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FRISCO, Texas --  Dallas Cowboys rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey is living the dream as a pro athlete. He's in his third professional sports league -- MLS to USFL to NFL-- and just won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in the Cowboys' 33-13 demolition of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14. 

"Yeah, it's awesome," Aubrey said Wednesday. "I'm thankful for the recognition for the opportunity to go out there and kick long field goals to be up for awards like that. So I'm thankful for my coaching staff to give me those opportunities."

The former Notre Dame collegiate soccer player drained field goals of 60, 59, 50 and 45 yards to extend his NFL record for the most made field goals to start a career to 30. The record for most made field goals to start a career before Aubrey broke it was 16. He also drilled all three of his extra points. That means he totaled 15 points -- two more than Philadelphia scored as a team -- in Week 14.  

 Despite there being some uneasiness about bringing in a kicker who had never been in the NFL before, Dallas has gone out of its way to provide Aubrey with field goal opportunities instead of punting when closer to midfield than the end zone.

"There's always going to skepticism, you talk about everything with every player," McCarthy said Wednesday. "Where they're coming from, experience level and how it fits. You can never not recognize the talent. I thought that the personnel department did a nice job. We had a group of kickers that they ranked and that they had different thoughts and beliefs on them. It's hard to rank a guy who hasn't kicked in the league versus a guy who has. I think the best thing we did was make a decision. Sometimes you operate too quickly and it can bite you." 

However, handing Aubrey the kicker title over training camp participant Tristan Vizcaino early in camp is something McCarthy would do every single time if given the opportunity. 

"That was clearly I think the best thing we did. It's a real credit to Brandon," McCarthy said. "He showed it right away. Just watching him kick early in training camp. His talent level is something that we all want to unleash, and make sure he got all the reps. I thought it was important because I was thinking about (Packers all-time leading scorer) Mason Crosby in his first year, it was a conscious effort to give him kicks early in the season. First game of [Crosby's] career, he kicked a game-winner against Philadelphia. I was very conscientious giving him some kicks. So, I did. Now I don't even think about it, so that's just a credit to his performance."

The 28-year-old also became the first player in NFL history to make two field goals of at least 59 yards in the same game. His first make came with 50 seconds left in the opening quarter, marking the first time in NFL history a field goal of 60 yards or longer has been made in the first quarter. 

"He generates points," McCarthy said Wednesday. "What he's done is historical. I love the story. What an incredible story. But he's an extremely talented kicker. You can see the talent right away at training camp. His performance level is really just so so impressive. If you just see him work, he's the same person every day. Very diligent, really the whole operation of all three of those guys. I think any kicker would tell you the importance of a healthy relationship with the punter and the snapper. He's just in a great groove, and I think he knows not only do we have confidence in him, but so does everybody in Cowboy Nation."   

As recently as this past January, the Cowboys were sweating extra points after former kicker Brett Maher missed an NFL record four PATs in the team's NFC wild-card round win at the Tampa Buccaneers. Now, Aubrey is an ever-growing star. He even appeared on the "Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday for nearly 10 minutes.

"It's been a little bit of a circus, I'd say, but, just looking forward to getting past it and moving on to the next game and just making the next kick," Aubrey said Wednesday. It's [his fame] kind of blown up. Any time you have a good performance on a Sunday night in front of millions of people. You have a lot of people reach out to you. It has been quite the attention getting game for me."

Cowboys MVP candidate quarterback Dak Prescott is proudly showing off the nickname he bestowed on the 28-year-old rookie.   

"Our kicker (Brandon) 'Butter' (Aubrey) showed up, as he always does," Prescott said postgame Sunday. "I gave [the nickname] to him not too long ago after probably his first 10 kicks or maybe even kicks in training camp. Yeah, it's just because he's smooth, super smooth, and makes them all. He makes it as easy as butter. He deserves it."  

"I absolutely love it," Aubrey said. 

Aubrey's and Prescott's pre-existing relationship

The Cowboys search for their next kicker spanned the equivalent of multiple iterations of "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette." Finding Aubrey wasn't an automatic event. 

"I don't have a number for you," Cowboys special team coordinator John "Bones" Fassel said Monday in terms of many kickers they scouted this offseason. "I'm sure it was close to 100 with all the resources we could get our hands on. It was cool because we got to just take a clean slate and just try to figure out who's the best available guy in our opinion. That was kind of a fun process. Not stressful. Challenging, but pretty fun."

Once Aubrey ditched the life of software engineer, he needed to get back into a rhythm kicking a ball -- football instead of soccer this time. So he did as anyone who needs something does in 2023: he hopped on Google, and the Plano, Texas, native settled on the first result for his search for kicking coaches in Dallas: Brian Egan. Egan was one of Prescott's Mississippi State teammates and closest college buddies. He was mainly tasked with kickoff duties as a Bulldog. 

"My kicking coach is [Prescott's] college roommate and best friend," Aubrey said in November. "I had met [Prescott] a couple times before signing with the Cowboys, but other than that, no real prior relationship. I just googled kicking coaches in the Dallas area, and he was the first one to pop up. So, he had good software search optimization."

He began working with Egan three months into his day job as a software engineer, and their training together while Aubrey was a regular member of America's work force went on for three years from 2019-21 when his USFL opportunity came to fruition. Shortly before he had his first taste of pro football as a kicker, Prescott provided him some of his first high-stakes field goal action. 

"[Prescott] had a friendly competition going with another kicker that he had met through my kicking coach," Aubrey said. "My kicking coach and Dak used to be college roommates. He had met one of the kickers through that relationship, and they had a friendly competition because one of the kickers said he could make 10 out of 10 field goals, and Dak didn't believe him. So Dak said if he could eight of the 10 field goals he'd be impressed. The kicker didn't make those kicks, but I just happened to be out there, and he gave me the same competition. I think I went nine for 10 or something like that for $200."

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Prescott recalls being bored in the offseason, so he decided that crashing his buddy's kicking lessons was a great way to kill time in the middle of the summer. The quarterback wasn't trying to spook anyone, but the unique variable of his competition only served to reveal to Prescott that Aubrey can handle a sudden change. 

"Understanding that it's a training session but those guys, the majority of the time they're getting up there to kick, it's for a pressure moment," Prescott said. "They're the only ones out there, them and the holder. Just trying to add fun to it. I remember [Aubrey] drilled both of them. I may still owe him $200. I don't know if I had it on me at the time. I'm good for it."

Aubrey then successfully tried out for the USFL and was selected 260th overall in the 2022 league draft. Fast forward to 2023, and Aubrey turned heads for the back-to-back league champions. He went 14 of 15 on field goals and a perfect 35 of 35 on extra points. Those numbers led to Fassel making an under-the-radar trip out to Birmingham, Alabama, to see Aubrey and his Stallions play in a game environment. 

"He had mentioned to me three or four weeks prior that he might come out to one of our games," Aubrey said. "That he'd been watching me and that he's impressed, and if I keep doing what I'm doing in the USFL that there will be an opportunity for me in camp. So about three or four weeks later, he showed up at our game. I didn't know what he looked like, so he tried to be stealthy on the field and just watch the kicker. Our punter, former Denver Bronco Colby Wadden, knew who he was and knew what he looked like. He pointed him out. He was like 'that's John Fassel, I wonder who he's here for.' So, [I] just went through the game and then after the game got a chance to meet and chat with him."

Fast forward to July 6, and Aubrey earned a training camp deal with Dallas to prove he could be the guy. His connection with Prescott provided some initial comfort for the brand new NFL player. 

"That original connection has helped Dak to know who I was, and he followed me throughout the USFL, so he kind of knew who I was and believed in me when I got here," Aubrey said." So that was another person in my corner that provided me with some confidence coming into training camp."

What blew McCarthy and Fassel away in training camp was his mechanics and consistent calm.

"There's so much there and I think like a lot of things in life, especially in the game of football, you think of first impressions," McCarthy said Monday. "I know my first impression of Brandon was the first time I had a chance to stand behind him and just, the foot speed, but the way the ball comes off his foot. You could see right away his ability to strike the football was top notch. ... That's part of the reason why we made that decision early. It was, 'Hey, let's give him all the reps. He has a chance to be an outstanding kicker.' You never really know until you get in there and go through it with him."

Aubrey's mental process honed by competition in the MLS and USFL presented the Cowboys with an unexpectedly mature rookie. That's on top of having the most powerful leg in the NFL. Aubrey leads the league with 84 touchbacks on his 89 kickoffs. Aubrey, whose 94.4 touchback percentage is second in the league behind only Washington's Joey Slye, won NFC Special Teams Player of the Month in October. 

"His approach, I think his emotional maturity: he's the same person every day as far as the way he approaches it and to be honest with you, it's an outstanding battery. The battery of your punter, your snapper, your holder, all that plays into this," McCarthy said. "John Fassel does a tremendous job. If you see that connection how these guys work, I mean that's a very close-knit group and a compliment for John -- it's been like that every year regardless of who the kicker's been. I think John is top notch in that sub-culture that he creates on all special teams. ... The consistency in everything you do I think is a part of his efficiency."

Aubrey is so consistent (30-for-30) that they just let him do what he wants mechanically. 

"He has an incredibly natural swing," Fassel said. "It feels like it hasn't been messed with too much. He's a soccer player and it's kind of like a soccer swing. He's just free swinging, and it's a cool look."

"That goes back to when I first started obviously being a soccer player and working with a kicking coach," Aubrey confirmed. [Fassel] told me he didn't want to change too much that I was doing. He just wanted me to kind of have my natural kicking ability and just find stuff that makes it so I can get to that same position every time, but to not actually worry about the mechanics since I've been training those, since I was five. Kicking a football is not a whole lot different from soccer ball in that regard."

However, since his mechanics come from soccer, they're less static, meaning each kick has a slightly different motion to it. 

"Yeah, absolutely," Aubrey said, confirming the mechanics. "As much as you like to be a robot on your step when it comes to kicking the ball as soon as I go, and I see the ball coming out there, I'm not really worried about exactly how I swing. I have a few things that need to be there, but the rest of it just needs to be natural and get me through the ball. Head down, swing through."

Next stop: Buffalo

The Cowboys hit the road in Week 15 to face the Buffalo Bills in conditions very different than the warm, friendly confines of the domed structure that is AT&T Stadium. It's set to be in the 40s for most of the game Sunday evening with winds coming in somewhere between 5-20 miles per hour on Sunday, according to the Weather Channel

While Dallas plays its home game indoors, its outdoor practice field at The Star in Frisco, Texas, creates a unique wind tunnel. It's on flat ground and surrounded by office buildings that can create different wind patters. A week ago, footballs, playsheets, tackle dummies and more were flying across the practice field thanks to the wind gusts. McCarthy called it a "swirling effect." Aubrey categorized attempting to kick at practice outdoors last week as "brutal."

"Yeah, luckily we have a little bit of wind on our field as well, our practice field that is, so go out there and utilize the conditions we have here."

An hour hour before the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff, Aubrey will undergo his normal process to find his sight lines. Then, it's go time.

"Yeah, it's part of the normal process, going out there and assessing the conditions to see which way the wind's blowing," Aubrey said. "So I go out an hour before warm up and just kind of see what the conditions are, find things in the stands that I can focus on for my line, for aiming points. Stuff like that. Obviously in a dome, you don't have to worry about [the wind] as much."

Thanks to Aubrey, McCarthy doesn't worry about much regarding field goal decisions anymore.

"He's crushed it," McCarthy said. "He's done a great job."