After a nightmarish 2020 debut, Colorado Buffaloes kicker James Stefanou has retired from his football playing career. He played four seasons for the Buffs and scored 199 career points, the eighth most ever for a kicker in school history.
Stefanou, 33, is the oldest player in college football, and has been for the past three seasons. A former soccer player, Stefanou transitioned into the American game at the famous ProKick Academy in Australia, a breeding ground for elite special teamers.
The Melbourne native had a very promising start to his Buffs career, going 16 for his 18 field goals in 2017. After that, however, he started suffering from both injuries and inconsistency. He missed most of 2018 with a groin injury, then missed the final three games of 2019 with a hip injury (prompting more age-related jokes). His 2020 was short-lived, as he missed a 51-yard field goal short and had his 40-yarder blocked before being replaced by 21-year-old Evan Price.
It’s easy to have a laugh with this news — because, again, the oldest kicker in college football has now retired at age 33 — but we do need to remember that he had a very fine career and losing his job on Saturday is a sad way for him to go out.
At the end of the day, he still scored 199 points and made game-winning kicks to beat Nebraska at home and #24 Arizona State on the road. He was also the target on Mike MacIntyre’s worst ever call, when the Buffs ran a fake field goal that saw holder T.J. Patterson throw a pass to Stefanou, who was then unable to outrun the UCLA defensive back.
Rest easy, James Stefanou, you will always be remember as a damn good kicker and blessed cult hero.