One-Time Middlebury Laxer Hauschka a Super Bowl Champ
After the coin toss, of course — how about Broadway Joe's coat? — Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII started off the foot of a former lacrosse player, Seattle Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka.
Hauschka, a former Middlebury attackman, drilled the ball deep to the Denver Broncos, who eventually botched their first offensive snap of the game, resulting in an early safety for the Seahawks. Seattle rolled from there, winning 43-8 in the third most lopsided Super Bowl win in history.
Hauschka finished 2-for-2 on the field goals and knocked through five extra points on football's grandest stage.
It was the culmination of an unlikely journey for the 28-year-old who majored in neuroscience at Middlebury. After playing soccer, football and two seasons of lacrosse for the Division III Panthers in Vermont, he had his sights set on dental school before getting the opportunity to kick for one season at North Carolina State in 2007, where he was a finalist for the award handed out to college football's best placekicker.
He played for and was cut by five NFL teams before landing with the Seahawks. This year was his third season with the team and he's developed into one of the league's best at his position.
He played attack at Middlebury.
"I was pretty big [6-foot-2, 185 pounds] compared to most of the other players, and I had a way of getting the ball in the net," he told Lacrosse Magazine while with the Baltimore Ravens in 2009. "I just had a knack for that."
He also faced off some in high school at Needham (Mass.).
"There's definitely a similarity," between faceoffs and kicking, he said. "They're both clutch positions, and you've got everyone watching you. But there's something completely different about kicking. There are so many things going on with kicking."
Hauschka became Middlebury's first team sport world champion since 1910 graduate Ray Fisher won the World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1919, according to the school.