When coming up with a list of postseason heroes for the Cincinnati Bengals, Evan McPherson would be named early. But something the rookie kicker did during Super Bowl LVI didn’t sit well with one of his coaches.
It wasn’t performance-related or even related to something that happened during the game. While Cincinnati did lose the game, the narrow loss can’t be pinned on McPherson. McPherson, who had an excellent postseason leading up to the Super Bowl, connected on both of his field-goal attempts during the game and was 2-for-2 on extra points.
But at halftime, rather than be in the locker room with his teammates, McPherson stayed on the bench to watch the critically acclaimed halftime show. That was not a popular decision with his special teams’ coach, Darrin Simmons.
“That’s a sore subject,” Simmons said, per Jay Morrison of The Athletic “That’s a real sore subject.”
Morrison also noted that Clark Harris, Cincinnati’s long snapper, did the same thing. Rich Eisen tweeted a photo at halftime where both McPherson and one of his teammates (presumably Harris) are on the sideline.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) February 14, 2022
But Harris wasn’t spotted by on-field cameramen and photographers. McPherson was.
With that, Simmons’ issue may be more with the optics of McPherson getting caught. And that makes sense.
If you’ve ever been to a football game, you know that both before the game and at halftime, special teams players (namely the kickers, punters, and long snappers) are on the field minutes before the rest of their teams anyway. Their roles are so self-contained that nothing being discussed in the locker room is applicable to them. So, while their teammates are being talked to, getting any sorenesses treated, and working on game planning, the specialists are on the field getting loose.
So, McPherson watching the halftime show was not detrimental to the team. It wouldn’t have been detrimental to the team if he had a bad game — which he did not. But it was notable.
Now, the question is, was it notable for a charming reason or something else? That’s up to every individual to decide.
[The Athletic ]