Super Bowl-winning kick not O'Brien's biggest thrill

January 27, 1995|By Susan Miller Degnan | Susan Miller Degnan,Knight-Ridder News Service

MIAMI -- Believe it or not, Jim O'Brien has kicked a game-winning field goal that gave him a bigger thrill than winning the fifth Super Bowl in January of 1971 with his 32-yarder that sailed through the uprights of the Orange Bowl with five seconds left in the game.

O'Brien, now 47 and living in Thousand Oaks, Calif., gave the Baltimore Colts a 16-13 victory against the Dallas Cowboys in his very first year in the NFL. But he says college squeakers were more fun.

"My junior year at Cincinnati," explains O'Brien, "I kicked a 47-yard field goal against Miami of Ohio to win the game as time ran out. I'm not saying the Super Bowl kick wasn't neat, but in college it's neater because you know more people in the stands."

Today, O'Brien has a 14-year-old son, Kelly, and 10-year-old son, Kasey. He recently became the chief operating officer of Forever Yours, a digital technology company that photographs newborn babies in hospitals as keepsakes for mom and dad.

He says that every January he gets calls from journalists about his memorable kick, and the guys at his tennis club want to talk about it.

"At the time, it was great," he says, "but I don't think I ever realized how neat it really was. I think everyone else knows it more than you, because even though you're experiencing it, you can't get outside yourself to see exactly what is happening.

"I never thought about it being the Super Bowl. It had rained that morning and the artificial turf -- that was the first Super Bowl played on artificial turf -- was pretty wet. All I could think about was following through."

Does he remember Colts quarterback Earl Morrall, who was the holder, telling him to "just kick the ball straight" because "there is no wind?"

Says O'Brien, laughing: "That was 24 years ago. Who remembers that much?"

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