Yes, you read that right. Take a look at that title and let’s cue the rebuttals! I know what everyone is thinking: but how can the kicker be the best player on the team? Let’s stop under-appreciating the kicker position, and before you dismiss that statement as being totally ridiculous, let’s look at how Boris Bede has been the best player for the Montreal Alouettes in 2015.
First, we must define what it means to be the best player. Being better than everyone else on a sports team doesn’t necessarily mean having the best skills or the best statistics. Being the best may also mean being the most consistent player while performing at the highest level and helping the team win. Let’s take that definition and break down Bede’s statistics and his consistency of play compared to other players on the team.
Growing up in France, Bede prominently played soccer and moved to the United States to pursue a soccer career at the age of 15, before discovering football. He followed a similar path to that of Ottawa kicker Chris Milo, Bede’s predecessor with the Rouge et Or – both strengthened their legs in footy before using them in a big way in football. He even committed to the University of Sherbrooke for soccer before going to Laval for football. Because of this, Bede has developed an extremely powerful leg.
Bede has been the definition of consistency this season, for both the good and bad facets of his game. Extra point attempts has been the weakest part of the Frenchman’s game, but it’s consistently off, at least. He went 1/2 in the first two games before making every attempt in the next four games. Then in weeks 8 and 9, Bede failed to convert on the only PATs he had kicked in each game. It’s a bit of a surprise to know that the powerful leg of Bede has gone 12/16 on the converts from only 35 yards out.
The Laval product has missed only two field goals all season out of 27 attempts, and he made his first 12 attempts in the league. Fortunately for him, his two missed field goals were from 54 and 58 yards out, both resulting in singles; the 58 yard kick in fact sailed through the end zone. Yes, Bede drove the ball 78 yards down the field! His made field goals have been kicked from an average of 32 yards out, with his longest coming from 49, 50, and 52 yards.
He is kicking like a veteran on the field. Nothing fazes him when he lines up and he exudes confidence on the field. This past week against the Lions, following his 52-yard field goal, Bede coordinated a celebration with his pinner, Tanner Marsh, and long snapper, Martin Bedard, that involved the trio mimicking the firing of a bazooka gun. Takes a lot for a rookie to celebrate a field goal in such grand style.
As an offence, the Alouettes have scored a total of 193 points; 92 of them have come off Bede’s leg, meaning 48% of their total offence is from their kicker.
On 59 punts, Bede has kicked for an average of 45 yards and has produced only three singles, which is much better than his predecessor, Sean Whyte. Whyte would regularly hit singles after missing his corner punts. Bede hasn’t exactly been hitting those tight corner punts, inside the five or ten yard line, but Bede can stick it within the 20 when he has the opportunity, giving his opponents a long field ahead of him.
It’s been said many times that the Alouettes have been victims of inconsistent performances on both sides of the ball, and the result is their sub-par 4-6 record. Compared to his teamates, Bede has been the most consistent and reliable player for interim head coach Jim Popp.
So Boris Beded probably doesn’t possess the biggest skill-set on the team, nor does he have the greatest importance to a casual fan’s eye. But when the numbers are crunched and the finer details of his game are examined, it’s clear how valuable Bede is to the team. The Alouettes will need his services more than ever as the season hits the final stretch and wins come at a premium.