NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Giorgio Tavecchio has a typical autumn Sunday routine. He'll go to mass in the morning and watch sports the rest of the day. Catching an Inter Milan soccer game comes first. That is, after all, his hometown team. Then it's on to the NFL slate, with a keen eye on the Raiders. The dog gets a walk at some point, and his Moraga neighbors get some company.
"That's the simple life," Tavecchio said. "I'm an old soul."
And an emotional one. That's why eyes welled after a major change in his Sunday routine and one his very best days.
Tavecchio converted all four of his field goal attempts in his NFL debut, including two 52-yard bombs and a 43-yarder that iced a 26-16 Raiders victory over the Titans.
He stood still amid the postgame celebration, just trying to soak Nissan Stadium in. His mind drifted some, focusing away from the moment's euphoria toward the friends and family, teammates and coaches who helped him get here. Tears came with it.
"It wasn't just me kicking out there," Tavecchio said. "It was hundreds of people of have taken every step with me on this journey."
This last part was intense. Tavecchio was working out at Campolindo High this week when the Raiders rang. They needed the recently cut kicker on the practice squad as insurance in case Sebastian Janikowski's ailing back wasn't right. It was so bad the 18th year veteran was placed on injured reserve Saturday afternoon.
That's when Tavecchio got promoted for the first time at age 27. His NFL debut came after four teams, six years and seven cuts. Each one hurt, even if they were expected. That included this last one, which ended his fourth offseason/preseason with the Raiders.
There were times when Tavecchio thought his day would never come. Doubt became reservation. Those voices told him to quit.
He stuck with it this fall, hoping one day he wouldn't be watching football from the couch. That dream was realized on Sunday, and he did not wilt. He nailed each attempt without hesitation.
"I have been dreaming about this moment for a very long time," Tavecchio said. "It is special. I'm feeling gratitude, catharsis. You spend so much time waiting, hoping, imagining, dreaming, and then when it happens you can't get too caught 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 I got the chance to contribute. You can imagine it's been a crazy week with all the highs and lows. I am Italian, so I live fully. This was a great week of life for me."
So Giorgio, was the experience what you expected?
"Aristotle said anticipation can be the greatest form of pleasure," Tavecchio said. "I think it was a little exaggerated in my mind. The reality of the moment is sweet. That's something that is subtle but special. When I look back on this time, when all this is said and done, I'll always be grateful for this day."
He was instantly congratulated for be the first NFL player to quote Aristotle.
The Cal product smiled and laughed.