You would be hard-pressed to find a more consistently reliable kicker outside of Baltimore than in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ own Chris Boswell. Now in his eighth season, if not for one highly aberrational year in 2018, he has been a model of consistency, only not more extensively recognized for having to play in the same era as Justin Tucker.
Let’s put it this way. The fact that it was met with surprise when Boswell hit the pole on a 55-yard potential game-winner in overtime on the road speaks volumes to how he has redefined Steelers fans’ perceptions of what a kicker should be. His record beyond the 50-yard mark cannot even be compared to any other Steelers kicker in history. As you saw during the broadcast, he was as stunned as anybody and hoping to make up for it.
“I mean, I always want one more shot”, he told reporters after the game, via the team’s website. “It’s just a matter of if I get another shot. Most of the time in that situation, you missed the first one, you don’t get another one. Just fortunate enough that the team led us right back down and we got another one and it went in”.
There were multiple times were it looked like he wouldn’t get that second shot, and if not for an injury to the Cincinnati Bengals’ long snapper, he probably wouldn’t have. A blocked extra point, a laces-in missed field goal that was completely shanked–the Steelers needed these sorts of turns to get Boswell back out there for the game-winner. But when he took the field, he knew the scenario was no different from the last one, and he approached it the same way.
“I don’t really have that sort of process,” he told Albert Breer. “If I’m hitting a good ball, I’m hitting a good ball, and it doesn’t really matter how far they call a field goal from. I’m still going to hit the same ball no matter what. So even pre-game, I don’t go too far back. I’m more worried about consistency and hitting a good rhythm ball and just watching it fly rather than just going out there and trying to big-ball every single time”.
If a ball is accurate enough and has enough leg, it doesn’t matter where you’re kicking it from, in truth. Boswell’s eventual game-winner would have still been good from some distance beyond the 53 yards is ultimately entailed.
The bottom line is that he knows the process that works for him, and it’s served him well. “That’s when you create bad habits in my mind and I’ve just kind of stuck with that over the years”, he said regarding putting too many variables in your pre-game process.
We can liken it perhaps to a great relief pitcher who dominates with one pitch. As long as you can throw that one pitch consistently in such a way in which it cannot be hit, like Mariano Rivera did for so many years, then that’s all you need.