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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Meet your punter of the day

By Mike Reiss

ESPN researcher Mark Simon's appreciation of quirky stats has sparked the creation of his "punter of the day" award. Simon reached out this week because New England's Zoltan Mesko earned the honor for the second straight week.

A few notes from Simon on Mesko:

1. His four punts inside the 20 on Saturday were a career best.

2. He now ranks third in the NFL in net punting average—41.4, behind Andy Lee (43.5) and Thomas Morstead (43.1). He ranks 11th in gross (46.4).

3. He had two touchbacks on 16 punts in his first five games, has one touchback on 39 punts in his last 10.

As for the "punter of the day" award, Simon was asked the motivation behind it.

"It struck me that it would be fun to try to do something prominent honoring punters, since they are among the most underappreciated players in the NFL," he explained, adding that he likes to measure performance that has not been measured before.

Mesko is the second punter this season to earn Simon's honor on back to back weeks, joining the Giants' Steve Weatherford (Weeks 8-9).