Make enough field goals, you’re just doing your job. Miss enough, you’re the worst in history and there are calls for your head. Sometimes.
Unfair? Maybe, but that’s the life of an NFL kicker, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were lucky to have some tremendous continuity in special teams play in the 2010’s. That just makes it more difficult to decide who makes the team.
With no further introduction needed, let’s jump right in!
As with the prior two, this team is based purely on play from the 2010 through the 2019 season.
Kicker — Chris Boswell
Wow, this one was tough. If Boswell hadn’t forgotten how to kick for some reason in 2018, this would have been a bit easier.
Holding the job from 2010-14, Shaun Suisham nailed 87.9% of his field goals and 100% of his extra points, BUT the extra point distance changed in 2015, the year after Suisham was forced to retire after an ACL tear in the... Hall of Fame game.
After the failed Josh Scobee experiment, Boswell seamlessly filled in for Suisham, with the exception of the 2018 season for some weird reason, and has now started more games than his predecessor.
So, why Boswell?
Normally, reliability is the name of the game, but Boz has had some incredible seasons, going 35-38 in 2017 and 29-31 in 2019.
While Boz might have lost a few games for the Steelers in 2018, by that logic, he’s won more than his fair share, too. Going 8-11 from 50 yards, compared to Suisham’s 3-8, helps.
Sorry, Shaun. Truly the toughest of decisions here.
Punter — Jordan Berry
Jordan Berry has been the Steelers’ punter since 2015, and his 44.2 yards per punt is the sixth highest in team history. His long of 79 yards is tied for second longest.
In a complete contrast from kicker, Berry takes it in a runaway.
Punt Returner — Antonio Brown
Man, AB was good.
The all-decade wideout takes the cake as a punt returner on the heels of his four punt return touchdowns, tied for the most in team history, from 2010-18.
Brown returned 186 kicks for 1,759 yards at 9.5 yards a clip, the third highest of any player in team history with more than 100 returns.
Rookie Diontae Johnson was good in 2019, but he’s got a few years to go to reach Brown’s level.
Kick Returner — Antonio Brown
With the most returns since 2010, Brown’s 47 gained 1,173 yards, 25 yards a clip.
He’s also one of two Steelers to return a kick off for a touchdown. The other? JuJu Smith-Schuster. It all comes full circle in the end.
The only real competition is from Emmanuel Sanders and Chris Rainey. Brown has slightly better numbers than Sanders across the board, and while Rainey has a 26.5 yard average, Brown holds the touchdown over him.
BONUS! Head Coach — Mike Tomlin
And honestly, it wasn’t even close.
Well, was special teams more interesting than you expected? Did you even expect a special teams?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!