All the attention this week is rightfully going to Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Ryan Shazier. The All-Stars. The ones who set all the jersey sales. Jordan Berry probably isn’t selling too many of his to non family members. But that doesn’t take away how good of a season he had.
Berry ends 2016 with a punting average of 45.6, a full three yards better than where he was at a year ago, and without the benefit of a crazy long singular punt, like he had with a 79 yarder in 2015.
To put that in franchise context, it’s the third best average of any Steelers’ punter – ever – with a minimum of at least 26 punts. The only two to do better are Bobby Joe Green’s 47 yard average in 1961 and Pat Brady’s 1953 46.9 in 1953.
So in the modern era, no Steeler has ever posted a better average than Berry. Without quantifying it, Berry’s also shown remarkable consistency, having success in bad weather, with poor snaps, and eliminating the JV punts that plagued him a year ago.
Funny enough, and maybe this speaks to the fact the Steelers don’t have many great punters in their career, Berry’s near-record setting average ranked only 18th league-wide, nearly four yards behind Pat McAfee, who topped everyone.
But Berry’s doing what’s required in Pittsburgh. Danny Smith said last week he was as raw as anyone when he first worked him out and frankly, didn’t even expect to stick around very long to watch him. A casual glance, just another “guy” but Berry’s booming leg caused him to take a second look, invite him to camp, and eventually name him the starting punter.
He’s now made an unlikely, but promising, duo alongside Chris Boswell as one of the rising units in the NFL.