Once again, Raider Nation has spoken. You all didn’t agree with my choice for the team’s best newcomer (which is completely understandable) and went with Italian Ice himself, Giorgio Tavecchio.
There was just over 1000 votes in 24 hours in the poll, but the results were fairly overwhelmingly in favor of the man I call Gelato Tavecchio with 36% of the tally.
Though my choice had been Marshall Newhouse for various reasons, I had seriously considered Tavecchio as my choice.
Since he’s the selection, let’s give him his moment.
Tavecchio was signed and cut by the Raiders 4 times over the past four years. That includes this year when he was added in the offseason, spent his third straight training camp with the team before once again being among the final roster cuts.
Then in the week leading up to the season, something was up. The Raiders were working out kickers and reports came out of the team asking Sebastian Janikowski to take a paycut and that perhaps his back was going to be an issue.
All the kickers they brought in were right footed kickers and it made no sense with the season looming to risk problems with the holding of the football due to switching kicking sides. In the end, the Raiders made the only choice they really could — they gave Tavecchio his shot.
They signed Tavecchio to the practice squad that week as an insurance plan and he headed to Tennessee with the team. Saturday before the game, Janikowski came to Head coach Jack Del Rio and the long time kicker said he couldn’t go. The team acted fast, putting Seabass on injured reserve and signing Tavecchio to the active roster.
When the Raiders opened the season the next day, Tavecchio took the field for his first ever NFL game. He stood under the lights for his first regular season game and was absolutely lights out.
That game he was called upon to kick four field goals. Two of those were from 52 yards out and the final was from 43 yards to seal the victory. And he absolutely nailed every one of them with no doubt whatsoever. Ice in his veins. Hence the nickname.
In total, ‘Gelato’ is perfect on kicks this season, going 7 for 7 on field goals and 10 for 10 on extra points.
Halfway through Sebastian Janikowski’s minimum time on injured reserve, Tavecchio has made a case to retain his job. It could get interesting come midseason what the Raiders decide to do should Seabass be ready to return.