Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NFL Preview : Introducing Martin AUTOMATICA

If there is one state in America that has a sentimental connection with the Albiceleste it has to be the State of Texas, and they do go a long way back.

A friend of ours by the name of Jonathan Cohen, who is a passionate Albiceleste supporter like all of us here, lives there. Mentioned the name Manu GINOBILI and Fabricio OBERTO to anyone who hails from San Antonio, and you will probably see a smile on their face. Now the city of Houston is eagerly anticipating the arrival of another superstar of ours, Luis SCOLA for the new NBA season. Our beloved football team played one match in Dallas, at the Cotton Bowl Arena during our unsung campaign in USA ‘94, which was against Bulgaria. Forget about the result but I’m sure many Texans would have seduced and captivated by the beauty of our team regardless what the result may be.

And now there is another name that is ready to paint it all in blue and white and just whom am I referring to. He goes by the name Martin GRAMATICA, who plays as a place kicker for the one of the most celebrated franchise in National Football League (NFL) history, the Dallas COWBOYS.

So just who is this Martin GRAMATICA? Some of you may have heard of him and some may not, well then here is brief but quite lengthy information about him.

He was born on the 27th November 1975 in Buenos Aires like most Argentine he grew up playing football (soccer that is in case you’re confuse) before he started playing Gridiron football. It was only when he attended LaBelle High School in Florida that he started playing the game and continue to do so when he went on to attend Kansas State University. During his time there he made a record of notching 54 out of 70 field goal and 187-192 Points After Touchdown (PAT), in which subsequently he earned the nickname “Automatica”.

For the record, the GRAMATICAS are a family made of gridiron place kickers and most certainly Argentina’s ambassador to American football. Brother Bill, once famous for a freak injury he suffered while celebrating after converting a field goal now plays for the Tampa Bay STORM in the Arena Football League (AFL). His other brother Santiago was also once a college place kicker for the South Florida BULLS.

In 1998 he received the Lou Groza Award for being the top kicker in college football. In May 1999, he graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in social science. The very same year, the Tampa Bay BUCCANEERS selected him as their third round NFL draft pick and he on went to play for them for the next five years.It was during those five years in Tampa Bay that turns out to the most glorious time in Martin’s NFL career. Through his consistency and accuracy in converting field goals, he became one of the most respected place kickers and often regarded as one of the best in the game.

The 2002 season was to be the highlight and the best thus far for Martin when the Bucs made history by winning their first ever Super Bowl at Super Bowl XXXVII, after defeating the Oakland RAIDERS by 48-21 (the Half Time Show included a great performance by Sting with No Doubt backing him on the Police classic “Message In A Bottle”). Martin followed up on that to become the first ever Argentine (so far the only) to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Some of his important contribution in the game was converting a field goal from 31 yard to the tie the score at 3-3 and later on he struck his second field goal from 43 yard to give the Bucs a 6-3 lead. He was also the best performer in field goal made (32 field goals) for that season.

Since then his performance was going downhill and subsequently in 2004 the BUCCANEERS released him. Despite playing briefly with the Indianapolis COLT, Martin’s career was often plagued with injury and in 2005 he was out of action altogether. He did returned in 2006 to play for the New England PATRIOTS as a replacement for Adam VINATIERI but was briefly later replaced by rookie Stephen GOSTKOWSKI. And this point of time, the question on whether Martin will make a return to the NFL was remaining to be seen.

Good news arrived on the 27th November 2006, when Martin was signed by the Dallas COWBOYS after the controversial departure on Mike VANDERJAGT. Six days latter he was the hero after scoring the game winning field goal against the New York GIANTS. Due to his successful comeback, the COWBOYS have recently extended his contract for another two years.

With new NFL season is just around the corner, we’ll take a closer look on Automatica progress, with a hope that he & the COWBOY will go on to become the first franchise in NFL history to win the Super Bowl for a record six times.

Be sure to catch it all on Mundo Albiceleste.

I would also like to this opportunity on behalf of Seba (a former wide receiver, place kicker & defensive end himself for the now defunct Asociacion Argentina de Football Americano team, EL TREN) and myself to welcome all the great people from gridironfans.com to give us their comments and opinions in our blog, as we follow Martin and his fellow COWBOYS throughout the coming season. At the same time I would certainly encourage all our loyal readers here, to check out their forum as well, as it not only covers American football but also all other sports as well. Very interesting site indeed.



Gridironfans.com - DawkinsINT said...

Nice read. Martin has been a really good one. I didn't like the bit at the end about hoping the Cowpukes are the first to six though lol.

TJ said...

Nice read, man!! I was not exactly a big fan of Gramatica, most of it because of the Mexico-Argentina rivalry in sports, but I was thrilled when he signed with the Cowboys. He saved our season after Vanderjagt sucked so much...

Good blog...keep up the good work :D.


Anonymous said...

Fine article Sivan, Gramatica was great in Tampa Bay but after the imploding of Vanderjagt the Cowboys needed to pick up another kicker and Martin has been doing good for your team.
As a 49er fan, I hope that my team brings home the 6th Super Bowl championship since we were the first to 5.
Thank you for mentioning GridIronFans.com and I wish you many readers for your blog.


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