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(E) Croatian in Super Bowl Carolina Panthers's kicker Kasay
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  01/29/2004 | Sports | Unrated
(E) Croatian in Super Bowl Carolina Panthers's kicker Kasay

 

John Kasay

 

John Kasay, place kicker for Super Bowl participant Carolina Panthers, is ofCroatian descent. Here is an excerpt from the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Jan. 29, 2004, explaining his Croatian heritage connection.

Source:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/football/158490_super29.html

Excerpt:

Asked yesterday what kind of skeletons can be expected to tumble from his past, [Carolina Panthers place kicker John] Kasay said, "There's not much in my closet."
Then an oh-wait look washed across his face before he explained his last name really isn't Kasay.
It was changed when his great-grandfather emigrated from Croatia to the United States.
"My last name is not K-a-s-a-y," whatever-his-name-is said. "It was K-a-s-13-different-letters-y. When he came through Ellis Island, they were like, 'No.' They took the Y off the end and stuck it on the K-a-s-a part."
... Kasay is hoping to get the same opportunity Sunday to make a lasting name for himself.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
The Panthers are 5-0 in games in which John kicks four or more field goals. The team is just 2-13 in games in which he does not record a successful kick. From 1995-97, the Panthers were 10-2 in games in which John converted three or more field goals.

John is tied for tenth all-time in the NFL with an 80 percent field goal conversion rate.

In 1998, John connected on a career-best four field goals from beyond 50 yards, including a career-long 56-yard field goal versus Green Bay (9/27).

John produced his most accurate season in 1999, connecting on 22 of 25 field goals for a personal-best 88 percent conversion rate.

Over his career, John has kicked five game-winning field goals, four of which have come with the Panthers.

John earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts at Atlanta (9/7/97) when his last-second kick gave the Panthers a 9-6 win.

John's only miss from inside of 50 yards in 1997 came on a blocked attempt.

John's 37 field goals in 1996 set an NFL record for field goals in a season, breaking the mark held by the Giants Ali Haji-Sheikh (1983) and the Raiders Jeff Jeager (1993).

John's 145 points in 1996 led the NFL and are the fourth-most points in a season by a kicker in league history.

John was named to his first career Pro Bowl in 1996, and also earned first-team all-pro honors from UPI, second team all-pro honors from AP and Football Digest in addition to All-NFC honors from Football News.

John was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for weeks one and two in 1996, after he posted consecutive five-for-five field goal games versus Atlanta (9/1/96) and at New Orleans (9/8/96).

With five-for-five field goal games versus Atlanta (9/1/96) and at New Orleans (9/8/96) John became the second kicker in NFL history to go 10-for-10 over two games (John Carney, San Diego, 1994).

John was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September 1996 after connecting on 13-of-14 field goals in five games.

John was the Panthers leading scorer in the 1996 playoffs, posting a perfect six-for-six record on field goals and a three-for-three mark on PATs for 21 points.

John's two field goals of 51 and 54 yards versus San Diego (10/27/91) tied an NFL record for most field goals more than 50 yards in a game.

John holds the Seattle record for the longest field goal (55 yards).

Height 5-10
Weight 198
College Georgia
Hometown Athens, Ga
Birthdate Oct. 27, 1969
NFL Experience 11
Panthers Experience 7
How Acquired UFA '95
Thursday, January 29, 2004

Super Bowl: They hope to kick up their heels

By CLARE FARNSWORTH
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

HOUSTON -- The search for sex appeal among the participants in this year's Super Bowl has slipped from difficult to downright daunting.

But don't just take my word for it.

Sitting at the first in a long line of raised podiums at Reliant Stadium on Tuesday, Jake Delhomme leaned forward and looked to his left before saying, "Do you see any superstars? I don't."

The quarterback of the underdog Carolina Panthers was not trying to dog his teammates, but was giving credit to his team for advancing to Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Don't just take his word for it.

Check the Pro Bowl rosters. Only two Patriots and three Panthers were voted to the NFL all-star game next week, and only one offensive player -- Carolina running back Stephen Davis.

That's why most are expecting this to be a defense-dominated affair, in which one of the smallest players on the field could decide the outcome.

Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri and Panthers counterpart John Kasay weigh a combined 400 pounds, roughly a couple of extra-large deep-dish pizzas with all the toppings shy of what Patriots defensive tackle Ted Washington checks in at.

Vinatieri has been there, kicking a 48-yard field goal as time expired in the Patriots' 20-17 upset of the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl two years ago. Kasay has gotten his team here, kicking game-winners in four of the Panthers' 11 regular-season victories.



That's another reason why the sex-appeal elevator can't seem to leave the ground floor, where you'll find Vinatieri and Kasay among the bargain-basement implements of manual labor.

"It wouldn't surprise me if this game came down to a last-second kick to win it," said Kasay, who began his NFL career with the Seahawks in 1991 before jumping to the Panthers as a free agent four years later.

Kasay calls it the "standard m.o." -- because seven times this season the Panthers pulled out a victory on their final possession.

"We battle back and forth. There's never more than about a seven-point lead. The team that has the ball on the last drive is usually the one that wins," Kasay said when asked to elaborate.

The Panthers and Kasay, however, are not the lone standard bearers for this escape-artist routine. Fifteen times in his eight-year career with the Patriots, Vinatieri has kicked a game-winner in the final minute of regulation or overtime.

The kick most remembered came in the Super Bowl two years ago, but the one atop Vinatieri's list of favorites came in the AFC Championship Game against the Oakland Raiders that season.

No one was more impressed by the effort than Kasay, who was watching the game at home after the Panthers' 1-15 season.

"The wind was blowing into his face and he had a 45-yarder into a driving snowstorm. The whole season lies in the balance," Kasay said. "I remember when he lined up the kick, I was like, 'I don't see how he's going to make this.'

"He hit it right on the screws."

Pressure is relative, and handling it seems to be in Vinatieri's genes.

Earlier this week it was discovered that Vinatieri's great-great-grandfather, Felix, was the bandmaster for Gen. George Custer. Felix survived to plant the seed that planted the seed that planted the seed that produced Adam, only because Felix and his band were ordered to remain behind when Custer set out for the Little Big Horn in 1876.

Oh, and Evel Knievel is Vinatieri's third cousin.

These kinds of nuggets are mined when 3,200 media representatives are unleashed on 100 or so players during Super Bowl week.

Asked yesterday what kind of skeletons can be expected to tumble from his past, Kasay said, "There's not much in my closet."

Then an oh-wait look washed across his face before he explained his last name really isn't Kasay.

It was changed when his great-grandfather emigrated from Croatia to the United States.

"My last name is not K-a-s-a-y," whatever-his-name-is said. "It was K-a-s-13-different-letters-y. When he came through Ellis Island, they were like, 'No.' They took the Y off the end and stuck it on the K-a-s-a part."

Vinatieri already has had a kick to define his career. Sexy or not, Kasay is hoping to get the same opportunity Sunday to make a lasting name for himself.

SUPER BOWL XXXVIII
WHEN/WHERE: Sunday, Reliant Stadium, Houston
KICKOFF:
3:25 p.m.

TV/RADIO: KIRO/7; KJR-AM/950

P-I reporter Clare Farnsworth can be reached at 206-448-8016 or clarefarnsworth@seattlepi.com

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