|No. 5, 4|
|Born:||December 28, 1972|
Yankton, South Dakota
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||212 lb (96 kg)|
(Rapid City, South Dakota)
|College:||South Dakota State|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Adam Matthew Vinatieri (born December 28, 1972) is an American former football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 24 seasons with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. Considered one of the greatest kickers of all time, he is the NFL's all-time leading scorer at 2,673 points. He also holds the NFL records for field goals made (599), postseason points (238), and overtime field goals made (12).
Vinatieri joined the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 1996, where he played for 10 seasons, and was a member of the Colts for 14 seasons. A four-time Super Bowl winner—three with the Patriots and one with the Colts—he has the most Super Bowl wins for a kicker. He is also the only player to score 1,000 points for two different franchises. Retiring in 2021 after a year in free agency, Vinatieri was the last active player whose career began in the 1990s.
Celebrated for his kicking accuracy and success under pressure, Vinatieri completed several of the most crucial field goals in NFL history. During the 2001–02 NFL playoffs, he converted the game-tying and winning kicks of New England's AFC Divisional Playoff game in blizzard conditions and the game-winning kick in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXXVI, earning the Patriots their first championship. He would again convert a final-second kick to win Super Bowl XXXVIII, establishing himself as a key contributor of the Patriots' dynasty. In 2019, Vinatieri was named to the National Football League 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Vinatieri was born in Yankton, South Dakota on December 28, 1972, the second of Judy M. (Goeken) and Paul Vinatieri's four children. His great-great-grandfather was Italian, and his other ancestry includes German and English. His younger brother Beau was a placekicker at Black Hills State University before graduating in 2003.
When Vinatieri was five years old, his family moved to Rapid City, South Dakota. As a child, he struggled to read and enrolled in classes for children with learning disabilities. Vinatieri attended Central High School in Rapid City and was a letterman in football, wrestling, basketball, soccer, and track. In football, he earned first-team All-State honors as a senior. He graduated from Central High School in 1991. Before starting as a kicker, Vinatieri was a quarterback and middle linebacker. When asked why he no longer played one of those positions, he replied, "I'm 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, and unfortunately the linebackers [in college] aren't that small, and neither are the quarterbacks."
Vinatieri first enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point, but was only there for two weeks before deciding to return home, where he then enrolled at South Dakota State University. He was a four-year letterman there as a placekicker and punter and he finished his collegiate career as SDSU's all-time leading scorer with 185 career points as well as being awarded first-team all-conference honors in each of his seasons.
Vinatieri spent the summer of 1996 training to compete professionally. He received a tryout for the World League of American Football (later rebranded as NFL Europe), and earned a roster position with the Amsterdam Admirals as a placekicker and punter.
In 1996, Vinatieri was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent to be a placekicker. In order to become their starter, he had to compete with 17-year veteran Matt Bahr. Bahr at first seemed to be the favorite, as he had a long history with Patriots coach Bill Parcells, including a Super Bowl win under Parcells in the 1990 season. However, Parcells ultimately made the decision to cut Bahr during the preseason and go with Vinatieri, mainly because Bahr was no longer capable of efficiently performing kickoffs.
Vinatieri played in New England for the first 10 years of his NFL career, during which he played in four Super Bowls, winning three titles. In his rookie season, he chased down and tackled Dallas Cowboys returner Herschel Walker on a kickoff, leading Parcells to tell his rookie kicker "You're not a kicker—you're a football player." His first Super Bowl appearance was in his rookie season of 1996 when he played with the Patriots in their 35–21 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. One of his kickoffs in the Super Bowl was returned by Desmond Howard for a Super Bowl-record 99 yards and a touchdown that ended the Patriots' bid for a comeback. The game would mark the only Super Bowl defeat of Vinatieri's career.
In the 2001 playoffs, during a blizzard against the Oakland Raiders in the final game at Foxboro Stadium, Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal into a swirling winter wind to tie the game 13–13 and send it into overtime. The Patriots won the game on another field goal of 23 yards by Vinatieri. In Super Bowl XXXVI that season, Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play to give the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl victory, a 20–17 upset win over the St. Louis Rams, who were 14-point favorites coming into the game. Two years later in the 2003 season, in an almost identical situation, he kicked a 41-yard field goal with four seconds left in Super Bowl XXXVIII to boost the Patriots to another championship (after missing one field goal and having another attempt blocked in the first half). This time, the Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers 32–29, making Vinatieri the first player ever to be the deciding factor in two Super Bowl games (Vinatieri kept the balls used on both of these kicks).
In 2004, Vinatieri led the NFL in scoring with 141 points (31-for-33 on field goals, and a perfect 48-for-48 on extra point attempts). In a game against the St. Louis Rams, Vinatieri scored 16 points (four field goals and four extra points), and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Troy Brown on a fake field goal attempt (that pass gives him a career passer rating of 122.9). In Week 10, against the Buffalo Bills, he scored a career-high 17 points on five field goals and two extra points. He went on to score a field goal and three extra points in the Patriots 24–21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
By the time Vinatieri finished his final season with the Patriots in 2005, he had kicked 18 game-winning field goals with less than one minute remaining, including the postseason. At the conclusion of the 2005 season, he had a career field goal percentage of 81.9 percent (263/321), fifth-highest in NFL history. In his time in New England, his community involvement included helping Christian athletes, D.A.R.E., and the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau. He was a spokesperson for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island's teen anti-smoking contest, and also appeared in commercials for Boston-based pizza Papa Gino's. Vinatieri finished his 10 seasons with the Patriots as the team's all-time leading scorer with 1,156 points (that record was surpassed by Vinatieri's replacement, Stephen Gostkowski, in 2014). His jersey number 4 was not reissued for the next 14 seasons until quarterback Jarrett Stidham wore it in 2019.
After the 2005 season, the Patriots chose not to place their franchise tag on Vinatieri as they had the year before, allowing him to become a free agent. He had met with the Green Bay Packers, but was set on signing in either a warm-weather climate or a team that played home games in a dome. On March 22, 2006, Vinatieri signed with the Indianapolis Colts, replacing Mike Vanderjagt, who signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Vinatieri was signed to a five-year contract and received a $3.5 million signing bonus.
"When the Colts called, I told my agent, 'Let's not screw around,' " said Vinatieri, in his first extensive comments regarding his departure from New England. "I told him, 'If Indy is interested, let's get this done.'" Vinatieri said he has no regrets about not giving the Patriots a chance to counter the offer.
With the Indianapolis Colts, Vinatieri had been a perfect 10-of-10 in kicks in the RCA Dome. In the second round of the 2006 AFC playoffs, Vinatieri kicked five field goals in the Colts' 15–6 upset of the favored Baltimore Ravens.
The Colts reached Super Bowl XLI after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It was Vinatieri's fifth Super Bowl appearance, and his first with the Colts. The Colts defeated the Chicago Bears 29–17. Vinatieri was 3 for 4 on field goals and 1 for 2 on points after touchdowns, the miss when punter/holder Hunter Smith fumbled the snap on the extra-point attempt after the Colts' first offensive touchdown. He missed a 36-yard kick wide left at the end of the first half—the third time he had missed a kick in the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLI was Vinatieri's fourth Super Bowl victory. Vinatieri finished the 2006–07 postseason with 49 total points and 14 field goals, both NFL records. He is the only player to have 3 or more field goals in 4 consecutive postseason games.
During the 2007 season, Vinatieri appeared in all 16 games and was 23-of-29 on field goals (FGs) and 49–of–51 PATs for 118 points (both missed PATs were blocked). This season marked his 12th consecutive 100+ point season. He kicked his 20th career game-winning FG in the final minute of a 4th quarter or in overtime, this time with three seconds remaining against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 18, 2007. In the postseason that year, Vinatieri extended his NFL career postseason records in field goals (41), attempts (50), points (172) and consecutive games scoring (22).
During the 2008 season, Vinatieri appeared in 16 games and was 20-of-25 FGs and 43-of-43 PATs for 103 points, his 13th consecutive season with over (100+) points. He made a 47-yard game-winner with three seconds remaining against Minnesota on September 14, the 21st of his career. He made a 52-yard FG against New England on November 2 with 8:05 remaining for the deciding points in 18–15 victory and was named AFC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week. Later that month, on November 23, Vinatieri hit a game-winner with no time remaining at San Diego. The 51-yard field goal was both his longest game-winning FG and the 22nd game-winning FG of his career.
In July 2009, Vinatieri had surgery on his right hip to alleviate a nagging injury, but the Colts expected that he would be ready for the season. Also, Vinatieri was placed on the injured reserve list for the rest of the season. However, Vinatieri struggled early in the season and complained of soreness in his knee. Doctors found loose cartilage in an MRI, and Vinatieri underwent arthroscopic surgery during the Colts' bye week. Vinatieri was expected to miss four to eight weeks while recovering. During the season, punter Pat McAfee assumed Vinatieri's kickoff duties, something he would continue to do until his retirement after the 2016 season. The Colts signed former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover to replace him. There was speculation over whether the Colts could cut Vinatieri, but Colts president Bill Polian stated that Vinatieri would return when he was 100% healthy. Due to the injury, Vinatieri appeared in only six games for the Colts in 2009. He returned to the lineup and kicked a field goal but missed an extra point attempt in a Week 15 loss to the New York Jets, but then was inactive for the final game of the regular season as well as throughout the Colts' postseason run. Vinatieri did not play in Super Bowl XLIV, which the Colts lost to the New Orleans Saints.
The 2010 season showed a return to form after Vinatieri's injury-plagued 2009 season. Vinatieri appeared in 15 games that season. In the final game of the regular season, in which the Colts claimed the AFC South title, Vinatieri recorded his 23rd career game-winning kick in the final minute of regulation or in overtime. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time after the game. Some other noteworthy accomplishments for Vinatieri during 2010 include:
With 53 seconds left in the Colts' Wild Card playoff game against the New York Jets, Vinatieri kicked a 50-yard field goal, his third field goal of the game, to put the Colts ahead 16–14. However, the Jets later won the game on a 32-yard field goal by Nick Folk as time expired.
On January 11, 2014, against the Patriots in the Divisional Playoff round, Vinatieri became the first player in NFL history to convert 50 field goals in the postseason. On March 11, 2014, Vinatieri signed a two-year extension with the Colts.
In Week 13 of the 2014 season, against the Washington Redskins, Vinatieri converted a career-high seven extra-point attempts in the 49–27 win. Through Week 16, Vinatieri was 28-of-28 in field goals, and was selected to his third career Pro Bowl in December. In the regular season finale against the Tennessee Titans, Vinatieri converted his first field goal but missed on his second attempt, ending his run at a perfect season. He would finish the season 30-of-31 in field goals, and did not miss a PAT. On January 2, 2015, Vinatieri was selected by the Associated Press as the First-team All-Pro kicker, his third such selection.
On May 6, Vinatieri was ranked on the NFL Network's NFL Top 100 Players of 2015 list as the 98th best player heading into the 2015 season, becoming the first specialist (kicker or punter) ever to be ranked in the top 100, as well as the oldest player to be ranked. In Week 4 of the 2015 season, Vinatieri became the Colts' all-time leading scorer and the first player in NFL history to score 1,000 points with two teams. In Week 8, he set the NFL's all-time record for overtime field goals made in a career with 10. In Week 11, Vinatieri converted three extra points and a game-winning field goal to give the Colts a come-from-behind win in Vinatieri's 300th NFL game.
On March 8, 2016, Vinatieri signed a two-year, $6 million extension with the Colts. On October 12, Vinatieri was awarded the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award for the 16th time in his career, establishing a new NFL record. In Week 5, against the Chicago Bears, he tied his career-high with 17 points (five field goals and two extra points) scored in the 29–23 victory. In a game against the Tennessee Titans on October 23, Vinatieri kicked his 43rd successful field goal in a row to break the NFL record set by Mike Vanderjagt. Vinatieri was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October. His streak of consecutive successful field goals ended at 44, when he missed a 42-yard kick in the Colts' Week 11 game against the Tennessee Titans. On January 1, 2017, a missed field goal in the season's final game against the Jacksonville Jaguars cost Vinatieri a $500,000 bonus. The bonus depended on Vinatieri finishing the 2016 campaign with a 90% or higher field goal rate.
On September 10, 2017, Vinatieri started his 22nd season in the NFL in a game against the Los Angeles Rams. In Week 5, Vinatieri went 4-for-4, hitting field goals of 23, 38, and 52 yards, followed by a 51-yard game-winner, in a 26–23 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
The 2018 season was one that featured several major milestones and NFL records for Vinatieri. On February 22, Vinatieri signed a one-year contract extension with the Colts through the 2018 season. In his first game of the season, Vinatieri hit a 51-yard field goal and became the oldest player to hit a field goal of 50 yards or more. In Week 2, Vinatieri hit three extra-point attempts to score 2,501 points in his career and became only the second player in NFL history to score over 2,500 points; he also moved into fourth place all-time in extra-point attempts with 828. In Week 3, Vinatieri connected on an extra point and 3-of-3 field goals, allowing him to tie the NFL record of 565 field goals made by Morten Andersen. In Week 4, Vinatieri hit 4-of-4 extra points and 2-of-2 field goals in a losing effort to the Houston Texans to make him the all-time leader in field goals made. He also surpassed George Blanda, moving him into fourth place all-time in career games played with 341. On October 4, 2018, Vinatieri kicked a 54-yard field goal to break his own record of the oldest player to hit a 50+ yard field goal. He also surpassed Gary Anderson, moving him into second place all-time in field goal attempts with 674. In Week 6, Vinatieri scored 10 points, hitting 2-for-2 in field goals and 4-for-4 in extra points, surpassing Anderson and moving into third place all-time in extra-point attempts. In Week 8, against the Oakland Raiders, Vinatieri scored 10 points and became the all-time NFL leader in points scored with 2,550. In Week 14, in a win over the Texans, Vinatieri made 3-for-3 extra points to move into second place all-time with 860 and he also connected on a 54-yard field goal to break his own record of oldest player to connect on a 50+ yard field goal. He also became the fourth player in NFL history to play in 350 games. In Week 17, at age 46, Vinatieri broke his own record with a 53-yard field goal to become the oldest player to kick a 50+ yard field goal and moved into second place for most extra point attempts with 852. He also became the fourth oldest player to play in a game.
On September 8, 2019, Vinatieri started his 24th season in the NFL in a game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He had one of the worst games of his career, as he went 1–3 on field-goal attempts and 1–2 on extra points. In that game he became the third-oldest player in NFL history to play in a game and surpassed Gary Anderson for the second-most games played in NFL history. The next week against the Tennessee Titans, he missed two more extra points. In week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, Vinatieri rebounded and went a perfect 3 for 3 on extra points and a perfect 2 for 2 on field goals, including a 49 yarder which hit the lower crossbar and barely went over. The 49-yarder also marked the longest field goal ever made by someone his age in an NFL game. In week 5, Vinatieri made all four field-goal attempts and an extra point in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. With his 701st field goal attempt, he became only the second player to attempt 700 or more field goals, joining Morten Andersen. In week 8 against the Denver Broncos, Vinatieri made three field goals, two of which were from 50+ yards away, one of which was 55 yards, thus making him the oldest player to make two or more from that distance in a single game, as well as making him the oldest player to kick a field goal of 55 yards or more, in the 15–13 win. He was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance despite having missed a field goal and an extra point within the game. In the following week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Vinatieri missed a potential game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter in the 26–24 loss; this unsuccessful field goal attempt tied him with Andersen for the most field goal attempts in a career. In the next game, Vinatieri became the all-time leader in field goal attempts in a career. On December 9, 2019, the Colts placed Vinatieri on injured reserve after he underwent season-ending knee surgery. Vinatieri finished the year with career-lows in field goal and extra point completion percentage at 68% and 78.6%, respectively.
On May 26, 2021, Vinatieri announced his retirement from the NFL after 24 seasons on former Colts teammate and punter Pat McAfee’s podcast, The Pat McAfee Show. He retired as the NFL's all-time leading scorer, as well as the last active player to have played in the 1990s, and the last to play before Tom Brady. His 365 games were the second most by an NFL player all-time, behind Morten Andersen's 382.
|Won the Super Bowl|
|Led the league|
|Year||Team||GP||Overall FGs||PATs||Kickoffs||Total points|
|Year||Team||GP||Overall FGs||PATs||Kickoffs||Total points|
|2009||IND||0||Did not play due to injury|
Vinatieri grew up in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. His great-great grandfather was Felix Vinatieri, an Italian immigrant who served as Lt Col George Armstrong Custer's bandmaster. Vinatieri stated that Lt Col Custer told Felix Vinatieri to head back to camp instead of going ahead with the regiment to Little Big Horn, and that this decision saved his great-great grandfather's life. He is also a third cousin to the daredevil Evel Knievel and second cousin to scientist and author Tim Foecke (their mothers are first cousins).
Vinatieri's sister is South Dakota politician Christine Erickson. Vinatieri's nephew, Chase, followed in his footsteps as a kicker at South Dakota State.
Vinatieri took an interest in motor racing, and co-owns Miller Vinatieri Motorsports with former racing driver Dr. Jack Miller, which competes in multiple series in the Road to Indy.
Vinatieri's son, AJ, is a kicker/punter.
In 2012, Vinatieri bought a house in Carmel, Indiana for $1.3 million. He later sold it for $2.25 million in 2020.
Vinatieri starred in a television commercial for the Snickers candy bar with the tagline, "Split the Uprights with Adam Nougatieri."
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