Denver Broncos Greats... By The Numbers: Matt Prater

DENVER - OCTOBER 17: Kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos successfully makes a 59-yard field goal in the first half against the New York Jets at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 17 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Candidates:

Brad Daluiso, K -- 1992
Matt Prater, K -- 2007-Present

While the Denver Broncos have been anything but consistent over the past five years, this #5-wearing kicker has been as close as you can get.  Especially with how much controversy surrounded his arrival as a Bronco - replacing the Greatest #1 on our list, Jason Elam.

That said, the great #5 to ever wear a Broncos uniform has done that - and gone above and beyond what was expected of him early in his career. 

The Greatest Denver Broncos Player To Wear #5 Is...

PK MATT PRATER

Matt Prater came into the NFL as an unsigned-rookie free agent for the Detroit Lions.  Prater didn't make the team and was cut in August 2006.  In 2007, Prater was signed by the Miami Dolphins, but again, could not win the job and was released.  Prater was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons and actually won the starting job..  Four misses in 3 games, however, sealed his fate and the Falcons released him early on in the 2007 season.  Prater then returned to the Miami Dolphins practice squad.

 

Prater signed with the Broncos and was placed on the active roster on December 19, 2007.  With a pending contract situation involving Jason Elam on the horizon, the Broncos wanted to protect themselves in case Elam signed elsewhere.  It turned out to be a wise decision.

There were two kickers on the Broncos roster after the 2007 season - Prater and Garrett Hartley.  In July, prior to the start of Training Camp, the Broncos released Hartley essentially handing the job to Prater.  Hartley, of course, has gone on to do pretty well for himself as well - winning a Super Bowl for the New Orleans Saints.

Prater has enjoyed a solid career so far with the Broncos:

  • Totaled the second-most touchbacks on kickoffs (47) and the sixth-most 50-yard field goals (7) in the NFL during the last two years with the Broncos.
  • Owns two AFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards (2008 and ‘09) and one AFC Special Teams Player of the Month recognition (September ‘09) for his NFL career.
  • Made 19 of his final 20 field goal attempts in 2009 en route to tying for the fifth-best accuracy rate (.857 / 30-of-35) for a season in club history and becoming the fifth Bronco in team annals to register multiple 100-point seasons (122).
  • Set a Broncos single-season record and tied for second in the league with 28 touchbacks on kickoffs in 2009.
  • Converted 25-of-34 (.735) field goal attempts and registered his first career 100-point season (114) for Denver in 2008 while also ranking fifth in the NFL with 19 touchbacks on kickoffs.
  • Tied the Broncos' single-season record and ranked fourth in the NFL with five 50-yard field goals, including a career-long 56-yarder as well as two 50-yarders in one game, in 2008.

While there are some numbers in Denver Broncos history that simply have a 'Great' because there is little to choose from, #5 is not one of those numbers, despite the fact only two players have ever donned the number.  While Jason Elam is still the greatest kicker in Denver Broncos history, Matt Prater has taken a tough situation and has begun carving out a solid career of his own.  Consistency, over the long haul, are what define a great kicker.  Hopefully Matt Prater can continue what he has started for many years to come.

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