Bears Rookie Punter Tory Taylor Faces Major Adjustment from College Fame to NFL Reality

Punter Tory
Punter Tory (NFL)

Every NFL rookie undergoes a period of adjustment, and Chicago Bears rookie punter Tory Taylor is no exception. Chicago Tribune’s Colleen Kane, in a Q&A with Iowa Special Teams Coordinator LeVar Woods, highlights the significant changes Taylor will face as he transitions from college football at Iowa to the NFL.

At Iowa, Taylor was a celebrated figure, with fans going wild every time he entered Kinnick Stadium. This adulation included pregame ovations and cheering during his punts, a stark contrast to the typical NFL reaction where punters are often met with boos.

Woods points out that this enthusiastic support from college fans isn’t something Taylor will experience in the NFL. In professional football, punters do not receive the same level of excitement; instead, they often face indifference or negativity as their presence signifies a failed offensive drive. This cultural shift is something Taylor will need to adjust to as he begins his NFL career.

Punter Tory
Tory Taylor (NFL)

Reflecting on Taylor’s impact at Iowa, it is evident that his exceptional punting skills played a crucial role in the team’s success. The fans’ reaction was a testament to his importance on the field, often creating a belief that his performance could turn the game in their favor. This admiration was well-earned, given his significant contributions to the team’s performance.

Despite the anticipated shift in fan reception, there is optimism that Taylor can achieve similar acclaim with the Bears if he maintains his high performance.

Chicago has a history of embracing standout special teamers, with past players like Kevin Butler, Robbie Gould, Devin Hester, and Jerry Azumah becoming fan favorites. This historical context suggests that if Taylor excels in his role, he too could become a beloved figure among Bears fans.

Finally, there is a sense of hope for Taylor’s rookie season in Chicago, especially considering the lackluster performance of his predecessor, Trenton Gill. The bar for punters on the team is currently low, and Taylor’s college performance indicates that he has the potential to surpass it significantly.

If he can replicate his collegiate success, Taylor is poised to become the next special teams hero for the Bears, capturing the hearts of the fanbase and bringing a touch of his college glory to the NFL stage.