Martín Gramática

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Martín Gramática
refer to caption
Gramática (right) at a kicking camp
No. 7, 10, 1
Position:Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1975-11-27) November 27, 1975 (age 45)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Height:5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight:170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school:LaBelle (FL)
College:Kansas State
NFL Draft:1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
NFL
College
Career NFL statistics
Games played:109
Field goal attempts:203
Field goals:155
Field goal %:76.4
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Martín Gramática (born November 27, 1975) is an Argentine-American former American football placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football at Kansas State University, and was recognized twice as an All-American.

Early years

Gramática was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of nine, he moved with his family to the United States.[1] The family settled in LaBelle, Florida, east of Fort Myers. He was only interested in playing soccer at LaBelle High School, but his kicking precision attracted the attention of the football coach of the school. He invited Gramática to try out as the team's kicker.[2]

Gramática started to play American football during his senior year. He tallied 8-of-10 field goals, 22 extra points, and hit 38 of 49 kickoffs out of the end zone for touchbacks. His longest field goal was 52 yards.

College career

Gramática accepted a football scholarship from Kansas State University. As a freshman in 1994, he ranked eighth in the Big Eight Conference with 57 scored points, making 6-of-9 field goals (66.7%) and 38-of-39 extra points (97.4%).

As a sophomore in 1995, because of a very effective redzone offense, Gramática saw his field goal opportunities reduced, connecting in 7-of-10 field goals (70%) and 43-of-46 extra points (93.5%).

In 1996, Gramática was granted a medical redshirt, after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament one week before the season opener.

As a junior in 1997, he posted 19-of-20 field goals (95%), 37-of-38 extra points (97.4%) and 94 scored points. He converted all three of his over 50-yard field goal attempts. He received the Lou Groza Award.

As a senior in 1998, he registered 22-of-31 field goals (71%) and 69-of-69 extra points (100%). He set the NCAA record for scoring by a kicker in a single-season with 135 points. He hit a 65-yard field goal against Northern Illinois University, which was the fourth-longest field goal in NCAA history, and the longest in NCAA history without the use of a tee. He finished in second place for the Lou Groza Award.

Gramática received his Bachelor of Science degree in social science from Kansas State in May 1999.

During his four seasons, he became the school's greatest placekicker. He made 54 out of 70 field goals and 187 of 192 point-after-touchdown attempts, gaining a school record of 349 points in four seasons. He set the single-season school record with 135 points and the longest field goal kicked from 65 yards.[2] Those achievements earned him the nickname Automatica because whenever he attempted a field goal, it was taken for granted that it would be good.[1]

In 2008, he was inducted into the Kansas State's Ring of Honor. In 2013, he was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was inducted into the Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame.[3]

Professional career

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gramática was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round (80th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he began the season by making 10 consecutive field goals. In the tenth game against the Atlanta Falcons, he kicked 4-of-4 field goal attempts with a long of 53 yards. He tallied 27-of-32 field goal attempts (84.4%), 27-of-27 extra points (100%) and 106 points (franchise record).

In 2000, he posted 28-of-34 field goals (82.4%), 42-of-42 extra points and scored 126 points (new franchise record). In the seventh game against the Detroit Lions, he kicked 4-of-4 field goal attempts with a long of 55 yards. He was the starter for the NFC Pro Bowl team.

In 2001, he scored 23-of-29 field goals (79.3%), 28-of-28 extra points (100%) and 97 points. Although he was known for jumping in celebration after every successful field goal attempt, he stopped this practice after his younger brother Bill Gramática tore his right anterior cruciate ligament, while playing for the Arizona Cardinals and celebrating in a similar manner after kicking a field goal.[4] In the seventh game against the Detroit Lions, he kicked 4-of-4 field goal attempts with a long of 55 yards. In the fifteenth game against the New Orleans Saints, he kicked 4-of-4 field goal attempts with a long of 32 yards, before suffering a right hamstring strain in the second half. He missed the season finale against the Baltimore Ravens. In the 13-17 wild card playoff loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, he kicked 3-of-3 field goal attempts.

In 2002, he tallied 32-of-39 field goals (82.1%), 32-of-32 extra points (100%). In the eighth game against the Carolina Panthers, he scored the 400th career point, while kicking 4-of-4 field goals with a long of 53 yards. He was a part of the winning Super Bowl XXXVII team, making 2 field goals and 6 extra points for 12 points, while also becoming the first Argentine born player to be a part of the final game. Gramática gained popularity that allowed him to sign exclusive contracts to make advertisement campaigns for diverse companies.[2] The $14,500,000-contract signed with the Buccaneers in 2002 ranked him among the best-paid Argentine sportsmen after footballers Hernán Crespo, Juan Verón, and Gabriel Batistuta.[1]

In 2003, Gramática had a noticeable drop in accuracy in field goals of 40 yards or longer (4-of-11 for 36%). He collected 16-of-26 field goals (61.5%), 33-of-34 extra points and 81 points. In the fifth game against the Washington Redskins, he kicked 3-of-4 field goals and 5-of-5 extra points.

In 2004, his accuracy problems continued, registering 11-of-19 field goal (57.9%) and 21-of-22 extra points (95.5%) attempts. He did not make a field goal longer than 22 yards after the fifth game against the New Orleans Saints. In the eleventh game against the Carolina Panthers, he missed 3 field goal attempts (one was blocked), contributing to a 14-21 loss. He only connected on 2 of his last 9 field goal attempts (22%). He was released two days later on November 30 and replaced with Jay Taylor.[5]

Indianapolis Colts (first stint)

On December 8, 2004, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as a kickoff specialist, to complement kicker Mike Vanderjagt who had a groin injury, while reuniting with his former head coach Tony Dungy.[6] He appeared in 4 games and averaged 61.8 yards per kickoff. He was not re-signed after the season.

In September 2005, Gramática revealed in an interview with The News-Press of Fort Myers, that he believed the reason for his struggles the previous 2 seasons was because of torn muscles in his lower adductor and lower abdomen, which he had surgically repaired during the offseason. However, his rehabilitation was not completed until after the 2005 season started, and he remained out of football while rehabbing.[7]

New England Patriots

On April 6, 2006, the New England Patriots signed him as a possible replacement for veteran Adam Vinatieri, who signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts. Gramática competed with rookie fourth-round draft pick Stephen Gostkowski for the position. He made his only two preseason attempts against the Atlanta Falcons. He was released on August 23.[8]

Indianapolis Colts (second stint)

On September 22, Gramática returned to the Colts for depth purposes, after Adam Vinatieri suffered a groin injury.[9] He appeared in 3 games, making one field goal of 20 yards and 3 extra points against the New York Jets. He was released on October 9.[10]

Dallas Cowboys

On November 27, 2006, Gramática was signed by the Dallas Cowboys, after the team released veteran Mike Vanderjagt. On December 3, in his debut with the team, he kicked the game-winning 46-yard field goal against the New York Giants.[11]

In the 20-21 Wild Card Playoff loss against the Seattle Seahawks, he made 2-of-2 field goals and 2-of-2 extra points. He also became part of Cowboys lore on fourth-and-one with 1:19 left in the game, Gramática was going to attempt a 19-yard field goal for the go ahead score, when starter Tony Romo the holder for the kick, fumbled the snap, recovered the ball and attempted to run it for either a touchdown or a first down, but was tackled short of the first down marker, and turned the ball over on the Seattle 2-yard line.[12]

On March 5, 2007, Gramática signed a two-year extension with the Cowboys. He was passed on the depth chart by rookie Nick Folk during the preseason. After being placed on injured reserve with a strained right hamstring on September 1, he was released on September 25.[13][14]

New Orleans Saints

On December 12, 2007, Gramática was signed by the New Orleans Saints to handle the kicking duties for the final three games, after kicker Olindo Mare was injured.[15] On December 23, he matched his personal long field goal mark of 55 yards just before halftime in a pivotal game against the Philadelphia Eagles.[16] He made 5-of-5 field goal (100%) and 8-of-8 extra points (100%) attempts.

In the 2008 preseason, he was challenged by sixth-round draft pick Taylor Mehlhaff for the team's placekicking job. Gramática remained the starter as Mehlhaff was waived by the Saints on August 30 during the final roster cuts. Gramática was perfect until September 21, when he missed two critical field goals in a loss to the Denver Broncos. On October 6, he had a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown and a missed 46-yard field goal just before the two-minute warning in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Just two days after the game against Minnesota, Gramática was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury on October 8 and the team re-signed Mehlhaff.[17] He finished with 6-of-10 field goals (60%) and 16-of-16 extra points (100%). He was not re-signed after the season.

Personal life

His younger brother, Bill, was also a kicker in the NFL.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Una historia bien argentina". Clarín. January 25, 2003.
  2. ^ a b c "The end". Olé. February 11, 2009.
  3. ^ "Martin Gramatica Hall of Fame bio". Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  4. ^ "Brief history of strange moments for kickers, punters". Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  5. ^ "Buccaneers release kicker Gramatica". Chicago Tribune. December 1, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  6. ^ "ROUNDUP Colts sign Gramatica for kickoffs - News". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 9, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  7. ^ "There Is Always Something". Dallas Cowboys. November 28, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Reiss, Mike (August 24, 2006). "Gramatica has both feet out door as he is released by Patriots". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  9. ^ "Colts pick up veteran kicker Gramatica as insurance". ESPN. September 22, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  10. ^ James, Tom (October 11, 2006). "Critics not impressed by Colts' 5-0 start". Tribune Star. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  11. ^ "Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants - December 3rd, 2006". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  12. ^ "Tony Romo's bobbled hold reminds Cowboys of what's at stake vs. Seahawks". ESPN. January 4, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  13. ^ "Cowboys cut CB Glenn, put Gramatica on IR". NFL.com. Associated Press. September 1, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  14. ^ "Cowboys drop Gramatica from injured reserve". NFL.com. Associated Press. September 25, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  15. ^ "Saints sign K Gramatica, place Mare on injured reserve". USA Today. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  16. ^ "Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints - December 23rd, 2007". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  17. ^ Triplett, Mike (October 8, 2007). "New Orleans Saints replace Martin Gramatica with Taylor Mehlhaff". The Times-Picayune.

External links

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