Sportress of Blogitude

Falcons kicker Matt Bryant relied upon ‘Happy Gilmore’ before game-winning kick

Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant (R) kicks the winning field goal with holder Matt Bosher to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in their NFL NFC Divisional playoff football game in Atlanta, Georgia January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Sometimes even the most benign or meaningless things can bring a sense of calm to a high-pressure situation. Case in point: Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant says he utilized a lesson he gleaned from watching the Adam Sandler flick, Happy Gilmore, in order to calm his nerves prior to delivering his game-winning field goal at the end of the game that dispatched the Seattle Seahawks from the playoffs and delivered a berth in the NFC Championship game for him and his teammates this coming Sunday.

Bryant appeared on WCNN in Atlanta with the Rude Awakening to discuss all things related to his clutch kick, including the effects at attempts at icing the kicker by opposing coaches has upon him. But more importantly, Bryant explained what was going through his head moments before the ball was snapped and he stepped into the kick last weekend.

How different the pressure is on a game-winning kick in the playoffs versus the regular season:

“I’ve tried to approach every kick the same way — the nerves, the emotion and everything else, it’s definitely there leading up to the game. For kickers, I think you have to be able to manage the situation, and once you step out across those white lines it’s kind of like a twilight zone and you go to a different place. You go somewhere else. It’s kind of like Happy Gilmore, you just try to go to a happy place.”

Of course, Bryant is referring to Chubbs Peterson’s sage advice to Happy about finding his own personal “happy place” in order to achieve calm and sharpen his focus. I guess in this instance, Pete Carroll’s futile attempt to ice him before the kick would make the Seahawks coach the Shooter McGavin in Saturday’s scenario. You know, how Happy visualized Shooter infiltrating Happy’s “happy place,” and then making out with his grandma and Julie Bowen from Modern Family. I know, right? Hard to believe it’s the same woman.

Still, it’s funny how things like scenes from old movies can be conjured up in the strangest times. It’s kind of like when I’m about to try to say or do something funny, I try to avoid visualizing any of Adam Sandler’s last 10 movies.

[Sports Radio Interviews]