Every time the Pittsburgh Steelers attempt a field goal over the course of the final two games could potentially be a chance for first-year kicker Chris Boswell to make some franchise history—provided that that kick comes from the line of scrimmage at at least the 32-yard line.
It is an interesting fact that in the annals of Steelers history, the team has never once in its many years as a franchise had a placekicker who has made three field goals of a distance of at least 50 yards in a single season. There are many who share a record of two, including Boswell, who has been good from 50 and 51 yards.
Should he make a field goal either today or next Sunday that is 50 yards in distance or beyond, he will become the first ever to do so in a single since in a Steelers uniform. Using the excessively helpful Pro Football Reference, there are only five other seasons on record in which the feat was accomplished.
Both Jeff Reed and Gary Anderson have done it twice, the former in 2004 (2-for-2) and 2010 (2-for-4), the latter in 1984 (2-for 3) and 1987 (2-for-2). Kris Brown also did it in 2001 (2-for-2). The scarcity is not necessarily for a lack of trying. Anderson attempted six 50-plus-yard field goals in 1991, making one. Reed and Anderson both attempted four in other seasons, in the latter’s case, making only one.
Anderson has attempted the most field goals from 50 yards and beyond in team history, by far, with a total of 27 attempts, but he made just eight, accurate on just under 30 percent. Reed also made eight on 17 attempts, accurate on 47 percent. Roy Gerela missed all eight. Shaun Suisham connected on three of eight, including one-for-three in both 2012 and 2014.
The scarcity of attempts from such long distances likely at least partially speaks to a consistency of coaching philosophy dating back to at least Chuck Noll, though the tendency to attempt longer and longer field goals seems to be a rising trend in contemporary times, in conjunction with the continued specialization of the position.
There are several kickers around the league these days whose reputations are built upon their ability to kick long field goals, in addition to racking up touchbacks on kickoff. The Steelers will be seeing one of them today in Justin Tucker of the Ravens.
That certainly has not been the reputation of Steelers kickers going on down the line. None of them were particularly known for having a big leg, including Anderson, Reed, and Suisham, but the reality is that Boswell is in that same group.
It is worth noting, after all, that his two attempts from 50 yards or beyond were from distances of 50 and 51 yards, which is not a significant reach from the high-40-yard range. His touchback ratio is also right along with that of Suisham’s, the only kicker the Steelers have had up until this year under the new kickoff rules.
That is except, of course, Josh Scobee, who actually does have a big leg, ironically, making 26 of 42 field goals in his career from 50 yards or beyond, including 11 in the previous two years. The Steelers as a franchise have only made 28 such field goals in their entire history.