This player has been the Cowboys’ biggest unsung hero in 2022

Dallas Cowboys place kicker Brett Maher (19) kicks a field goal during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys place kicker Brett Maher (19) kicks a field goal during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s not often people talk about kickers, but the Dallas Cowboys’ Brett Maher deserves more credit than he’s been given in 2022.

When a team plays well, everyone tries to point to a handful of reasons for their success. Your quarterback finally figured out how to throw the football? Sorry, Philly. Is your defense covering for your forever-mediocre offense? Sorry, San Fran.

I want to talk about someone hidden in a pile of very talented names. That is kicker — that’s right, kicker — Brett Maher, who is one of many Pro Bowl snubs.

Only one kicker from the AFC and one from the NFC are selected for the Pro Bowl each year. That means whoever is elected should be the best in their respective conference. Well, Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers is taking Maher’s place to represent the NFC.

Meyers is one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL this season, placing third for field goal percentage. That includes successfully hitting all six attempts from 50+ yards. He has missed only two field goals thus far. But the credit stops there, and that disregards where Maher excels.

Meyers is a safe leg, while Maher is a strong leg. Meyers’ season-long was a 56-yarder against the Detroit Lions with no last-second game-winning kicks. Maher, on the other hand, made a 60-yarder against the Minnesota Vikings and a 50-yard game-winner against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.

Why Brett Maher is the Cowboys’ most underrated player

The Cowboys kicker also leads Meyers with nine makes from 50+ yards. There’s not much better at a long bomb in the NFL than the 33-year-old.

Making three points out of what could have been three punts holds value. Head coach Mike McCarthy trusts his guy from 50+ like John Harbaugh trusts Justin Tucker. That’s saying a lot given what the kicker outlook looked liked for most of OTAs and training camp.

It takes more than luck to become the NFL’s leading scorer with 137 points. It also doesn’t mean his offense is handing him easy opportunities. While Maher is second in the league with nine field goals beyond 50 yards, he’s also tied for fourth with 15 makes beyond 40 yards.

Maher’s outstanding season is landing in Dallas’ record books for the most points scored by a kicker in one season. The previous high was 135 by Dan Bailey and Greg Zuerlein. Maher is now 14 points away from Emmitt Smith’s record of 150 points in one season.

Extra points have been a weirdly frustrating play. What many expect to be a given play has become nail-biting at times. The Cowboys kicker missed twice this season but is currently tied for the most successful kicks with 50.

Not every kicker kicks off, but Maher and his heavy boot are. His 65.1 average yards per kickoff is the most among kickoff specialists. He’s also fifth in touchback percentage, meaning he seldom allows returners to make plays.

While, yes, Jason Myers is one of the more accurate kickers in the NFL, he is not the best in the league or the NFC. Brett Maher deserved to make it to the Pro Bowl more, but the best don’t always make it in a contest that’s decided by the fans. I’m not the only one that thinks it.

Kickers don’t hold the same value quarterbacks do, and no, Maher is not better than Tucker. That doesn’t mean you can’t give him credit where it’s due. He is playing like one of the best kickers in the NFL right now, and I haven’t heard much, if anything, about it.

Not getting appreciation for having one of the best in the league at their respective position is familiar for the Dallas Cowboys. We’ve seen what it’s like when you don’t trust your kicker, and ironically Maher was the cause of that only a couple of seasons ago; however, give him his credit for this season.