Hardly Automatica Gramatica Anymore

Aaron LiebmanAnalyst IOctober 10, 2008

This week Saints kicker Martin Gramatica was declared out for the season due to a groin injury after missing two field goals in his team’s Monday night loss.  Who knew kickers, especially ones named Gramatica, had groins in the first place?  I guess Gramatica claiming injury is a better career move than waiting to be released from the team.


In three losses this season, Gramatica had chances to win two of those for his team.  He missed two in Denver, including a chip shot in final minutes that would have won the game.  And on Monday Night, he missed two, including one which was blocked and returned for a touchdown.


Now it may not be fair to blame the losses all on Gramatica.  The Saints have turned the ball over and committed stupid penalties.  But “automatica” Gramatica’s misses certainly didn’t help.  Perhaps we as fans look down on kickers because they have no other job.  The team drives down the field, gets into position, and then the illegal alien kicker jogs off the bench and misses.


Back in the old days of players going on both offense and defense, a player who was just a kicker was unheard of.  Some of the most famous players such as Green Bay’s Jerry Kramer and Washington’s Sammy Baugh were kickers.  Of course, having players who weren’t exclusively kickers made the kicks not as clutch as today.  Field goals and extra points were missed regularly.  Percentages of kicks made were around 60-70% at best.  And the kickers simply ran forward as opposed to the soccer style footing we’re used to today.


Which begs the question, how exactly do kickers get hurt anyway?  We know they’re not getting touched in the games.  And I doubt they’re straining themselves in the weight room.  Do they fall off the bench?  Do they trip over the tee?  Do they get food poisoning from bumming hot dogs from the vendors on the sideline?


Of course, a more entertaining injury happened to Martin’s brother Bill in a game against the Giants.  Everyone who’s seen this family do their “work” knows that whenever they make a kick, whether it be a game winner of a simple extra point, they jump around like kangaroos on caffeine.  But on this particular celebration, Bill hurt his leg and was out for the season.  I was fortunate enough to be at this game and see it live at it happened.  And when Bill had to limp back to the dressing room, the crowd roared as if the home team had just scored.


Which brings me to another point.  If the Gramaticas can celebrate whenever they make a kick, can their teammates beat them every time they miss?  Perhaps THAT’S why Gramatica is injured.  It has nothing to do with his kicking, or groin or whatever.  The Saints players just beat grams out of Gramatica.