Not so eager to be a Super hero

Brad Daluiso: For this kicker, dreams of a last-second field goal are a distant second to enjoying a Giants rout.

Super Bowl Xxxv

Ravens vs. Giants

January 27, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - The Super Bowl ... fourth quarter ... final seconds ... the chance at the game-winning field goal. Every kicker's dream, right?

Not for the New York Giants' Brad Daluiso.

"No," he said. "I secretly harbor a hope that it's 45-0."

Make no mistake, if the opportunity comes about, the 10-year veteran will assuredly be ready. That's what he prepares for week after week, that's his job, but ...

"I answered that question a lot this week, and I said anybody who says they hope it comes down to a kick is lying, because that gives you the chance of losing," he said. "And if there's a chance at the end of the game that we're not losing, that's what I want.

"If it comes down to a kick at the end, I'll be ready. But I hope the game is in control on our side and we don't have to kick a game-winning field goal."

NFL place-kickers can be close to anonymous, but that's no problem for Daluiso. In his hometown of San Diego, Daluiso can walk the streets, do his shopping and go to restaurants with rarely a second look.

"There was one time," he said. "There's a restaurant in San Diego and I walked in and he had all this Giants paraphernalia. And the second I walked in, he said, `Brad Daluiso.' That was the only time."

The same can be said on the playing field most of the time. And, again, that's just fine with Daluiso.

"As a kicker, you pretty much assume if you're getting a lot of attention, something has gone wrong," he said.

There's been no avoiding attention this week. Not only is it Super Bowl week, but it's also the 10-year anniversary of Scott Norwood's memorable miss that made the Giants winners over the Buffalo Bills.

"I was in college when that kick happened, so it didn't affect me too much," said Daluiso, a UCLA grad who was a teammate of Norwood's the next season. "That's real hard, but that's part of our job, and he knew that going in. Obviously, it was made to be a big deal and it was a big deal, but my guess would be with Scott, it's less of a deal than it's made out to be."

In the regular season, Daluiso connected on 17 of 23 field-goal attempts and made all 34 point-after attempts to finish with 85 points. In eight career playoff games, he went a perfect 9-for-9 before missing his third and final field-goal try in the Giants' 41-0 win over the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

"I have all the confidence in the world in Brad," said Giants special teams coach Larry Mac Duff. "As far as his work ethic, character, competitiveness and professionalism, all those things are big, big positives with him."

This week - with all of a Super Bowl's distractions - has been plenty different for Daluiso, but he's done everything possible to keep it as normal as possible. He said to overanalyze is to waste energy. Practice time is his return to reality.

"I'll prepare the way I always prepare and I'll focus for those three hours and I'll think about the game and I'll work on my technique and the other things I do every week. And then at 5 o'clock, I'll let go of it until the next day," he said.

Mac Duff said: "Everyone is saying, `What do you say to him this week in preparation when the game may come down to a field goal at the very end?' And what we do is we just try to create a positive environment for him, get him the reps in practice, give him an opportunity to prepare himself and don't throw any added pressure on him, because nobody in the world has a better understanding of the importance of a kick than he does."

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