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The Unique Experience Of A Football Placekicker

Pete Madia
University of Pittsburgh Athletics
Pittsburgh Panther placekicker Chris Blewitt during their match against the Syracuse Orange.

The life of long-distance football placekicker is unusual.  Although he only gets in for a few plays per game, he has the potential to be the most criticized.  University of Pittsburgh placekicker Chris Blewitt knows this all too well.

“You could say that it’s fair or unfair, but I mean, there are always eleven guys on the field at a time, so everyone’s working together.  Everyone could share and take part and credit for the game.”

The Panthers (6-2) will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1) on Saturday in a much-anticipated rivalry matchup.

“We know this is a big rivalry game.  We know they’re a great team, and we’re just ready to get out there and show the country what we can do,” Blewitt says. 

Growing up a soccer player, Blewitt had no interest in football until he decided to join the team as a kicker with his friends in high school.  Though the type of kicks in both soccer and football are similar, he says it took time to adjust to kicking through an upright.

“It is a different kick, challenging to master.”  

Once Blewitt was comfortable on the football field, he realized that he had a knack for the game.  And he was good—so good that he was offered a scholarship from Pitt, a rarity for most placekickers.

Being a placekicker presents its challenges, Blewitt admits, and involves an unwavering sense of mental toughness.

“You can’t kick scared.  You can’t play scared.”

Although placekickers can face a lot of blame from the media and fans for those high-stakes moments and Blewitt specifically has to deal with jokes about his last name, he says he tries to remain focused and unfazed.

“Any pressure that comes from it is the pressure that you put on yourself because you have thousands of people in the stands watching, but they’re not on the field playing. I can’t dwell on that too long.”

As is the same for many collegiate players, the dream of playing professionally always looms in the back of his mind.

“It would be nice,” Blewitt admits.  “I’m just going to keep my head down, focus, work on the fundamentals, and just keep trying to get better and stronger."

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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