury College at the suggestion of his roommate. Now he’s among the highest-paid kickers in the NFL after re-signing with the Seahawks on Monday.
How good was Steven Hauschka during the Seahawks’ run to the Super Bowl last season?
His teammates began calling the sure-legged kicker “Hausch-Money,” and Monday the club showed Hauschka the money as he signed a three-year contract – the longest contract of his six-season NFL career and one that makes him among the highest-paid players in the league at his position.
“We’re extremely excited to be able to re-sign Steven, especially after the incredibly successful season that he had,” general manager John Schneider said as Hauschka was signing the deal in the office of vice president of football operations Matt Thomas at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“He had a great offseason last year and we expect the same this year. He’s just extremely solid.”
So solid that if you’re having a difficult time remembering a Hauschka miss last season, it’s understandable. He was 33 of 35 on field-goal attempts during the regular season and converted each of his eight attempts in the postseason – including 47- and 40-yarders in the six-point win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game and 33- and 31-yarders in the 43-8 romp over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Hauschka also was 53 of 53 on his PATs. His misses? A 48-yarder that was blocked in Week 5 and a 24-yarder that hit the left upright in Week 16. In between, Hauschka hit 22 in a row.
Hauschka won the overtime games against the Texans in Houston in Week 4 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9, when the Seahawks overcame the largest deficit in franchise history (21-0) to win 27-24. He kicked four field goals in a game twice – against the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons. He kicked three field goals in a game four times – against the Texans, the New York Giants, the New Orleans Saints in the playoff opener and in the NFC Championship game.
And, his 48 touchbacks on kickoffs ranked eighth in the league during the regular season.
Not bad for a former soccer and lacrosse player from Middlebury College in Vermont who gave football a try at the suggestion of his roommate.
“I walked on at Middlebury as a sophomore after my roommate told me the football team needed a kicker,” Hauschka said.
And that 19-year-old kicker needed a little help. “It was the first day I had ever put football pads on,” he said. “I had my game jersey on and the pads for the team picture, and they looked so ridiculous. The pads were like up to my ears. They must have been linebacker pads.
“I had to ask the guys on the team how to put the pads on, and how to slip the jersey over the pads. So it’s a funny experience to think that I’m here now.”
That Middlebury experience led to Hauschka kicking one season as a graduate student at North Carolina State, where he was teammates with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
But without Middlebury, well, who knows what Hauschka would be doing.
“They needed a kicker on the football team, so I decided to come out,” he said through a smile. “And I’m glad I did.”
So are the Seahawks.
Needless to say, Hauschka is one of those overnight success stories that has been years in the making – despite his late start in the sport. He originally entered the NFL as rookie free agent with the Minnesota Vikings in 2008. The Baltimore Ravens claimed Hauschka after he was waived on the final roster cut and he was 1 of 2 on field-goal attempts that season and 9 of 13 in 2009. He also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions before making 6 of 7 in 2010 while with the Denver Broncos, who released him 2011. That’s when the Seahawks claimed him.
Hauschka was 25 of 30 on field goal attempts and 34 of 34 on PATS in 2011 and 24 of 27 and 46 of 48 in 2012, setting the stage for his 143-point regular season in 2013 – and new contract that followed.
“This is a very exciting day,” said Hauschka, who was accompanied by his wife, Lindsey. “If you told me I’d be playing professional football and get a good contract, I would have thought you were crazy 10 years ago.”
Steve Hauschka re-signs with Seahawks.