The second question Justin Tucker got at a press conference about his new four-year contract extension – a joyous occasion – was about perhaps his lowest NFL moment.
It was the first extra point miss of Tucker’s career, breaking a streak of 222 successful tries. It was shocking to everyone, including Tucker.
“Well, thanks for bringing that up,” Tucker said, drawing some laughter from the assembled media.
Turns out, Tucker’s answer to that question showed a whole lot about why he’s the NFL’s most accurate – and now reportedly highest-paid – kicker.
Tucker said he got the exact ball that he kicked on that miss, which gave the Saints a 24-23 win in late October at M&T Bank Stadium.
He then put it alongside other balls commemorating the many achievements in his NFL career: Super Bowl win, two Pro Bowls, five AFC Special Teams Player of the Month awards, etc.
“That’s a part of my story, and I want to be able to look at that and realize that was a learning moment,” Tucker said. “It was, perhaps, a pivotal moment for me as a professional.”
After that extra point miss, Tucker made all 19 of his following extra points and 16 straight field-goal attempts. He missed a pair of kicks in Los Angeles from 53 and 65 yards, finishing the year 22-of-24 after the extra point miss.
“I think it’s incredibly important for any football player, any athlete, anybody, to learn form both your successes and your failures,” Tucker said.
Tucker relayed another story with his nearly 3-year-old son Easton. One day Easton saw a video of Tucker slipping and missing a 45-yard field goal attempt in San Francisco in 2015. It was actually the last true miss (not blocked) attempt he had on a kick of 50 yards or under.
“He just thought it was funny, but I kind of look at that, and I look at the experience I had this past season as learning moments, not just for myself, but for Easton and for any other young person,” Tucker said.
“So, I look at that and I tell Easton, ‘You know what the next thing you do is? When you fall down, what do you do? You get back up.’ You just keep working. You keep trying.”