One of Baltimore’s most popular athletes, Justin Tucker, was featured on HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumble’. Those in the greater Baltimore area are familiar with Tucker’s unique abilities both on and off the football field, which were showcased Tuesday night.
The most accurate kicker in NFL history showed off his operatic prowess as one of the shows featured stories. Tucker, who can sing opera in seven (yes, seven) different languages, was the featured athlete of the evening.
Gumble referred to the Ravens as a “steady and unspectacular team” before insinuating that Tucker was steady, but certainly wasn’t unspectacular.
First, the segment dove into Tucker’s incredible success as a kicker. Highlights of his kicking career included the 57-yarder against the Bengals and the infamous 61-yard game-winner against the Detroit Lions.
“I don’t hit anybody out on the football field, but in that moment, I could run through a brick wall.” Tucker said, referring to the feeling he gets from connecting on a game winning kick.
Tucker was then asked if he still thinks about the single missed extra point of his career, which happened in 2018, ending a Ravens comeback attempt against the New Orleans Saints. Tucker replied that he thinks about that kick “every day” and he actually saved the ball from his miss. “I feel like a disappointment. I feel like a failure, I mean, let’s not mince words. That’s what I am in that moment.”
Tucker is his own harshest critic, but John Harbaugh had nothing but kind words to say about his star kicker. Although, according to Harbaugh, Tucker can be a tad overzealous.
“Most the time, instead of calling the field goal team to go out, I have to call them to come back! ‘Tuck! Cmon! We’re going for it, not kicking!’ By that point he’s already 15 yards out there.”
“Nerves of steel, ice in his veins or some other dopey cliche” interviewer Bernie Goldberg said that he expected Tucker to refer to, regarding his mental state before kicking the ball.
Tucker surprised Goldberg by admitting, “When I run out there into the field I’m nervous, I’m scared.” The segment then shifted from focusing on Tucker’s kicking career to his singing career.
Tucker said that his opera career started his freshman year in college, “I would be breathing so deeply from singing. I would leave a one hour singing session, and be more tired than I would after a 6 a.m. football practice.”
“It made my manage my breath coming into that performance. (Tucker takes a deep breath to exemplify) then it’s go time.” The all-world Kicker elaborated that operatic training has helped him manage his breath before he kicks, which in turn eases his nerves.
Tucker and the film crew went to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs, to showcase his pipes. The former Texas Longhorn sang with great drama and power for the film crew, to their applause.
Quickly, the scene cut to an interview of Tucker’s fellow Wolfpack members, Sam Koch and Morgan Cox. The two said, “Every day this guy sings in the shower. Checking the acoustics, making sure it’s all right. When asked their favorite operas, tongue in cheek, they replied, “Phantom.” and “Bach.”
In the closing moments of the segment, Tucker said that his most nervous moment was not before kicking in the Super Bowl, but rather a moment before he sang in front of a large crowd for a Christmas opera spectacular.
Tucker, who can also jam an acoustic guitar, had his royal farms commercials included to end the segment, which was light and fun as a whole. Bernie Goldberg’s closing statement was that, “He says every time he goes out to kick, it I want to be considered great, I must make this kick.”
Well, Justin Tucker, you certainly are considered great.