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FRISCO, Texas --  Dallas Cowboys rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey has worn many labels during his maiden voyage through an NFL season in 2023: butter -- in the words of quarterback Dak Prescott -- sniper -- in the words of left guard Tyler Smith -- and a young Mason Crosby -- in the words of head coach Mike McCarthy.  

Now, the 28-year-old former MLS soccer player and USFL kicker has a shot at another distinction in Week 18 against the Washington Commanders: Ownership of the best field-goal kicking regular season in NFL history. The NFC's Pro Bowl kicker has connected on all 35 field-goal attempts this season, tying him with former Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson (1998) for the second-most makes in a season without miss. Should he drain three in a row outdoors at FedEx Field on Sunday, he'll break former Indianapolis Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt's all-time record of 37 set back in the 2003 season.

However, Aubrey already has a leg up on Vanderjagt and Anderson in two areas: experience, or lack thereof, and the distance of his attempts. He is in his first NFL season. However, the league credits him with a full season of experience already -- making him an unofficial rookie -- because of two years played in the USFL with the Birmingham Stallions. Meanwhile Vanderjagt was in Year 6 when he set the record, and Anderson was in Year 17 when he hit all 35 of his regular-season attempts in 1998. 

Given his lack of NFL experience, Aubrey leans plenty on Cowboys two-time Pro Bowl punter Bryan Anger, the NFL's 2023 leader in net yards per punt (44.9) who doubles as his holder on field goals. Aubrey allows Anger, a 12-year vet, to be his mission control before rocket-launching the football toward the uprights, beginning his pre-kick process when Anger gives him a green light. 

"He'll tell me when I've kicked enough [in practice], cooling it off," Aubrey said Thursday. "Helping me find my rhythm coming up and approaching the ball. Letting me know that 'hey, the refs aren't ready for you yet. You should probably go back and restart your steps and wait until they blow the whistle. That got me on the first rep of the year on the [missed] extra point [at the New York Giants in Week 1]. I was ready before everyone else was ready, and I rushed my process. ... That's the big thing he helped me with early that I can point to."  

The 35-year-old punter/holder finds it easy to work alongside Aubrey, thanks to his past lives in the MLS and the USFL. 

"He doesn't really count as a young guy because he's more mature and has played professional sports, so he's got just a different mindset than most," Anger said Thursday.

At the same time,  Anger and the rest of the special teams unit still go out of their way to make Aubrey get a small taste of what it's like to be a regular rookie, something the 28-year-old clearly is not. How that manifests itself is when Aubrey, Anger and long-snapper Trent Sieg head inside during practice to continue kicking in The Star's indoor facility: Aubrey is the one carrying the duffle bag with some footballs, holding equipment, cones and other gear over his shoulder. 

"He's still the young guy in the locker room, so you have to make him go through it a little bit," Anger said. "We treat him very well. He's a royalty rookie, I would say, so he gets treated well by us, but we got to put him in his place every now and then." 

Distance is another separator between Aubrey, Anderson and Vanderjagt. His nine made field goals from 50 yards or longer rank as a Cowboys single-season record. Only former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (2012) and Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (2016) have hit more without a miss from 50 or longer in a season in league history. Vanderjagt (one) and Anderson (two) combined to hit three field goals of 50+ in their to historic campaigns. 

"It's a huge weapon, no doubt about it," McCarthy said of Aubrey's leg on Wednesday. "I think throughout the course of the year, you could see early, not only his consistency but the long field goals. It was all part of my thinking early to give him those opportunities. It's never been done before what he's done. I think that speaks volumes."

Most Made Field Goals In An NFL Season Without A Miss
NFL History

SeasonPlayerField GoalsMakes of 50+ Yards


Mike Vanderjagt** (Colts)




Brandon Aubrey* (Cowboys)




Gary Anderson** (Vikings)



* One game remaining with Week 18 matchup at Washington Commanders on Sunday

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

In Week 14 against the Eagles, Aubrey connected on field goals of 60, 59, 45 and 50 to outscore the Philadelphia Eagles by himself in the Cowboys' 33-13 victory. Those four made field goals comprised a combined 214 yards for an average kick distance of 53.5 per field-goal attempt. According to OptaStats, that is the longest average length of a kicker's made field goals in a single game in NFL history, with a minimum of four field goals made. 

The unprecedented kick power also translates on kickoffs. His 95 touchbacks in 2023 are the most in a single season, breaking the prior mark of 88 by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Bradley Pinion that was set in 2019. Sure, touchbacks are more common after the league scooted up the offensive drive starting point from the 20 to the 25, incentivizing less returns, but what Aubrey's doing is another all the same. That skill is valuable because it reduces the potential for injuries to Dallas special teamers and prevents the potential from allowing an opponent to have big return. The Cowboys credit the former MLS first-round pick's soccer skillset for that specific area of production. 

"I think his kickoff is more like a corner kick in soccer where he just has a natural approach," special teams coordinator John Fassel said Monday. "He doesn't swing very hard at it. The contact is more important than a hard swing. Gosh, but he's been fantastic in kickoffs. ... His field-goal swing is so natural that a lot of times, the contact in the finish isn't always the same."

Tucker, the 2010's All-Decade Team kicker and owner of the NFL's highest field goal percentage of all-time -- 90.2% -- is like a robot with his kick mechanics and leg swing. With Aubrey, swing mechanics are like a Jackson Pollock painting -- a little bit different every time. 

"I know some people like to have the same exact swing, the same exact thing every time," Fassel said. "But it's unique to him where it doesn't have to be perfect every time, and it doesn't have to be the exact same every time for the ball to come off the foot the same. It's very unique and cool, and there's absolutely nothing that I would change about it."

Aubrey confirmed Fassel's observation that each leg swing on his kicks can be unique in comparison to previous attempts. 

"There's a point where the process [of lining up for the kick] ends, and that process ends right after the snap," Aubrey said. "At that point, it's just head down and swing through. That's the last thing I say to myself than I give BAnger [Bryan Anger] the nod, and that point, it's just go. I've got myself lined up. I've got everything done. I've kept all the thoughts out [of my head], and it's just going through and striking the ball. ... Everything up to that point [striking the ball] is the same, but the ball striking looks a little different sometimes."

While his journey has been has been anything put a straight line -- from being purely a soccer player in high school down the road in Plano and at Notre Dame to quitting professional sports and becoming a software engineer and then training his way into being a kicker after his wife told him sitting on the couch that he could do what NFL kickers do -- it's led Aubrey right where the Dallas Cowboys want: to becoming an automatic, scoring machine. 

His 149 points scored, on field goals and extra points, lead the NFL, putting him in position to be the first kicker to lead the league in scoring in his first year since the kicker McCarthy, the former Green Bay Packers head coach (2006-2018), loves comparing him to: Packers all-time scoring leader Mason Crosby, who led the NFL with 130 points scored. 

Another element of Crosby's game McCarthy's Packers enjoyed for years was his ability to come in the clutch, capping off numerous Aaron Rodgers-led drives with game-winning field goals as time expired for Green Bay wins. While Aubrey hasn't had to attempt a kick with time running out yet, he has come through in critical junctures. 

On "Monday Night Football" in Week 6 at the Los Angeles Chargers, he stared down a 39-yard kick with the score even at 17 with 2:19 left in the game. The result: Straight through the upright. Last week against the Detroit Lions in a contest that could end up determining the NFC's No. 2 playoff seed, Dallas once again found itself in a tight spot. Up 17-13 and the offense stalling out after a phantom tripping penalty on tight end Peyton Hendershot, the Cowboys needed a 43-yard field goal from Aubrey. It went right up the middle, something teammates have come to expect and appreciate. 

"It's a great feeling," Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse said Wednesday. "When we got the interception, when [safety] Donovan [Wilson] got the pick, and it was 17-13, my only thought was 'hey, it's going to be a seven-point game because where we are right now it's a guaranteed three points.' That's how I looked at it, and then he went out there and right through the upright. It's definitely tremendous when you have a kicker like that. You know you can pretty much guarantee, you know you're going to get three points if you get him into range. He's been just that huge."

The Cowboys aren't superstitious, just a little stitious

Aubrey's streak has been so huge that All-Pro edge rusher Micah Parsons, who can talk about any topic loud and proud with ease, became uncomfortable talking about his confidence in Aubrey. The three-time Pro Bowler is more than a little superstitious. 

"It's pretty terrific," Parsons said Wednesday. "I'm not a person that tends to get up on fourth downs or field goals. I just kind of am like 'if he makes it, he makes it. If he misses it, he misses it.' I have to get out there and run anyways, so I might as well get my legs, let them rest anyways. Pretty much, for a guy who doesn't miss, I have the utmost confidence in him. I don't want to jinx him at the same time. Just kind of let him chill out and be in his groove."

Parsons won't even stand up if Aubrey has the opportunity to kick a Super Bowl-winning field goal in February. He would rather let Aubrey continue to do his thing, which is working historically well. 

"Nope, I'll be praying, bruh," Parsons said. "At some point ... you can never jinx it. I might stand up and the weight of the Earth might tip. I just need to let him be."

However, neither Aubrey nor Anger think much about jinxes when it's time to line up a kick. 

"Not all," Aubrey said when asked how superstitious he is. "It's impossible to control the little details. So outside of doing what I can do physically in my process, I don't really have any superstitions like that."

"I'm not a superstitious guy, and I think that holding on to things is more of a crutch than speaking about them," Anger said. "I try and speak about things, but [long-snapper] Trent [Sieg] gets mad at me sometimes because I'll lay out a situation, and he'll be like 'just don't say that.' So I try to speak into existence I guess. It's a crutch. It's a mental crutch if you hold to things. We've been talking about how cool his journey has been so far, and hopefully it will continue. Let it be known I think."   

Aubrey leans on his previous professional sports experience as a soccer player and his USFL experience in which his Birmingham Stallions won consecutive league championships. Experience the Cowboys hope comes in handy when the postseason begins next week. 

"I think it [his pro sports experience] has a lot to do with the mental state, not getting too high or getting too low," Aubrey said. "One thing about doing a hyper-detailed motion, you have to be even-keeled. You don't want to bring too much energy to the ball, and you might pull it or not enough energy and you might push it. ... It's just taking your mind off the kick. The constant chatter, and it's the process I mentioned before. It's just talking to myself through the individual, physical steps that I'm going through like where my hip should be aligned. Find my line. All that stuff ... Nothing changes for specialists. Every time you go out there, and you're kicking, it's a very plain, either you made you it or didn't make it. For me, you want to make every kick, and every kick it just as important."