The Power of Special Teams: A underrated unit on the Pittsburgh Steelers

A unit that is both underappreciated and undervalued just got the spotlight
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Special teams punt block guru and captain Miles Killebrew cemented himself as one of the most lethal weapons in Pittsburgh. The team leader on special teams for tackles are now followed by a newly signed two-year contract. Steelers Nation can breathe a sigh of relief knowing Killebrew is back and ready to tackle the upcoming season.

Special teams Coordinator Danny Smith has taken the talents of Chris Boswell, Miles Killebrew, Christian Kuntz, and Calvin Austin III and completely transformed the way the Steel City approaches games and masterfully formulates momentum-changing plays.

With a switchblade threat added to the roster, Cordarrelle Patterson, who has a lengthy history of game-changing plays, the Steel City could secure a better starting field position during games. 

Game Changers: Special Teams Version

Calvin Austin III is poised for a breakout season as he prepares for another year in the black and gold threads. Last season, we saw #19 have a few field-flipping games for the Steelers that created opportunities for the offense to showcase their versatility and creativity, only to fall short and have Chris Boswell put up points. One can imagine the dramatic difference this explosiveness would make with the open-minded Arthur Smith’s new offense getting a short field. 

Special teams units are almost an afterthought when it comes to big-time plays. Extra points used to be automatic, but that notion is out the window with the caliber of urgency and tactfulness added to the game plan.

Perhaps a level of comfort has found itself on the Steel City team, as coaches and players agree that Chris Boswell is simply automatic when he touches the football. Head Coach Mike Tomlin rarely showcases a sense of doubt or fear regarding the leg capabilities and leadership of #9.

The Future of Steel Special Teams

As Boswell enters his 10th season with the Steelers, following up on 29/31 field goals and 27/28 PAT’s made (ESPN) the entire Steel City team is once again ready for the power kicker to shatter records and amaze the entire NFL community. 

Conceivably the most forgotten or underappreciated position on the team is the long snapper. Christian Kuntz will continue to rep #46  for at least another three seasons. Kuntz brings a sense of consistency and dedication to a rather forgotten but impactful skillset that Special Teams heavily rely on. 

According to ESPN, newly signed Punter Cameron Johnston averaged 47.7 yards per punt last season with the Houston Texans. As Special teams Coordinator Danny Smith directs the veteran punter, Steelers fans are cautiously optimistic about the potential for a more consistent punting game in the upcoming season.

Let’s hope CJ can continue his career-long success of pinning opponents deep into their own territory and creating a variety of opportunities for the defense to shine. 

At the end of the day, players account for a variety of wow-worthy moments. Next time a field goal is made, a punt is blocked, or an extra point goes wide left, know it was courtesy of special teams. Special teams do your black and gold thing next season.