Bengals unhappy with Evan McPherson watching Super Bowl halftime


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Without rookie kicker Evan McPherson’s right leg, the Bengals likely won’t be in their first Super Bowl in 32 years.

Look no further than McPherson’s winning field goal of 52 yards to defeat the Titans in the AFC Divisional Round and his 31 yards to defeat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship. But for Cincinnati and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, a decision by McPherson during the Super Bowl left the organization unhappy.

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During the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show featuring Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent, McPherson apparently wanted to take it all. Rather than spending his half in the locker room, McPherson was seen on the sidelines enjoying the show.

“It’s a sore subject,” Simmons said, via The Athletic’s Jay Morrison. “It’s a real sore subject.”

Simmons continued, giving an honest review of McPherson.

Cincinnati Bengals kicker Evan McPherson #2 celebrates with starter Kevin Huber #10 after scoring the game-winning basket in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo.
(David Eulitt/Getty Images)

“He has to become a better practice kicker and kicker than he did,” Simmons said. “It’s not that it’s mediocre, but I think for him to be elite and push the limits, he needs to hit better in training and learn new things.”

A fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in Florida, McPherson scored 28 of 33 and 46 of 48 extra points last season. In four games during the playoffs, McPherson was perfect, scoring 14 of 14 and 6 of 6 with extra points.

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Building a successful rookie season will be paramount, along with improving his 60.4% touchdown rate on kickoffs. That number put McPherson in the middle of the pack league-wide, a number that Simmons would like to see skyrocket.

Cincinnati Bengals kicker Evan McPherson (2) scores a game-winning 20-yard field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bengals kicker Evan McPherson (2) scores a game-winning 20-yard field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Cincinnati.
(AP Photo/David Dermer)

“One of my main things in the offseason is I have to match his placement leg to what he does on kickoffs,” Simmons said. “He’s got a very, very powerful placement leg. It’s not that he doesn’t have a powerful kickoff leg, but we need to transfer that power into kickoffs more consistently than we haven’t done that this year.”


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