GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New York's Lawrence Tynes has thought about kicking the winning field goal in the Super Bowl.
"It's something I started dreaming about this week," he said.
"If I'm too worried about the last-second kick, what about the first three quarters?" New England's kicker said.
Tynes has already secured a place in the Giants' illustrious history by nailing a 47-yarder in overtime to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. What made it sweeter is that Tynes had missed two field goals, including a 36-yarder that would have won the game at the end of regulation.
Since then, Tynes has become something of a celebrity, at least by the modest standards of placekickers. He made an appearance on David Letterman's show and was mobbed by reporters at Super Bowl media day this week.
"It's definitely not my thing," said Tynes, who made 23-of-27 field goals this season (85.2 percent) and 40-of-42 extra points (95 percent).
But the media was just warming up to Tynes, the son of a Scottish mother and a U.S. Navy Seal. He didn't even play football until he was a teenager.
Like Tynes, Gostkowski took a circuitous route to the NFL. He said several colleges yanked their scholarship offers after he had a "bad" senior season in high school, and he considered devoting himself to baseball. He was a standout right-handed pitcher.
"There's times I wanted to quit football," he said. "During college, I thought about maybe just concentrating on baseball. But I stuck with it and I took it seriously every time I did it, and I'm glad it worked out. It's something I worked hard at."
Gostkowski walked on at Memphis and ended up being drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. He was tabbed as the successor to Vinatieri, who left to sign with Indianapolis.
"Steve had an outstanding college career," Belichick said. "He's got a good leg. He's accurate. He's a good athlete. He's got a background in baseball, so he's got a good sense of confidence. I don't think the game's too big for him or anything like that. He's a very consistent player."
Gostkowski made 21-of-24 field goal attempts this year (87.5 percent) and all 74 of his extra points.
"I had three field goals against the Giants earlier in the year, all in the first half," Gostkowski said. "We won by three (points). Just because it's not the last second doesn't mean they're not big kicks. All I'm worried about Sunday is my first kick."
But the last kick may be the one that everyone remembers. Think of poor Norwood, whose story is a cautionary tale for placekickers.
If he had made that kick, his father "would have won like $600," Gostkowski said. "So they were all mad about that."
Tynes was more sympathetic. He knows that what happened to Norwood can happen to any kicker.
"It's been talked about all week," Tynes said. "It happened. Everything else he probably ever did in his career was washed. You just don't want to be on that side of the story, but if you are, you deal with it."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press