It Has Come Time to Talk About the Most Underrated Pittsburgh Steeler

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

I've talked a lot about the Steelers this season, mentioning an abundance of players in my various articles.  There is one Steeler in particular who has yet to be mentioned and deserves credit for his play this year, and quite frankly his whole career.  That Steeler is kicker Chris Boswell.  

There are a lot of NFL teams today that have big question marks at kicker, shuffling in several guys over the course of the season to find someone with some consistency.  Just last week, I wrote an article about the Washington Football Team giving former Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt a chance at their starting job, even though he had never kicked professionally.  He also had not kicked competitively anywhere since his last season at Pitt in 2016.  However, you very rarely hear Boswell's name mentioned and I think that's for good reason.

Model of Consistency

Throughout most of his career, Boswell has been the model of consistency.  In today's NFL, the less you hear a kicker's name mentioned, the better.  For that reason, I believe that's why he's flown under the radar for most of the NFL and a lot of Steelers fans as well.  

In his past three seasons, Boswell is a whopping 59/63 in field goals, amounting to a 93.7% connection rate.  So far this year, Boswell is 11/12 in converting field goals, including an impressive 3/3 from 50+ yards.  With a field goal made percentage of 91.7%, this places him eighth amongst all full-time kickers this season.  Not to mention, he has converted all 12 extra point attempts.  

However, there was a point in time when Boswell didn't look to be the sure-footed player he is today.  In 2018, Boswell went 13/20 in field goals, a dismal 65%.  The guy who seemed so reliable his first three years with the Steelers no longer appeared to be anymore.  It would be easy for a kicker with those numbers to disappear into obscurity. 

Kickers are tasked with one job, so coaches have little tolerance and a short leash for kickers that can't fulfill it.  Yet, Boswell persevered and fought through the kicker competition the Steelers put him through the following offseason to return to his stellar form in 2019, which we still see today.

In fact, Boswell is not just a great kicker in regards to his current opponents, he is one of the greatest kickers of all-time.  Boswell's 88.2% field goal percentage ranks him third among any kicker in the history of the NFL.  Additionally, Boswell's field-goal-made percentage the past two seasons makes him the best kicker in the league, even including Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens who has the current all-time best career percentage in NFL history.  

Kicker's High Value

I've watched my fair share of NFL games this season and kickers seem to be just as crucial to the outcomes as ever.  Field goals and extra points are being missed all over the place so it's a relief to have a kicker that we can rely on.  Teams are going for it on fourth down more than they ever have with the advancement of the analytics in football but it's nice to know that the Steelers have a kicker that can be trusted when a field goal is on the line.  

That was evident in the Steelers' last game against the Seattle Seahawks.  In overtime, with the score tied 20-20, coach Mike Tomlin ran the kicking unit out there after linebacker T.J. Watt forced a fumble in enemy territory.  With 2:50 left in the game, Boswell connected on a 37-yard field goal to give Pittsburgh the win.  With Boswell out there on the field, I, and Mike Tomlin, felt confident that the game was over and sure enough, he came through in the clutch yet again.

Sneaky Assassin

There are a lot of other big names on this team that get the majority of the media attention, whether that's for better or worse.  And that is perfectly fine with Chris Boswell.  More often than not, when you hear a kicker's name brought up in a game recap, it's in a negative manner.  This is why I feel Boswell is undervalued and underappreciated.  He continues to quietly go out there and do his business, providing consistency in the kicking game for this team year after year.  So we can continue to not talk about him but just know, he'll be there for the Steelers whenever they need him.