Will Steelers Suisham Job Look Different In 2015?


The Steelers place kicker, Shaun “Squeeze’m” Suisham, has been one of the more dependable kickers for the Steelers since Gary Anderson booted the football through the 80’s and into the early 90’s.

Place kickers always face a tolerate/hate relationship with fans. They never get any true love from fans when they do well, such as going 4 of 4 in a game deiced by field goals. But, they sure get the wag of the finger when they miss a critical kick late in the game.

I’d like to think that $u$hi (as quipped by Pittsburgh media guy David Todd) gets a little extra love from fans and a bit less of the venom when he misses.

Kickers also have one of the ‘most boring’ football plays in the game – the extra point attempt.

The argument has been around for some time that the PAT is a waste and has very little reward for a sequence that could cause injury to players during the attempt. The movement for change in the PAT gained traction a couple years ago, and is set for a vote when the owners meet this week in Atlanta, GA.

There are three rule changes on the table:

1) Move the PAT to the 15-yard line, keep the two point conversion at the two yard line.

2) Move the PAT to the 15-yard line, keep the two point conversion at the two yard line, but give defenses a chance to return a turned over football for two points.

3) Move the PAT to the 15-yard line, move the two point conversion to the one yard line, and give defenses a chance to return a turned over football for two points.

If you ask me, all three of these favor the two point conversion – especially Option #3.

Even at the 15-yard line, kickers have an amazing accuracy rate. A kick from the 15 yard line is equivalent to a 33 yard field goal attempt. In 2014, kickers were kicking at a 90% success rate in the 30-39 yard field goal range (264 of 292). That’s very good with a large contingent of those kickers being perfect with their attempts.

How will coaches weigh the 10% failure rate vs. the 53% failure rate of a tw0 point conversion from 2014?

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t gamble too often with two point conversion, but when he does, he has the best success rate… or better said, the offense on the field has the best success rate in the NFL since 2007.

When the owners vote and decide on one of these options, will Mike Tomlin be one of the coaches who chooses the two point conversion more often than the single PAT?

If that’s the case, Suisham’s job (and potentially other PK’s in the league) will be relegated to just field goals and kickoffs as their primary function.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And, I have serious doubts that it will impact the paycheck of any of these PK’s. Suisham is set to make $2.5 million as a base salary in 2015.

Take the majority of PAT’s out of his hands…er… foot, and his salary would essentially stay the same. After all, he’s there to consistently make field goals from 30+ yards.

I too (like many others) am no fan of the ‘automatic’ PAT, and I’m very curious to see what the new rule change will do game strategies and outcomes. We may no longer see 21-7 scores any longer.

Hmmmm, come to think of it, this rule change will put a neat little spin on the Vegas line as well as those Super Bowl grids.

Next: Steelers Appear Set At Offensive Tackle

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