Kickers: same spots, different approaches

Raiders' Janikowski wants pressure

Bucs' Gramatica wants to relax

Super Bowl

Notebook

January 25, 2003|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO - The kickers differ as much in size as in mind-set.

The Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski, who stands 6 feet 2 and 255 pounds, wants the pressure. The Buccaneers' Martin Gramatica, who is much smaller at 5-8, 170 pounds, would prefer to relax.

In a game where Oakland's top-ranked offense takes on Tampa Bay's top-ranked defense, the game may come down to a kick just like last year, when Adam Vinatieri's field goal won the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots.

"I would love to kick the winning field goal," Janikowski said.

Said Gramatica: "I want to win by a lot, so I can enjoy the fourth quarter. I don't want to think about it."

These kickers do have a couple of similarities. Both scored 128 points in the regular season and both can deliver from long distance.

Gramatica converted five of six kicks beyond 50 yards, while Janikowski made both tries from that distance.

"If it's going to come down to a field goal," Janikowski said, "I've got to go out and I've got to make one."

Security measures

Nearly 70 foreign-born security guards and drivers working at or around the Super Bowl were arrested by immigration agents in a three-month operation designed to ensure the safety of fans. Another 41 were being sought.

As part of Operation Game Day, the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested 45 security guards and 24 cabdrivers. Of those, 34 had criminal convictions.

Those detained on immigration violations could be deported. Six face prosecution on federal criminal charges.

The probe targeted workers in industries operating in and around Qualcomm Stadium who have access to restricted areas.

"In the aftermath of 9/11, our priority is to examine areas that pose the highest security threat and take appropriate action," said Adele J. Fasano, director of the INS' San Diego district.

Three more years

Tampa Bay receiver Keyshawn Johnson has decided that he will play only three more years. But since he will also no longer talk to the media, he made this announcement through his daily Super Bowl diary on ESPN.com.

"Because win or lose on Sunday, I'm playing three more years in this league," Johnson wrote. "And I'm announcing it right here that I am officially through with the media. It only took a Super Bowl to make me realize that there is no way to win the battle with the media, so I'm calling it quits. I'm pulling a Sterling Sharpe, a Steve Carlton, a Duane Thomas. I'm done."

Tale of two QBs

Two years ago, the then-Super Bowl champion Ravens were pursuing two quarterbacks: Brad Johnson and Elvis Grbac.

When Johnson decided to sign with the Buccaneers, the Ravens went with Grbac. Now, Grbac is contemplating coming out of his one-year retirement, and Johnson is in the Super Bowl.

"There were a lot of reasons to go to Baltimore, but for me personally I felt the best package was to go to Tampa for a lot of different reasons," Johnson said. "To get to this point, this is one of the reasons I came. We have a great relationship."

Looking for respect

With the Tampa Bay defense carrying the top ranking, the Oakland defense is being treated as second rate.

But the Raiders' defense, which had nine new starters this season, began to come together midway through the season. Over the last 10 games, Oakland has allowed an average of 15 points.

"We've been overlooked all year," strong safety Anthony Dorsett said.

Flexible Gruden

Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay says you can't judge coach Jon Gruden by his cover.

"I'm most impressed with Jon's ability to adjust," McKay said. "Jon looks like a guy, from his expressions, who is very inflexible. But that's not the case. He changed his offense to what we can do. He changed the offense to fit what Brad [Johnson] does well and to fit the defense we have."

Getting defensive

Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp was asked yesterday if defense still wins championships.

His answer: "Someone came up to me earlier in the year and said, `Warren, points are up in the NFL.' And I said, Not down here.' "

Safe bet

There's supposed to be no gambling by players, but there's a safe bet going on at the Super Bowl.

When Raiders guard Frank Middleton was at Tampa Bay, Derrick Brooks had a running wager based on whether Middleton could chase him down during practice. With Middleton over 300 pounds and Brooks a fleet-footed 235-pounder, it wasn't much of a contest.

"He said if I could catch him, he'd give me $100," Middleton said. "If I catch him during the game, I'll see if he'll give me $1,000."

Porter's emergence

The emergence of Jerry Porter almost didn't happen because of a fellow Raiders receiver. Tim Brown admitted he tried to get Porter released during Porter's first two seasons.

"I told the organization we didn't need it," Brown said. "I tried to talk to him early in his career. He was like, 'Hey, I don't need you. I don't need anybody.' But it was all because of some things he was going through. He had lost his brother. There were some things with the organization and he wanted to be by himself.

"I think toward the end of last season, he and Gruden got along better, and after Gruden left, he knew he was going to be a bigger part of the offense."

Neutral ground?

San Diego is supposed to be "neutral ground," but you wouldn't know it to see the billboards and light displays favoring the Buccaneers. The reason: a Baltimore-based advertising agency stealthily lined up the promotions to try to create a home-field advantage.

"You have to do it in complete secrecy," said Bob Leffler, president of the Leffler Agency, which pioneered what he calls "Rambo marketing" for another client, the Ravens, at Super Bowl XXXV.

For the Bucs, the agency lined up short-term rentals for 11 billboards at strategic sites and had players record station identification blurbs for more than a dozen radio and TV stations.

The goal is to sway neutral fans to root for Tampa Bay rather than Oakland, Leffler said.

Sun staff writer Jon Morgan and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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