More to Gramatica Than Making Kicks
Today he says, "I have no regrets. I had great years at Kansas State and a pretty decent professional career. Winning the Super Bowl in Tampa (2002) was the most fun I've ever had. I have no regrets on not pursuing a possible career in soccer."
Gramatica's great years with the Wildcats came in 1994-95, and after a knee injury sidelined him in 1996, he completed his record-setting K-State career with a pair of 11-win seasons in 1997 and 1998.
Arguably, the teams Gramatica played on in his final two years were the best in K-State history.
It's nearly without argument that "Automatica" Gramatica still ranks today as the Wildcats' greatest kicker of all-time.
Today, Gramatica owns, or shares, K-State records for:
- Extra points in a game with 9
- Extra points in a season with 69
- Extra points in a career with 187
- Field goals in a single season with 22
- Field goals in a career with 54
- Longest field goal made at 65 yards (without a tee), which today still ranks as an NCAA record
- Field goal percentage in a single season at .950 (19-of-20, 1997)
- Kick scoring in a single game with 18 points - 4 field goals and 6 extra points vs. Kansas in 1998
- Lou Groza Award as America's top kicker in 1997 and runner-up in 1998
For all of this, Gramatica will enter the State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday in ceremonies in Wichita. He will be joined by former Wildcat women's hoopster Nicole Ohlde.
While calling the honor "surprising for a kicker," and over all "very humbling," it's also most deserving.
After his All-American K-State career, Gramatica, a third-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999, enjoyed a nine-year NFL career in Tampa Bay (1999-2003), Indianapolis (2004 and 2006), Dallas (2006-07) and New Orleans (2007-08).
During those years he was a Pro Bowler in 2000 and a member of the XXXVII Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers in 2002. For his career, he connected on 155-of-203 field goals with long makes of 55 yards on two occasions.
When he signed a $14.5 million contract in 2002, Gramatica ranked as the fourth-highest Argentine sportsman along with a trio of soccer players.
But enough on numbers.
Well, let's add one more area to Gramatica's resume. A line item that he shares with his younger brothers Bill and Santiago, who were both collegiate kickers at South Florida.
The three kicking brothers have formed Gramatica SIPS International, which provides Structural Insulated Panel Systems for homes that are given to United States wounded veterans who have come home.
"We're based in Tampa, but building homes in several areas for veterans who have been wounded to various degrees," said Gramatica, who also remains active with the Shriner's Hospitals, plus Boys and Girls Clubs. "These are mortgage-free homes. They're 1,400 square feet and energy efficient to the point that bills are no more than $40 a month because of our insulated panels. It makes it totally affordable for these veterans."
Gramatica, who is CEO of SIPS, first gained an interest in the company when he went on a mission to help restore New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when the focus was rebuilding with more environmentally friendly building systems.
"There is no better feeling than knowing you've made a positive impact in someone's life," said Gramatica.
He added that life is one of changing goals. From wanting to be the best kicker in the nation, Gramatica says, "Today, my goal is to be the best dad I can be, the best husband I can be, and it's very important for my company to build as many homes as we can so soldiers who have come back wounded can have a home."