At 41 years of age, Indianapolis Colts veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri is the oldest player in the league, and he’s playing the best football of his illustrious 18-year career.
In Week 17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Vinatieri added to his long list of accomplishments as he joined an exclusive group of players to score over 2,000 points in their NFL career. Only six other men have reached that milestone, and Vinatieri shows no sign of letting up in his pursuit of Mort Andersen‘s 2,544 leading points total.
Coming out of South Dakota State undrafted in 1995, Vinatieri spent a year playing for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe before signing for the Bill Parcells-led New England Patriots as a free agent in 1996. His 10-year stint as a Patriot was filled with many triumphs and accolades, including three Super Bowl victories and a fourth appearance in the 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers in his rookie year.
Vinatieri earned the moniker of “Mr. Clutch” during his time in New England as two of three Super Bowl wins were decided by a swing of his right boot in the final seconds of the game. The infamous “tuck rule” game in the 2001 AFC playoffs between the Patriots and the Oakland Raiders was also decided by Vinatieri as he scored one field goal to send the game into overtime and a second to win the game in blizzard conditions.
After signing with the Colts in 2006, Vinatieri reached his fifth Super Bowl appearance that same year and hit three field goals in the 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears at Super Bowl XLI. A sixth trip to the stage would have been booked in 2009 but a knee injury followed by surgery and rehab kept him on the sidelines for the second half of the season.
This year, Vinatieri has made a career high 35 field goal attempts; only Stephen Gostkowski and Justin Tucker have hit more (both with 38). He also tied a career-high four successful kicks from 50 yards or more, and his 139 points total in 2013 is the second highest during his 18 years as a pro.
Vinatieri is sure to leave his mark on the playoffs this season as the Colts get the postseason underway in the early game this evening against the Kansas City Chiefs. A free agent at the end of the year, there is no doubt the Colts will be looking to retain the services of “Mr. Clutch” for many years to come.