Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater was the best player at his position in the league this past season, though convincing arguments can be made that Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots and Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens were better. I look at Prater’s 25-26 mark, knack for hitting long field goals, and powerful leg as traits that carry the day, and his only missed field goal of the year was in the 50+ range. Prater had a phenomenal year, and both the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks kickers are among their elite teams’s respective strengths going into the Super Bowl
Prater has been listed questionable by the Broncos on the official injury report with an illness, as he did not practice on either Thursday or Friday. The questionable listing and time away from the team’s practices, though, definitely aren’t a cause for concern. Like Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Prater is simply getting some rest, and his illness won’t be an issue in the big game. Broncos head coach John Fox said that Prater will be “fine”, and not even the most paranoid of Broncos fans should be worried about Prater’s status for the Super Bowl.
It’s incredible looking at Prater’s career numbers and seeing just how much better he has been this season. His 96.2% field goal percentage is the highest of his career, and he’s also doing a better job of generating touchbacks for his team. But the real improvement for Prater has come in the critical 40-49 range, as he was a disappointing 8-16 in 2011 and 2012 before nailing all eight tries from that range in 2013.