(Reuters) – Cincinnati Bengals rookie Evan McPherson, who has been perfect during his team’s run to the Super Bowl, said on Monday he feels no pressure heading into a game where he can replace Adam Vinatieri as the NFL’s greatest postseason kicker.
McPherson has gone a perfect 12-for-12 in Cincinnati’s three playoff games and needs three more field goals in Sunday’s Super Bowl to break Vinatieri’s record for most field goals made in a single postseason.
“Adam’s definitely a guy I’ve looked up to and watched a lot of videos on growing up as a kid,” McPherson told reporters during a virtual news conference.
“And still today. I love to watch his run with the Patriots, when he’s kicking game-winners in the Super Bowl. I think that’s every kid’s dream, to kick the game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl. So he’s definitely meant a lot to me in my career.”
McPherson’s 12 playoff field goals are already the most by a rookie kicker and the most made without a miss by any kicker in a single postseason.
McPherson was the only kicker selected in last year’s NFL Draft and his first foray into the playoffs has been nothing short of remarkable as he has proven himself to be fearless under pressure.
The 22-year-old McPherson nailed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to upset top-seeded Tennessee and converted a 31-yarder in overtime to beat Kansas City and send Cincinnati to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1989.
While McPherson is well aware of the rarity of reaching the NFL’s biggest stage so quickly is far from common and that the game could come down to his leg, he is not putting any added pressure on himself ahead of Sunday’s clash with the hometown Los Angeles Rams.
“It’s really no different than any other game we’ve played up to this point if you really think about it,” said McPherson. “The stage might be bigger, the lights might be brighter but when we are on the field it’s the exact same.”
McPherson, who is scheduled to arrive in California with his team mates on Tuesday, said the team’s Super Bowl preparation has been great and that he is in the right frame of mind.
“We try to make every kick kind of the same, one kick is not bigger than the next,” said McPherson. “And the only kick that really matters is the next one. So I am really looking forward to that first kick at the Super Bowl to get the things rolling.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)