January 29, 2014

Midd Goes to the Super Bowl

More news about: Middlebury

Super Bowl Media Day is an event that needs to be experienced to be believed. Hundreds of sports journalists, television personalities, and camera crews swarm, first to the tables topped with pastries, then to the players entering the arena. Out comes Richard Sherman, sardonically taking pictures of the media members flashing him with strobes; out comes quarterback Russell Wilson, all 5'10 and ¾'' of him calm, cool, and collected; out comes head coach Pete Carroll, a jovial smile permanently fixed on his face. Behind them—and out of the glare from the jostling horde—is Seahawks' kicker Steven Hauschka '07.

Hauschka doesn't have a booth to sit in or microphone to talk through or even a Gatorade to help promote the Super Bowl's corporate sponsors. In fact, if he wasn't dressed in Seattle's team-issued sweats he would pass for any of the media members—well, maybe not the team from Entertainment Tonight—or fans in attendance.

Standing off in a back corner, the 6'4'' Needham, Massachusetts, native answers questions from the Wall Street Journal (about where he has spent his time in Manhattan) and the New York Times  ("would you rather play one Bronco-sized duck or fifty duck-sized Broncos?"), generously engaging in these reporters' shticks.

And it turns out that Hauschka spent the previous night at dinner with friends from Middlebury—a point for the Wall Street Journal.

"We went to dinner in Union Square, it was a great time," he said. "It almost feels like you're getting married—everyone wants to be there and share this special time with you."

For the 28-year old, kicking in the Super Bowl would have been unimaginable a decade ago. Haushcka's kicking career began unceremoniously; the former junior varsity soccer player missed three of his first four career attempts as a Middlebury Panther.

"I didn't really know what I was doing," he said before adding, "I don't remember that! I thought I made every kick I had at Middlebury."

By the time his Panther career had ended, Hauschka seemingly had made every kick, rewriting the team's record books and awing fans and his coaches alike with his accuracy and leg, booming kickoffs that often sailed through the uprights—75 yards away.

Division I teams began to take notice. With a year of football eligibility remaining, Hauschka played his final season at North Carolina State, where he was teammates with current Seahawks J.R. Sweezy and Wilson.

"He came in and could kick the ball for days, which was something that I had never seen before," said Sweezy, who was a redshirt freshman at NC State when Hauschka arrived in the fall of 2007. "It was kind of cool knowing we had a good field goal kicker—he won a couple of big games for us."

Hauschka had a game-winning kick on the road against Miami and was a finalist for the Lou Groza award, which recognizes the best placekicker in college football. But a career in the NFL was far from guaranteed. Hauschka was cut by five different teams, including John Fox's Denver Broncos, and played for a stint in the United Football League, before catching on in Seattle. This year, in his third season with the Seahawks, Hauschka made 33 of 35 attempts as the second-most-accurate kicker in the NFL.

Jon Ryan, who holds for Hauschka in addition to his duties as a punter, said that Hauschka's consistency is what distinguishes him from other kickers.

"He's a real thinking-type guy, watches a lot of film and has become very consistent in all of his routines," Ryan said. "That's the most important part of punting and kicking, finding that consistency. He's had one of the best seasons I've ever seen a kicker have, to be honest with you."

Special teams coach Brian Schneider believes Hauschka's off-the-field preparation creates that consistency.

 "Throughout the week what he does to get ready for a game is really something," he said. "He's too smart for me, that's for sure."

Nor does it hurt that Hauschka studied neuroscience at Middlebury, which he said has "helped him with the mental side of the game."

But what of the pressure involved in kicking in front of 68,000 people, as he did in the Seahawks' NFC Championship victory?

"The kicking is different," he admitted. "[At Middlebury I] only kicked in front of 2,000 people at any one time."

On the other hand, if Sunday's Super Bowl forecast calls for snow, Hauschka's experience kicking in Vermont, and around the NESCAC, may give him the upper hand.

"We kicked on some of the worst fields in the country—especially some of those grass fields when they got a lot of rain," he said. "So that prepared me for some of the bad conditions that I would see in the NFL."

A few minutes later, Dieon Sanders walks over to interview Hauschka for the NFL Network. As Sanders walks away, Middlebury Magazine editor Matt Jennings asks him whether Hauschka will make a game-winning field goal if that's what the game boils down to. Without hesitating, Sanders nods and says, "Oh, yes. He'll make it. That's for sure."

comments powered by Disqus
Oct. 31: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Millsaps at Berry
Live Stats Video Audio
Nov. 1: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Gallaudet at Norwich
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Massachusetts Maritime
Preview Live Stats Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at Salve Regina
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
College of Faith at Wesley
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Union at Hobart
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Allegheny at Kenyon
Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred at Salisbury
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
William Paterson at Morrisville State
Live Stats Audio Audio
12:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
St. Lawrence at WPI
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Alfred State at Apprentice School
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Castleton State
Live Stats Video Tickets
12:30 PM
Bates at Bowdoin
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Colby at Tufts
Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Middlebury at Hamilton
Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Amherst at Trinity (Conn.)
Live Stats
12:30 PM
Anna Maria at Husson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at FDU-Florham
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Becker at Mount Ida
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Marietta
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Cortland State
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Moravian at Gettysburg
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Catholic at Guilford
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Ohio Wesleyan
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Olivet at Albion
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Stevenson at Widener
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
DePauw at Wooster
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater (Va.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Trine at Kalamazoo
Live Stats Video Audio Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Lakeland at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Thiel at Carnegie Mellon
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hope at Adrian
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Western New England at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Dickinson
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Susquehanna
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Averett at Methodist
Video
1:00 PM
Ithaca at Brockport State
Live Stats Video Tickets
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Rowan
Live Stats Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Misericordia
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Ursinus
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at King's
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Albright at Wilkes
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Juniata
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Washington U.
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Rockford
Preview Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
MacMurray at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Bluffton
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Wesleyan at Williams
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Plymouth State at Worcester State
Live Stats
1:30 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Geneva at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Thomas More at Waynesburg
Preview Video Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Wilmington
Preview Preview Live Stats
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Muskingum
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Otterbein
Preview Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Bethany at Grove City
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Anderson at Defiance
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Earlham at Hanover
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Westfield State at Fitchburg State
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Frostburg State at Hartwick
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Capital
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Manchester at Rose-Hulman
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Austin
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Aurora
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Centre at Hendrix
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
St. John's at Augsburg
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Eau Claire
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Bethel at Gustavus Adolphus
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Hamline
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Cornell
Video
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at North Central (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes
2:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Texas Lutheran
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Simpson at Central
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Buena Vista
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Ripon at Beloit
2:00 PM
Carroll at Macalester
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Louisiana College
Audio
2:00 PM
Carthage at Millikin
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
North Park at Augustana
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Coe at Luther
Video Audio
2:00 PM
Crown at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
Greenville at Westminster (Mo.)
Video
2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Eureka
2:00 PM
Illinois College at Knox
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Grinnell
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at UW-River Falls
Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Stevens Point
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Loras
2:00 PM
Sul Ross State at East Texas Baptist
Live Stats Audio
2:10 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at St. Thomas
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Minnesota-Morris
3:30 PM
George Fox at Whitworth
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Ferrum at Greensboro
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Pacific Lutheran at Puget Sound
Preview Audio
4:00 PM
Cal Lutheran at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Willamette at Linfield
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
4:05 PM
Redlands at Whittier
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
5:00 PM
Pacific at Lewis and Clark
Live Stats Video Audio
5:30 PM
MIT at Endicott
Preview Live Stats
6:00 PM
Denison at Oberlin
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
St. Norbert at Lawrence
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Christopher Newport
Live Stats Video Audio
10:00 PM
La Verne at Chapman
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Occidental
Live Stats Video Audio
Nov. 1: All times Eastern
10:00 PM
La Verne at Chapman
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Otterbein
Preview Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Thomas More at Waynesburg
Preview Video Audio
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Muskingum
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Geneva at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater (Va.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Ursinus
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Ohio Wesleyan
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at King's
Live Stats Audio
2:10 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at St. Thomas
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
12:00 PM
College of Faith at Wesley
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Union at Hobart
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Buena Vista
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Bethel at Gustavus Adolphus
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Stevens Point
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at North Central (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
St. John's at Augsburg
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Willamette at Linfield
Live Stats Video Audio Audio

What We're Reading