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Gramatica's ebullience compensates for size

At 5 feet 8 and 170 pounds, Bucs kicker is memorable not only for his effectiveness but for his on-field celebrations.

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2003

SAN DIEGO -- The matchup between the NFL's No.1 offense and top-ranked defense has gained much attention in the days leading up to Super Bowl XXXVII.

But as Adam Vinatieri and Scott Norwood have shown in Super Bowls past, one kick can determine the outcome.

Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica and Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski may be two of the league's best, but there aren't two more contrasting personalities.

"I was a little worried about them getting together while I wasn't in San Diego," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden joked earlier this week. "I wouldn't want to be a part of that conversation."

What Gramatica gives up in size -- he's 6 inches smaller and 84 pounds lighter than the 6-2, 254-pound Janikowski -- the excitable Argentinian makes up for with effectiveness.

"He's a clutch player," Bucs punter and holder Tom Tupa said. "He's probably one of the best kickers in the league. He's proved it this year, made a lot of big kicks for this team."

Both Janikowski, who immigrated from Poland, and Gramatica are perfect on point-after attempts and have missed eight field goals each this season, but Gramatica holds a 3-2 advantage in successful field goals of 50 or more yards.

His longest was a 53-yarder against the Eagles on Oct.20.

"(Janikowski's) a great kicker, a very strong kicker and can use his leg and get the ball there," said Gramatica, who set club records with 32 field goals and 128 points during the regular season. "I have to use my whole body. When you're 170 (pounds), you don't have a choice."

Packaged inside that little body -- by NFL and Janikowski standards -- is a lionhearted desire.

When Gramatica made four field goals against the Panthers on Oct.27, including a game-winning 47-yarder with five seconds remaining, he celebrated with gusto, causing Carolina punter Todd Sauerbrun to say Gramatica should act more professional.

The two traded barbs through the media, but it is Gramatica who is one up.

"I'm here now," he said, "and he's watching on TV."

Back to the Super Bowl XXXVII
Today's lineup

Super Bowl XXXVII
  • John Romano: Gruden right investment for present, future
  • Gary Shelton: This season, it all seems attainable
  • No joy in just earning berth in big game
  • Raider nation
  • Who's going ...
  • Wagering options: Oh, yeah, wanna bet?
  • Notebook: Coleman, Darby practice; Gruden emphasizes focus
  • Don't give him a microphone
  • Watch for Raider outside spotlight
  • Raiders notebook: Reports of Davis' illness, retirement are premature
  • Bucs going 'global'in preseason matchup
  • Raiders fans dancing to a different tune
  • Raiders fans proud, loud, in the neighborhood
  • Tampa Bay Raiders
  • High profile: Mike Alstott
  • High profile: Rod Woodson
  • Guest analyst: Mike Golic: Perfect matchup hard one to pick
  • For Janikowski, change is good
  • Gramatica's ebullience compensates for size
  • Super Bowl A to Z: Awful L.A. attendance, zany 'zebras' and everything in between
  • Key matchups as seen by former NFL players
  • Cue the theme in 'Get Smart'
  • In brief: Setup perfect for Allen's Hall election
  • View from above provides best seat for game
  • Overtime overhaul expected
  • Internet: Diary has become big news
  • Radio/TV: Deckerhoff proud of talking up the Bucs
  • Letters: Bucs owners get backlash
  • Back to Top
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