EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 6, 2012

North Andover's DeOssie celebrates title No. 2

By David Willis
dwillis@eagletribune.com

INDIANAPOLIS — When Tom Brady lofted the final Hail Mary into the air, time stopped for a moment in the mind of North Andover's Zak DeOssie.

But, when time began again and the ball landed safely on the turf, DeOssie was celebrating his second Super Bowl title in his five-year NFL career.

"It's pretty crazy," said DeOssie. "When that ball hit the ground it was beyond words. Two-time Super Bowl champ. I don't think it's quite sunk in yet."

The former Phillips Academy star added Super Bowl ring No. 2 to his collection last night as the Giants rallied past the Patriots 21-17.

It may have been his second time around, but for DeOssie it was even sweeter than No. 1.

"Four years later, you have an idea what it takes to get here and how rare it is," said the long snapper. "My rookie year was unbelievable, but if you can believe it this was even better."

For DeOssie, the reality of the world title hit him so much harder than that stunning win over the perfect Patriots in 2008.

"My rookie year my head was spinning and you're thinking, 'Is this normal?'" he said. "Now I really understand what (then-punter) Jeff Feagles was telling me. All the veterans were saying, 'Don't get used to this.'

"This is so rare, and such a great opportunity to even be here to play in this game. And to win it, now that I am older, I really understand what it means."

DeOssie, in fact, set up one of the biggest plays of the night, and one of the strangest plays in Super Bowl history.

It was DeOssie, after New York was forced to punt on the first possession of the game, who sprinted down field and to down the ball at the Patriots' 6-yard-line.

One play later, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was pressured into throwing an errant pass and was whistled for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety. The game changed plenty after that point, but it set the tone that the Giants carried with them the entire night.

DeOssie was also perfect on all four punt snaps, two field goals and an extra point.

With his two rings, DeOssie now has one more than his father, long snapper/linebacker Steve DeOssie, who won as a member of the Giants in Super Bowl XXV.

But Zak wasn't expecting to rubbing it in too much when he planned to meet his father to celebrate after the game.

"Yeah, you're right, it does give me bragging rights," he said with a laugh. "But the way we like to look at it is that makes three rings for the DeOssie family. We are very proud of that. My father is my biggest hero."

The North Andoverite has won both his rings against his hometown team, a team for which he was a ballboy. And he is also a close friend with his former Phillips classmate Amanda Belichick, the daughter of the Patriot coach.

"I have all the respect in the world for the Patriots," he said. "But I was drafted by the Giants. This is my home, and I have no mixed feelings about that at all."

Now 27 with two Super Bowl titles and a pair of Pro Bowl appearances under his belt, DeOssie has learned to savor the moment.

"I feel like I understand more what this means now," he said. "I'm going to celebrate with my teammates and family, and I want to take that right on to the ticker-tape parade."