For the past few years around Pittsburgh, there are a few people that the fans love to blame when their team loses the game. For the Pirates, it was John Russell. For the Panthers, it is Dave Wannstedt. The Penguins main scapegoat, Marc-Andre Fleury. Last but not least for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bruce Arians and Jeff Reed. Well Steeler fans, one of your wishes came true as the somewhat controversial kicker Jeff Reed got his walking papers. Time to celebrate right? Well like the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Fans have been calling for Reed’s head since the stunning loss last year against the Bears when Reed missed two field goals in what may be the only stadium that is equally as hard to kick in as Heinz Field is. After that game, Reed missed only two more field goals the rest of the way. That game against the Bears was in Week 2. In what is a down year for Reed, he has only made 15 of 22 field goals on the year which is way below his average. Sunday nights game against the Patriots was the final straw for most fans for missing a 26 yard field goal, but the straw that broke the kicker’s back came in a postgame interview where Reed blamed the fans for getting on him and the field conditions. Put that with his preseason blasting of the Rooney’s about lying to him about a possible contract extension to be paid like the top kicker in the league. “See ya later Jeff”, “It’s about time” and “Good for the guy, leave and never come back” were some of the reactions to his release. Well Pittsburgh faithful, I hate to tell you, but you won’t realize the quality of a kicker that you had.
Reed led the NFL in kicking percentage the past three years kicking in the worst stadium to kick in. Is he having a down year, yes, but the Steelers gave up on him to fast not allowing him to right the ship. How many times has this man came up clutch in the playoffs and game winning kicks. Everybody loved the guy then. I suppose that 2 Super Bowls mean nothing and not even mentioning his extensive work with charities around the area. “We got rid of him because he ran his mouth and punched in a towel dispenser at Sheetz” is what some of you may say. Yes Jeff has made some mistakes and spoke his mind when he hasn’t, but if he was 21-22 this year on field goals would you care? If the organization didn’t stand for off the field incidents, then why is Reed and Santonio Holmes gone but Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison are still around? Ben wasn’t found guilty I understand, but he still shed some bad light on the organization. Give it a few weeks and see how much of a fan of Shaun Suisham you are. He is a standout kickoff man, sending the ball 6 yards deep in the endzone consistently, but have you seen this guys track record. He is known for the ‘choke’. If you don’t know what that is, ask a Redskins fan, they’ll tell you. Ask the Cowboys how Suisham looked in the playoffs last year after missing two field goals in what was a blowout anyway. Let’s see, he was cut by the Steelers in 2005 and then signed by the Redskins then released. The Cowboys signed him and released him. Within in the past 12 months, he endured his second stints and releases by the Redskins and Cowboys, signed for 2 months with the Browns in March, and released by the Rams in training camp. Sounds like a great choice Tomlin. He must have shined at the open audition at Heinz Field. I guess it couldn’t have been hard when he was the only one.
Reed missed a field goal opening day which could have sealed the game that they ended up winning anyways. Besides that, how much affect have the field goals he missed really had on the team? The others that come up is the one is Cincinnati where the defense allowed the Bengals to come back into the game and Reed missed a field goal that could have sealed the game, not won the game, but sealed it. The 26 yarder he missed against the Patriots changed the game alot. Maybe if they lost by 3 points that is. The fact is, when you have to rely on your kicker to make a kick from the 9 yard line is pathetic that the offense can’t punch the ball in. If Mike Wallace and Randel El hold onto the ball in the endzone, the kick never takes place. Not to mention William Gay giving up 3 touchdowns the the Rookie Rob Gronkowski, a Tight End none the less. I hope you enjoyed the years that Reed gave you because mark my words, sometime this year or next, whether Reed is a Patriot, Bengal, Jet or Cowboy, he will make a kick to beat the Steelers and have the fans calling for him to be back.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com