Adam Vinatieri has re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts for the upcoming NFL season – despite turning forty-six before the next set of playoffs.
In this profession, by the age of forty-five, you should probably either be on television telling everyone else how great you were, or you should be with your family in a remote Caribbean island that you’ve bought. But, alas.
Vinatieri joined the NFL in 1996, meaning his employment is older than some countries. For your information, those countries are: East Timor, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and South Sudan.
Despite the fact you can attribute his longevity to his position as a placekicker, it’s still quite a feat. Only five men have retired at the same age, or older, than Vinatieri. They are: John Carney, Gary Anderson, Ben Agajanian, Morten Anderson and George Blanda.
Blanda holds the record for sticking around the longest – he was forty-eight when he retired. However, the person everyone will be speaking about this year is Morten Anderson who holds the record for most points scored in the history of the league. He’s notched up 2,544.
Vinatieri is just fifty-seven points behind him – nineteen field goals, fifty-seven extra points or a combination of both. Just as well he’s on an Indianapolis team who were the third-worst in the league last year. His boot may still be required from distance.
Stretching back to 1996 and reviewing, the now near-OAP has been involved in some of the biggest games in NFL history, as well as kicking the winning points in two Super Bowls.
But going back to the 1996 Draft, things weren’t always a clear segue to success for the now shoo-in Hall of Famer. Firstly, he went to South Dakota State. Their nickname is the Jackrabbits, so you can forgive any General Manager in the NFL for wanting to pass on any of their players.
But in all seriousness, that particular school has only had thirty-three players go on to play at the elite level – including three currently plying their trade in the league. Vinatieri is one; Bryan Witzmann and Zach Zenner are the others. He even had to take a year in the completely woeful NFL Europe project with the Amsterdam Admirals. When asked, he said he had a “great time there”. I’d say you did, Adam – you scallywag.
As well as that, there were no kickers drafted in 1996. Since then, only the 1998, 2010 and 2015 drafts have gone by without a single placekicker being picked in one of the seven rounds. Indeed, he would be picked up by the New England Patriots because good players are attracted to them like flies are attracted to sh*t.
NFL careers are defined by big moments. Vinatieri’s boils down to three of them – making him one of the most clutch performers of all time.
The first is in 2002. It’s known as the ‘Tuck Rule Game’ for reasons we won’t get into for the sake of appeasing Oakland Raiders fans, but Vinatieri made a 45-yard field goal in a blizzard to help them advance to the AFC Championship Game.
— Drydens Den (@DrydensDen) November 18, 2017
The second is the game-winner in Super Bowl XXXVI – the same year as above. Some young fellow called Thomas Brady dissected the Rams defence to get Vinatieri within range to grab a Vince Lombardi trophy for New England. Did he ever.
February 22, 2018 at 04:29AM"RT thecheckdown: Adam Vinatieri is coming back for his 23rd season…
🐐 of clutch kicks?? pic.twitter.com/RsJdqwJ5Vw"
— NFL Today (@NFL_Today365) February 21, 2018
Most players can only ever dream of that scenario – let alone live it. Vinatieri lived it twice, as he kicked another Super Bowl-winning field goal two years later in a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XVIII.
Just a gentle reminder that he could tackle, too. Here’s to another twenty-three years of the GOAT.
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) August 20, 2015