Italian kicker makes NFL debut, creates history

Italian-born kicker Giorgio Tavecchio from Milan, Italy finally made his first start in an NFL game after six long years of trying, and he made history. In kicking two 52 yard field goals for the Oakland Raiders he became the first kicker in NFL history to kick two +50 yard field goals in his debut, and he was also only the second Oakland kicker after Sebastien Janakowski to kick two +50 yarders in a game.

He also kicked two more field goals, the last one with 1:09 left on the clock to help Oakland defeat the Tennessee Titans 26-16. For that, he was awarded the game ball by the team.

After spending time with the Raiders as well as the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions at various points over the past six years, Tavecchio  definitely made his first regular season game a memorable one.

The California Golden Bears alum, had been released by the Raiders last weekend, but was re-signed after Janikowski hurt his back.

Needless to say, Tavecchio, who also made a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter was deluged with reporters after the game:

“I have been dreaming about this moment for a very long time. It is special. I am feeling gratitude, catharsis. You spend so much time waiting, hoping, imagining, dreaming. And then when it happens it is not necessarily anticlimactic, but you can’t be too caught up in the moment and what it means to you.

“This isn’t about me. This is about the Raiders playing the Tennessee Titans. I am just grateful that I got the chance to contribute. You can imagine it has been a crazy week for me with the highs and the lows. I am Italian, so I live it very fully. This was a great week of life for me.”

Born in Milan in 1990 to a mother that worked for the U.S. Government and a father who restored antique furniture in Italy, Tavecchio has also lived in Connecticut, Rome, Moraga and Virginia during his childhood. In 2005, the family settled in Moraga. He attended Campolindo High School where he played football and soccer over his final three years.

He went on to star at Cal Berkely where he started all four seasons. During his time there, he made 48 of 64 field goals and 112 of 120 extra points.

“You know, I’m Italian and I live all with participation, emotion, it was a bit crazy a week, you have to understand me. At the beginning of the week I was out again and I had to deal with the disappointment, in the weekend …”

It certainly looks like his days of bouncing around teams and never playing could be over.



American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!