|Date of birth||December 12, 1972|
|Place of birth||Yankton, South Dakota|
|College||South Dakota State|
|Pro Bowls||2003, 2005|
|Honors||4 Super Bowl ring's|
New England Patriots
Adam Matthew Vinatieri was born December 28, 1972 in Yankton, South Dakota and is currently a placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts. He is best known for his years with the New England Patriots from 1996 to 2005. He has played in five Super Bowls, four with the Patriots and one with the Colts, winning four. Vinatieri won a Super Bowl in 2007 with Indianapolis and won Super Bowls in 2002, 2004, & 2005 with the Patriots. Vinatieri is the first kicker ever to play in five Super Bowls and win four Super Bowl rings. His only Super Bowl loss coming in Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 to the Green Bay Packers 35-21.
Vinatieri is generally considered to be one of the most talented clutch kickers in the history of the National Football League. Nicknamed "Automatic Adam" for his accuracy, and "Iceman" for his incredible poise under pressure, Vinatieri has converted several of the most pressurized field goals in NFL history, including game-winning kicks in the final seconds of two Super Bowls.
Football[edit | edit source]
High School[edit | edit source]
Adam attended Central High School in Rapid City, South Dakota and was a letterman in football, wrestling, soccer, and track. In football, he garnered first team All-State honors as a senior. He graduated from Central High School in 1991.
College career[edit | edit source]
Vinatieri was originally recruited to kick for Army and attended West Point for several weeks in 1991 before deciding to return home to South Dakota. He was a four-year letterman at South Dakota State as a placekicker and punter. He finished up his college career as the school's all-time scoring leader with 185 career points scored.
Early Professional Career[edit | edit source]
He spent the fall of 1995 training to compete professionally. He received a tryout for the World League of American Football, now defunct, and earned a roster position with the Amsterdam Admirals as a placekicker and punter.
New England Patriots[edit | edit source]
In 1996 he was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent to be a place kicker. He played in New England for the first 10 years of his NFL career, during which he played in four Super Bowls, winning three. 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 a Super Bowl record 99 yards for a touchdown, winning the game for Green Bay.
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 to tie the game 13-13 and send it into overtime. The kick is considered one of the greatest in league history. The Patriots then won the game on another field goal of 23 yards by Vinatieri.
In Super Bowl XXXVI he kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play to give the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl victory, a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. Two years later, and in an almost identical situation, he kicked a 41-yard field goal with 4 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 led the NFL in scoring in 2004 with 141 points (31-for-33 on field goals, and a perfect 48-for-48 on points after touchdown or PATs). His best game of the season came against the St. Louis Rams, against whom he scored 16 points (4 field goals, 4 PATs), 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).  He went on to score a field goal and 3 extra points in the Patriots 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
To date, Vinatieri has kicked 20 game-winning field goals with less than one minute remaining (out of 21 attempts; his lone miss came in 1999), including those mentioned in 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. His career long is 57 yards.
He has a reputation as a toughnosed defender on kickoff returns. In his third season with the Patriots, 1998, Vinatieri made 6 tackles and 1 assist on 71 kickoff returns: i.e., he was directly responsible for stopping almost 10% of his own kickoff returns. Throughout his first 10 seasons, he made 20 tackles and 7 assists. 726 of his kickoffs were returned during those years, but only 2 were returned for touchdowns.
In his time in New England, he was very active in his home town and state which includes 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. His hobbies include hunting, riding motorcycles and golfing. He is married, and has two children.
Vinatieri finished his 10 seasons with the Patriots as the team's all time leading scorer with 1,158 points.
Indianapolis Colts[edit | edit source]
After the 2005 season, the Patriots chose not to place the franchise tag on Vinatieri as they had the year before, allowing him to become a free agent. He had visited with the Green Bay Packers, but left without a contract offer. On March 22, 2006, Vinatieri signed with the Indianapolis Colts, replacing Mike Vanderjagt who was signed by 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.
Because of this, despite past success with the Patriots, when Vinatieri comes to attempt a kick in New England he is always booed.
In the second round of the 2006 AFC playoffs, Vinatieri kicked a playoff record-tying 5 field goals in the Colts 15-6 upset of the Baltimore Ravens. The record of 5 field goals in a playoff game is one Vinatieri originally set himself against the Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship game.
The Colts reached Super Bowl XLI after defeating the 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 by a score of 29-17. Vinatieri was 3 for 4 on field goals, and 2 for 2 on points after touchdowns. He missed a 36 yard kick wide left at the end of the first half--the third time he has missed a kick in the Super Bowl. Although the Colts scored 3 touchdowns, the snap for the first point after was bobbled by the place holder, resulting in no kick. Super Bowl XLI is his fourth Super Bowl victory, one behind the record held by Charles Haley. Vinatieri finished the 2006-07 NFL Playoffs 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 week 10 game of the Colts' 2007 season against San Diego, Vinatieri missed a 29-yard field goal wide right with 1:34 remaining that would likely have given the Colts a 24-23 victory; it was the first time he had missed a fourth-quarter game-winning kick since October 10, 1999, against the Chiefs. The Colts ended up losing the game.
Career stats[edit | edit source]
These statistics are accurate as of January 1, 2008.
|Season||PAT||PAT Pct.||1-19||20-29||30-39||40-49||50+||FG-FGA||FG Pct.||Long||Points|
Honors and awards[edit | edit source]
- 4-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI Patriots, XXXVIII Patriots, XXXIX Patriots, XLI 2006 Colts)
- 2003 Pro Bowl starter
- 2005 Pro Bowl starter
- Vinatieri holds the record for most postseason field goals in a career, with 40, which he set during the 2006 season, surpassing Gary Anderson's previous record of 34
- Most consecutive games in a single postseason with 3+ field goals: 4
- Most points in postseason, career: 167
- Most field goals in a single postseason: 14
- Most Field Goals Lifetime in Super Bowl: 7
- Most Extra Points Lifetime in Super Bowl: 13
- Record for most total points in a single postseason: 49 in 2006
- Most Field Goals in a single NFL postseason game: 5 (tied with Steve Christie and Chuck Nelson); achieved twice.
Personal[edit | edit source]
Adam and his wife Valeri and their two children reside in Carmel, Indiana during the football season and Celebration, Florida during the off-season. He is the second of four children. His great-great grandfather is Felix Vinatieri, an Italian immigrant who served as General George Armstrong Custer's bandmaster  . Adam said in an interview that Gen. 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 famous daredevil, Evel Knievel.
A collection of Felix Vinatieri manuscripts and instruments can be found at the National Music Museum located in Vermillion, South Dakota. http://www.usd.edu/smm/vinatieri.html
References[edit | edit source]
- Mr. Clutch
- Sports Illustrated, September 24, 2007, p. 30
- Vinatieri shunned Patriots, Boston Globe
- A foot for the clutch, Boston Globe
- The 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment Fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn
- The Patriots: Adam Vinatieri, Daredevil