Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano is relishing the opportunity to win his team the Super Bowl on Sunday night in San Francisco.
While Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, the Carolina offence and the Denver defence have taken many of the headlines during Super Bowl week, the importance of a kicker cannot be underestimated.
Just this season, Minnesota’s Blair Walsh missed a seemingly easy chance to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the wildcard round, while New England’s Stephen Gostkowski did the unthinkable and missed for the first time in nine years in the AFC Championship game against Denver.
Gano, who was born in Scotland, knows it may all come down to him at Levi’s Stadium, and it will not be a responsibility he shirks as Carolina chase their first ever Super Bowl success.
“I’ve been thinking about that since I first started playing,” Gano told reporters on Wednesday.
“I am hoping for it, so hopefully it does come down to that. I hope that every game and that is what makes my job the most fun.
“Everyone has their own opinions about kickers, I guess. They say they aren’t really football players, but it is funny – when the game is on the line, who do they look to when you are down by a couple points? It’s the kicker.”