MIAMI – In his 15-year NFL career, Robbie Gould has played just 4.5% of his 221 regular-season games, kicked 2.6% of his 381 field goals and scored only 3.0% of his 1,638 points for the Giants. But he considers the 10 games he spent with them in 2016 a vital and rewarding period in his career.
Although he is the Chicago Bears' career scoring leader with 1,207 points, the team declined to re-sign him after his 127-point season in 2015. Gould was unemployed early in the 2016 season before the Giants signed him. He made all 10 of his field goal attempts and scored 50 points to help the Giants earn their only postseason berth since 2011.
The following year, the Giants decided to go with a younger kicker in Aldrick Rosas. But they had given Gould the opportunity to prove that he was still a reliable and productive kicker. That prompted the San Francisco 49ers to sign him. In three years, Gould has scored 381 points, set a franchise record with 33 consecutive field goals made, was the Niners' 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year representative and helped them win this season's NFC Championship. On Sunday, Gould will play in his second Super Bowl when the 49ers meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Hard Rock Stadium.
"I love the Giants organization," Gould said this week. "Obviously, I waited for the right opportunity and the Giants were one of those opportunities that I was waiting on. To go in there, to go to the playoffs and make a little bit of a run with the Giants, to still stay in touch with people in the organization and texts back and forth with guys, they send me videos of game-winners, some of the Mara family still texts me to say congratulations. It's a year I'll always remember. But the respect that I have for the organization as a whole, from everyone from top to bottom, it's truly one of a kind and it was special that I was able to put on a Giants uniform."
Gould hopes his second Super Bowl experience is more rewarding than his first. As a second-year pro 13 seasons ago, he kicked a 44-yard field goal and two extra points, but the Bears lost Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts, 29-17. That game was also in Miami.
"It's great to be back at the big game with this group of guys who have had just one heck of a year, just had so much fun in the locker room, just had so many personalities," Gould said. "I'm just really trying to soak this one up being in year 15 because you never know when you'll be back.
"I went my first full year with the Bears, and all I remember was like, 'Aw, this is nothing. I'm going to be back.' Thirteen years later, you're back in the Super Bowl. You never know when you're going to do it. You never know how it's going to happen. You never know when it's going to happen. Some of it is luck, some of it is just being on the right team. I don't believe that you can chase a Super Bowl. You can't go from team to team trying to win it."
For Gould, this week has been both a very familiar but new experience.
"The last time I was here, I had a lot more hair than I do now," he said. "It's kind of unique because as much as this game has changed, it's new for me too in a little bit of a way. But we're back to Miami University where we practice. We'll be going over to the stadium to kick and just kind of reminiscing on the memories I had there. I'll be in the visitor's locker room, not the home locker room. Just being able to tell the guys kind of what to expect going into it, because the home locker room is a lot bigger than the visiting locker room. It's just something that we're going to have to figure out and understand that halftime is 40 minutes, pregame you're going to warm up two hours before, to sit around a lot. Just managing the emotions is kind of the biggest thing I'd say for this week."
Gould has proven he can do that. In nine career postseason games, he has made all 13 of his field goal attempts, including three in the NFC Championship Game vs. Green Bay. At 37 years of age, he is a wizened pro his younger teammates look to for advice. And he has a message for them.
"Everyone has to understand that we're not down here to win a Super Bowl, we're down here to beat the Chiefs," he said. "I think that's a message that has transcended through the guys. 'Hey, enjoy it, it should be a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, we're down here to finish a mission.'"