Chris Boswell: ‘I love proving myself’

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The Pittsburgh Steelers thought they had a good kicker in Jeff Reed. And they did, for a while, until he was no more. They thought they had a good one in Shaun Suisham. And, again, they did, until the terrible Hall of Fame champ ended his career.

There’s no debating that they’ve got a great one now with Chris Boswell, whose esteem is only diminished for playing around the same time as Justin Tucker, now almost universally regarded as the greatest kicker to have ever played football.

But they will receive the same salary for the 2022 season after Boswell signed a new contract extension, paying him $20 million over four more years added to the final year of his contract. The $5 million per season in new money matches Tucker’s previous record-breaking contract, despite being signed three years ago. But he never hesitates to take up the challenge of performing.

“I like it. I like to prove myself, and I like to prove myself at myself, not for anyone else I’m just building my own confidence and I know I can do it,’ he told reporters after officially signing his extension, under pressure to respect his contract compared to other kickers. “I don’t care what other people say.”

Entering this season, Boswell is the fourth most accurate kicker in NFL history, having made 88.35% of his field goals in his career. The current top three are all 90% or better, which is an all-time high, even though two have only played for five seasons.

If it hadn’t been for the unusual and abysmal 2018 season, in which he made just 13 out of 20 field goal attempts and nearly lost his job, Boswell, too, would be 90 per cent fine. Indeed, his career average minus the 2018 season is 90.86%, easily second best after Tucker’s astonishing 91.06%.

More than just precision, however, Boswell did not allow his game to remain static. Over the course of his career, he has expanded his range, changing the way the Steelers make decisions when moving through midfield.

He went 8 for 9 on field goal attempts of 50 or more yards last year, now 17 for 21 in his career. Prior to the 2021 season, he had never attempted more than four field goals for 50 yards or more in a single season.

The only thing left for him to do is test his range from the age of 60. His career long is 59 years, set in 2020. He also scored a 56-yard field goal last season, which marked the longest field goal ever at Heinz Field, including in college football.

The good thing about having a great kicker is that they are always affordable. Boswell wins $5 million. While certainly not to be overlooked, the difference between the top of the market and the bottom among specialists is incomparable to any offensive or defensive position.

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