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Heyward Says Chris Boswell Gets Plenty Of Tomlin’s Razzing; ‘Tucker’s 1A, You’re 1B’

One of the principle qualities that Mike Tomlin is known for as a head coach, even by his detractors, is the fact that he manages to be motivational in a personable way, and understands how to push people’s buttons effectively to get more out of them.

Essentially, he trash talks his own players, from up and down the roster, catered each to their needs, or what gets them going the most. Nobody escapes that. Not even the specialists, and certainly not his former All-Pro kicker, Chris Boswell, as teammate Cameron Heyward talked about on Pat McAfee’s show, who himself is a former punter.

McAfee recalled a story Boswell told him as they discussed Tomlin’s motivational tactics. “I guess Tomin came over to him, ‘Hey Boz, I love you man, but if [Sebastian] Janikowski’s available, I’m gonna have to talk with him’”, he said with a laugh. “I’ve heard he is just like the coolest dude to everybody. Like, Boz can get it, anybody can get it”.

Janikowski was, believe it or not, a first-round draft pick who went on to play for nearly two decades, and is looked upon as sort of one of the game’s first modern kickers who reset the standard for what could be expected from the position, particularly with regard to range. Though he was drafted in 2000, he was still in the league by the time Boswell was around.

Heyward confirmed to McAfee that, indeed, anybody can bear the brunt of Tomlin’s motivational ploys, and in fact, Boswell gets it worse than most. “He’s got to fight [Justin] Tucker from Baltimore”, he pointed out. “Mike T’s always talking about Tucker. He’s like, ‘Tucker’s 1A, Boz, you’re 1B’. But Boz always backs it up. He’s like, ‘Yeah, but you got me though’”.

Tucker is pretty much unanimously regarded as the best kicker in the history of football at this point, and is the extremely rare, nearly unique specialist about whom you can say that he is a surefire Hall of Famer. He holds the NFL’s all-time record for field goal percentage at 91.1, including 48 career makes on 66 attempts of 50 yards or more. He has only three misses from inside 40 yards, and is 100-for-111 in the 40-49-yard range.

And he’s made the Pro Bowl every season since 2016—except in 2017, when Boswell was selected over him. The fact that Tucker led the NFL in field goal percentage in 2021 while setting a new NFL record for the longest field goal ever made at 66 probably isn’t going to make it any less likely.

Indeed, McAfee joked that it’s only going to get worse. Cincinnati Bengals rookie kicker Evan McPherson just set a new NFL record for the most 50-plus-yard field goals made in a single season in history (including the playoffs). The next time they take the field, he’ll surely be demoted to 1C on Tomlin’s list.

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