They say you never truly know what you have until it’s gone. They also say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Which ever cliché you like to use, Steelers’ Nation had a real understanding for the saying in regards to their kicker last week. On behalf of said nation, I offer the following letter of gratitude…
Dear Chris Boswell,
Please never leave us again.
Every Steelers’ Fan
During last Sunday’s showdown in Cleveland with the Browns, the Steelers were without their former Pro Bowl kicker for just under 32 minutes of game time. Over those 32 minutes, whether it be the Steelers taking a knee at the end of the first half because getting in the field goal range didn’t matter, or not taking short field goals to tie the game or take the lead, or having to go for it on fourth down instead, I’m sure many Steelers fans felt the same way as I did and had a true appreciation for their kicker. Granted, any kicker would have been nice, but we still love Chris Boswell nonetheless.
The good news for Steelers’ Nation is Chris Boswell has no injury status going in the Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears. Had Boswell not been able to get through the NFL concussion protocol, our appreciation for specifically having Boswell as our kicker may have grown even more.
All week I was having flashbacks to last season when the Steelers were looking to push their winning streak to start the season to 12 games. With Boswell out of the lineup, the Steelers did not trust Matthew Wright to hit a 45-yard field goal to give them a three point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. (Keep in mind, less than a year later the same Matthew Wright kicked two field goals of 53 yards or longer in the final five minutes of the game for Jacksonville to give them their only victory so far in 2021.) Instead, the Steelers fell short on fourth down, surrendered two more field goals, and the winning streak was over. If only they had Boswell…
Steelers fans have grown to appreciate what Chris Boswell brings to their team, outside of his struggles during the 2018 season. Having peace of mind that when you need a field goal or reach a certain part of the field that it’s not really in question as to whether or not it will be successful can completely change the mentality of the players, coaches, and fans. Boswell has given that to the Steelers. Too many NFL teams do not have certainty in their kicking situation, and I’m glad the Steelers don’t fall into that category.
Knowing how important Boswell is to the Steelers team, some look at that as a reason for Coach Tomlin to have not attempted the play they did just inside of two minutes last week which took Boswell out of the game. While you could argue one way or the other, the best thing to do is leave it in the past and move on. For me, I like to think of it as this: Perhaps Mike Tomlin had a conversation with Dr. Stephen Strange before the game and was informed that this was the one outcome out of 14,000,605 in which they would win. Despite the nontraditional path to victory, the Steelers did manage to get the win which was most important. I see that conversation going in this manner:
Dr. Strange: “There’s only one outcome and what you emerge victorious.”
Coach Tomlin: “So what do we need to do to win?”
Dr. Strange: “Inside the last two minutes of the first half in a tie game, you need to go for a fake on a short field goal.”
Coach Tomlin: “So it will give us a touchdown instead of a field goal?”
Dr. Strange: “No, it’s going to fail miserably.”
Coach Tomlin: “So why do we fake it?”
Dr. Strange: “Because if not, you lose. And your kicker is going to get knocked out of the game.”
Coach Tomlin: “What?!? We’re going to lose Bos? For how long?”
Dr. Strange: “For just this week. He’ll be back. You might want to throw a kicker on the practice squad for the week just in case.
Coach Tomlin: “So who’s our kicker for the rest of the game?”
Dr. Strange: “Nobody. You don’t kick anymore.”
Coach Tomlin: “So we don’t get a chance to kick yet we win the game?”
Dr. Strange: “No, you’ll get chances. Instead you go for it. Every time. Just do that and you’ll win. It’s the only way. Don’t live in your fears.”
Although the Steelers may have still won the game against the Browns without losing Boswell, we’ll ultimately lever know. I guess that’s why the above conversation actually took place in my mind. What’s most important is the Steelers got the victory AND Chris Boswell is ready to kick again in Week 9.
All fun aside, the peace of mind Chris Boswell brings to the Steelers organization should not be undervalued. When the Steelers take the field on Monday night, or any other time throughout the 2021 season, at any moment the game could come down to Boswell‘s toe getting the Steelers the victory. For me, as long as the Steelers can get Boswell the chance, I have full faith in him coming through.
It’s nice to have that feeling back. If not for the second half of the Browns game, I may not have remembered how great that feeling is.