TAMPA — The scientific term for what ails us is collective obsessional behavior, or in laymen’s terms, mass hysteria.Around here, we just call it football season.This psychological phenomenon occurs when a close-knit community experiences heightened physiological symptoms over a shared anxiety. Missing field goals, for instance.It’s irrational, I know, the idea that an inability to consistently kick a football through a pair of uprights should cause an entire fan base to lose its marbles. MORE BUCS: On Sunday, it’ll be the linebacker that was versus the linebacker that will be. And yet, here we are, on the cusp of another NFL season, and with the same old unnerving thoughts about Tampa Bay’s place-kicking fortunes.So let me propose a cure:Trust Matt Gay. Heck yeah, it’s a risk. We’ve been through this before with younger guys, older guys, local guys, foreign guys, big guys and little guys. The only common denominator was awful results.But there’s something different about Gay.Something … reassuring.He talks about priorities in a thoughtful way. He talks about pressure as if it’s part of a narrative rather than a soul-crushing burden. He talks about football as if it’s a mere game.Best of all, none of it sounds phony. MORE BUCS: His popularity draws attention, but his commitment will make the difference. He’s standing in the Bucs’ locker room less than 48 hours after being more than 2,000 miles away in Utah for the birth of his first child, and he’s talking about the realities of what he has gotten himself into.“Kicking is important to me, no doubt that. It’s my job, but there are other things that are much bigger,’’ Gay says. “I’ve got a kid now that I need to take care of and who is going to depend on me, and that’s special. Yes, we’re here. This is a great job, a great gig, it’s a lot of fun. I love it, but there’s a lot more pressure in life than there is on a football field. It’s just perspective.’’The very things that make Gay a risk on the Bucs’ roster are the same things that might make him the ultimate solution for a near-decade-long problem.He’s a relative newcomer to football, having played only one season in high school and two in college. At 25, he’s older than the average rookie, having interrupted his college career for a Mormon mission.All of which means he has charted his own sort of course to the NFL and is not necessarily bound by the normal habits, conventions and pressures of typical players.Gay’s resume was already a matter of record by the time he arrived in Tampa Bay. He converted 86.1 percent of his field-goal attempts at Utah and was an impressive 8-of-11 beyond 50 yards. But what caught the eye of special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong was the focus and maturity Gay brought with him.“Usually you find what you’re looking for during training camp,’’ Armstrong said. “You’ll watch a guy make six or seven kicks in a row but the one kick you’re waiting on is the one he misses. Because that’s going to tell you a lot. You can’t survive as a placekicker if you get too high or too low.“When (Gay) kicks, when he’s in a kicking competition, he doesn’t even watch the other guy kick. Because he has no control over what that guy does. Whether the other guy makes it or misses it doesn’t matter to him; it’s whether he makes his own kick. He’s got a good understanding of what’s important.’’That might come in handy around here. For too long, place-kicking has felt like a high-wire act over a sea of pink slips. Miss a kick, lose a game, kiss your job goodbye. Since 2015, the typical NFL team has missed an average of 4.6 field-goal attempts a season. The Bucs have averaged nine. Basically, we’re twice as panicked as any other fan base.Tampa Bay has been in the bottom five of field-goal percentage for four consecutive years. No other team has scraped the bottom of that particular barrel more than twice.Ask Gay about all that, and he smiles and knowingly nods. He sees the social media posts, he understands the frayed psyche, but he also knows all that is beyond his control.Lining up for his first NFL field-goal attempt against the 49ers on Sunday might be a challenge, but it will be far from the most difficult thing Gay will have done in the past week. Fifteen hours after Oliver James Gay was born Monday, his father was heading back to practice.“It was good that I got to hold him and got to do a lot of good things with him,’’ Gay said. “But leaving him, saying goodbye and leaving (his wife, Millie) and walking out of the hospital with my bags to catch my flight? It was the greatest moment in my life and then the hardest moment of my life.’’ Contact John Romano at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow @romano_tbtimes. A look ahead at Bruce Arians’ first year in Tampa Bay and a critical season for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.