Chris Boswell did not take his missed field goal lightly. It was the first time in his career that he missed a game-winning opportunity, the clearest moment to which he can point to himself and say that I am the reason the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to win the game.
So he spent some time off on his own, in a dimly-lit practice facility, setting up at the right hash mark, practicing field goals from 42 yards. In case you had forgotten, that was the spot of Boswell’s overtime miss that would have given the Steelers the victory.
This information comes from a Tweet since deleted by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. I can only assume that he was not supposed to know this, or at least not supposed to share it, but before the Tweet was deleted, Aditi Kinkhabwala shared it and said (in part), “of course he’s doing this”, pointing out his four game-winners last season.
Those four game-winners that he kicked last season—three of them coming as time expired—coupled with his ability to show that he was able to kick from distance in making all four of his attempts from 50 yards or beyond, helped him to earn the Steelers’ first Pro Bowl distinction for a kicker in decades.
It also helped him to earn one of the largest contracts for a kicker in NFL history. He signed a four-year extension worth $16.8 million shortly before the season started, paying him an average of $4.2 million in new money.
During the 2017 season, Boswell made 35 of his 38 field goal attempts, and one of his only three misses was a block. His 92.1 accuracy percentage was the highest of his career. His 35 successful makes was the most in franchise history, as were the 142 points that he scored in all for the season.
Will Graves said that he approached Boswell yesterday, but “he declined to talk, saying he had to go eat”, noting that he “shot through” the locker room a short time after that without speaking to any reporters.
He was clearly in no mood to answer questions about missing a game-winner. This is not meant to be cast in either a positive or negative light—I’m sure individual readers will provide their own interpretations about the kickers actions—but meant instead simply to relay the information given.
I’m sure it’s not exactly uncommon for a kicker to practice from the spot and distance of a kick that he missed in a game, especially when the miss comes in a significant or high-profile moment. After all, if you missed a kick, wouldn’t you go back and practice from that spot?
Still, it’s interesting to see the information get put out there—and then retracted. There’s certainly no reason to bury the fourth-year kicker just for going 0-for-1 on the season so far. If he makes his next four field goals, he will own the second-highest field goal percentage in NFL history, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.