By Matt Jenkins
---- — Elaine Berube Tremblay and her late husband Jim Tremblay grew up in Salem, right in the heart of New England Patriots territory.
The sting of losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game hadn’t even worn off for Patriots fans by the time the Ravens played the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl this past Sunday. It was a difficult game to watch for many people who grew up rooting for the Patriots, including Tremblay.
But her trepidation had nothing to do with an allegiance to the hometown team.
Tremblay, who now lives in San Antonio, was a bundle of nerves watching her grandson, Ravens’ rookie kicker Justin Tucker, play on football’s biggest stage at the Superdome in New Orleans.
“We watched the game in my house with the rules being that I didn’t want them talking to me and they had to leave me alone,” Tremblay, 72, said. “I love football, but with him playing it’s different.”
Tremblay could breath easier after the game had concluded because Tucker played a crucial role in the Ravens’ 34-31 Super Bowl XLVII victory. The former University of Texas standout kicked four extra points and drilled his only two field goals attempts, both in the fourth quarter, from 19 and 38 yards out, respectively.
Tucker’s final field goal came with 4:19 left and proved to be the winning points.
“I honestly believe it’s a Cinderella story for him as a rookie in his first year. He was just outstanding,” Tremblay said. “In practice (before the Super Bowl) he kicked a 65-yarder. The kid’s got a leg, he really does.”
Tremblay lived in Salem until she married Jim. Her husband was in the military and the couple moved frequently before settling in San Antonio about 20 years ago. She still has several cousins living in the North Shore area.
Tucker is one of 12 grandchildren for Tremblay, who also has a great granddaughter.
Tremblay got to watch Tucker kick quite a bit while he was playing college football for the Longhorns and went to two of his games this season: his first contest in Baltimore (a “Monday Night Football” rout of Cincinnati on Sept. 10) and also when he played at Houston (a road loss in Week 7).
Tremblay hadn’t talked to Tucker yet earlier this week, but expects to see him when he returns to Texas in a couple of weeks.
She’s not surprised by her grandson’s success because of all his hard work, but is proud of what he’s accomplished.
“He beat out (veteran kicker) Billy Cundiff,” said Tremblay, who last visited Salem about four years ago. “I’m still amazed about the whole thing.”