Every football team has a player who deserves more credit. When it comes to the 2023 Chicago Bears, it has to be Cairo Santos.
Yes, a kicker.
For the season, he made 35-of-38 field goals (92.1%) and 31-of-33 extra points (93.1%), per Pro Football Reference. Santos was a sure thing if there ever was one this season.
His golden leg single-handedly carried the Bears to victory on multiple occasions. During some games, he scored the Bears' only points. He did so in a 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, logging four made field goals. In a win over the lowly Carolina Panthers, Santos scored 10 of the Bears' 16 points.
Even though the Bears lost, Santos scored all nine of Chicago's points against the Green Bay Packers in the season finale.
After short stops with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, it seems Santos has found a home in the Windy City.
This is his second stint in Chicago. His first was in 2017. He's improved a lot since then, attempting only two field goals in 2017 compared to making 35 this season.
Santos is in the middle of his career and has the confidence to make any kick. It showed during his fourth straight season with the Bears. After his recent contract extension, there's no doubt he'll be the Bears kicker again in 2024.
Going off the numbers alone, Santos could've made the Pro Bowl. It's difficult to make the Pro Bowl as a kicker since only two get voted in every year.
One of the first Brazilian players in NFL history, Santos became one of the best kickers in college football at Tulane, winning the Lou Groza Award in 2012.
Over his 10-year career in the NFL, Santos has made 220-of-257 field goals (85.6%) and 282-of-297 extra points.