The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Garrett Hartley today to replace Shaun Suisham. Suisham, who was one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers last season and has mastered the difficult art of kicking at Heinz Field, tore his ACL during the Hall of Fame Game while attempting to make a tackle on a kick return.
Garrett Hartley has kicked in the NFL since 2008 when he entered as the kicker for the New Orleans Saints. A brief glance at his history shows that he is a very strong kicker inside of 30 yards and does reasonably well inside of 40 yards. His overall career field goal kicking percentage is 81.7%
- Garrett Hartley has never missed an extra point.
For comparison’s sake, Suisham’s field goal kicking percentage for the Steelers 2014 season was 90.7% and his career average in Pittsburgh is 87.9%. However, prior to coming to Pittsburgh Suisham’s averages with Washington and Dallas were less impressive, where he leveled out at 80.2% and 66.7%
In addition to his time in New Orleans with the Saints, Hartley kicked for the Cleveland Browns at the tail end of 2014, where he went 3-3 on field goal tries including two from over 30 yards and one from beyond 40.
Steelers Trends with Kickers
Tony Defeo, a fellow blogger and part-time contributor to this site, once quipped that Steelers kickers are like ex-girlfriends (that’s a must read if there ever was one.)
- And he’s right. The Steelers tend to go all in with a kicker or not at all.
Roy Gerela kicked for Chuck Noll from 1969 to 1978. He was followed by Matt Bahr who kicked from 1979 and 1980, was spelled for a year by David Trout, who was followed by Gary Anderson who kicked from 1982 to 1994.
Gary Anderson left Pittsburgh in a contract dispute, but he was followed by Norm Johnson who kicked from 1995 to 1998. Johnson gave way to Kris Brown, who did well enough at Three Rivers Stadium but struggled at Heinz Field.
The Steelers thought they had Brown’s replacement in Todd Peterson, but Peterson too had difficulty kicking at Heinz Field so the Steelers brought in Jeff Reed, who kicked from mid-2002 until mid-2010.
That’s 9 kickers in 46 years for those of you at home taking notes.