By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Needham native Stephen Hauschka announced his retirement from football this past week. A Super Bowl XLVIII champion with the Seattle Seahawks and a 13-year NFL vet, Hauschka played soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Needham High School before graduating in 2003.
After playing soccer his freshman year at Middlebury College, Hauschka was cut from the team and took up placekicking for the school's football team. Hauschka immediately thrived for the Panthers, becoming a NESCAC All-Conference selection and setting school records for both career (20) and single-season (10) field goals-made. In the spring, Hauschka played for Middlebury's lacrosse team.
After graduating in 2007, Hauschka played a grad year at North Carolina State University, where he finished as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award (nation’s top kicker).
In 2008, Hauschka signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent. From 2008-2011, he spent time with five different organizations: the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, and the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives. Finally, in 2011, Hauschka found more than just a temporary home, signing with the Seattle Seahawks. From 2011-2016, Hauschka served as Seattle's primary placekicker and helped the franchise to its first Super Bowl title in 2014, a dominant 43-8 victory against the Denver Broncos. As a free agent in 2017, Hauschka signed a three-year contract with the Buffalo Bills. Following three seasons in Buffalo, Hauschka was released by the Bills in August. After one game with the Jacksonville Jaguars in September, Hauschka was released. On December 5, Hauschka announced on his Instagram that he is retiring from football.
Both the Seahawks and Bills posted a tweet congratulating the Needhamite on his retirement. Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson also shared a tweet praising Hauschka for the time two spent together both in Seattle and at North Carolina State.
A fan favorite in Seattle and Buffalo, and a guy for whom teammates always had tremendous appreciation and respect, Hauschka finishes his football career with 254 field goals made on 310 attempts (85.2 percent), as well as making 357 of his 373 PAT's (95.7 percent).
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.