I guess it’s officially official: the Steelers have finally released punter Jordan Berry (for the second year in a row), and rookie Pressley Harvin III will now man the position for 2021.
Yay....I guess? I mean, it was fun to talk about the punting situation immediately after Pittsburgh selected Harvin in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft and even through the remainder of the offseason; it made for great article and podcast fodder.
It even continued through training camp and the preseason.
Leading up to every preseason game, someone would ask me, “What are you looking forward to in tonight’s game?” and one of the things I would say was that I was really excited about the punting battle. But the truth is, I was never as excited as I thought I’d be. Why? I mean, Harvin is a punter. How exciting can he actually be?
Maybe Harvin will be better than Berry. Maybe he’ll be a Pro Bowl player. But how often do you want to see the punter during a game? Seeing a punter trot out onto the field is like getting a visit from the Turk and being told to bring your offensive playbook because it sucks.
Anyway, the best you can hope for from a punter (besides the occasional successful fake punt) is a really good punt that either travels a long distance or is downed at the one-inch line.
A great punt is like being second in a really long line at the coffee shop; sure, you’re second in line, but why couldn’t you have been first, damn it? A great punt is like getting a painless root canal; sure, it was painless, but you still just had a root canal, damn it.
A really great punt is....I don’t think I need any more examples.
As for a horrible punt, well, that’s like arriving at a four-way intersection where road work is taking place; you hope that your street will be the next one the person with the sign waves through, only to find out (like four songs later) that your street went right before you showed up.
Talk about rage.
And don’t even get me started on the whole holding for extra points/field goals thing. I don’t accept the occasional free ticket to a Steelers game just so I can watch the holder. Whenever I’m talking about the team’s prospects during the offseason, I don’t ever say things like, “I think they got a chance, but I just hope the holding holds up.”
I don’t want to know about the holding situation. I can’t be concerned with it. It’s like breathing; I rarely notice it, and I never want it to become something I have to worry about. Unfortunately, Harvin still has to get better at the whole holding thing, which may cause head coach Mike Tomlin to hyperventilate a time or two during the regular season.
I think I realized how excruciating this whole punting thing was on Friday night when I watched Harvin and Berry battle it out in Pittsburgh’s “thrilling” 34-9 loss to the Panthers in the preseason finale.
Thanks to the ineptitude of the Steelers' offense, the two combined for eight punts (four each) and averaged 43 yards per kick.
Yes, it was the punting showdown we were all waiting for all offseason; sadly, it was great in theory, but in application, it felt like that one episode just about every show in the history of the world has had where the entire story focuses on some secondary character. ("Do I smell a spinoff?")
I don’t care how good a punter is, if you see him an average of eight times a game, you’re eventually going to hate his guts.
Right now, Harvin is living off the high of not being Berry. Eventually, however, the best he can probably hope for is that the fans never notice him.
So how can Harvin continue this roll he’s been on where he’s a popular folk hero with Steelers fans? Maybe his own radio show? Perhaps he can do a bunch of stuff on social media to get noticed...
Second thought, maybe the fans never noticing him is the best Pressley Harvin can ultimately hope for.