Rookie K Martin Gramatica is raiding the Buccaneers record book
At the conclusion of Thursday's Fan Chat with Buccaneer safety John Lynch, online fans submitted questions for the next Player of the Week, K Martin Gramatica. Gramatica, who scored 106 points during the regular season to establish a new Tampa Bay record, sat down with Buccaneers.com to answer 20 of those questions. Gramatica's thoughts are below.
Fans will get the opportunity to ask Martin questions directly on Thursday, January 13 at 5:00 p.m. when he appears as a guest on Buccaneers.com's next live chat session.
(Note: Questions are not necessarily worded exactly as they were submitted.)
Q: How would you compare the fans in Raymond James Stadium to the maniacs associated with soccer in Latin America?
A: I think it's just two different kinds of fans, the way they express their passion. In Latin America, they'll chant and sing songs the whole game. Here, they just get really excited when you do a good play, and when you're on defense, they get real loud so the offense can't hear.
Q: Who was your inspiration and why when you were a little kid?
A: Diego Maradona. He was a soccer player. It was always my dream to be like him.
Q: What can you or any kicker do to get your kickoffs deeper?
A: Really, I don't think there's anything that you can do right now. You just have to work on it during the off-season. With the balls the way they are, you just have to make sure to hit is solid.
Q: Do the bigger guys on the team pick on you, and what do you do to protect yourself?
A: Oh, there's nothing I can do! No, actually, there are just little jokes…nothing serious.
Q: Did you want to be a professional football player when you were a kid?
A: I didn't have a dream about that until my senior season in high school, when I started kicking. After that, it was my goal to get here.
Q: Even though you've only been in the league a short time, what has been your most memorable play?
A: I don't think I have a particular play. Everything is new, so I'm just enjoying every second of it.
Q: Were you surprised when you were selected by the Bucs in the draft?
A: I was really glad! In a way, I was surprised, because I really didn't know who was interested before the draft. I didn't want to think about it, because if I did I probably would have been upset if I had had to go somewhere else.
Q: What is the longest field goal you have kicked in practice?
A: Probably about 60 yards…62 I think it was.
Q: What is the longest field goal you have EVER kicked?
A: We get a pretty good wind in Kansas…probably about 68.
Q: Have you ever attended the Swamp Cabbage Festival in La Belle? (Gramatica's hometown is La Belle, Florida.)
A: I have, before I went to college.
Q: What is a swamp cabbage? (Buccaneers.com followup question.)
A: It's like a little palm tree…they cook it…I don't know.
Q: How did you end up at Kansas State?
A: A scholarship. I only had three offers: Kansas State, Notre Dame and Michigan State. I thought Kansas State would be the best place for me.
Q: What's the difference between kicking a 30-yard field goal and a 50-yard field goal…do you just kick harder, or lower, or what?
A: Really, there shouldn't be a difference. You've got to try to kick every one the same. It's just a mental thing. You see the goalposts a lot farther away on a 50-yarder.
Q: What do you think you would be doing if you hadn't made it in professional football?
A: Playing soccer, pro soccer.
Q: If my son wants to be the kicker on his high school team, what should I tell him to work on?
A: Just be natural. Just grab the ball and kick it. Don't worry about the high school coaches trying to tell you techniques and this and that. Just let him kick natural…I think that is the best thing to do.
Q: Have you had to make a tackle yet in the NFL?
A: Actually, my very first game, I pushed a guy out of bounds. I wouldn't call that a tackle, but they counted it.
Q: Do you think your brother (Bill) at USF will make it to the NFL, too?
A: I really do. Everything has to work out perfectly, but I think he's got a chance. He's definitely got the ability, I think, so we'll just wait and see.
Q: Do you think the Bucs can make it to the Super Bowl?
A: Definitely. We have a special team, a special group of people here, so I think we can.
Q: Do you think you'll feel any more pressure trying to make kicks in the playoffs than you do in the regular season?
A: No. It will be a different kind of pressure, because everything here is new. I'll just go out there and try to kick like I did before.
Q: Have you ever hurt anybody or yourself jumping on them after making a field goal?
A: No, but a couple of guys have thrown me off!