There are four seconds left and the game is tied. With your team in position for the game-winning field goal, you need a kicker who is proven to deliver in the clutch. With Adam Vinatieri, you get just that.
Widely known as “Mr. Clutch”, Vinatieri lives for these moments. He has earned a reputation for nailing big kicks throughout his 18-year career, which is why he is today’s Countdown To Kickoff honoree at No. 4.
Vinatieri spent the first ten years of his career with the New England Patriots, appearing in four Super Bowls (winning three), while becoming notable for drilling some of the biggest kicks in NFL history, including:
- The game-tying and -winning field goals in blizzard conditions in the infamous “Tuck Rule Game”
- A 48-yard field goal on the last play of Super Bowl XXXVI
- A 41-yard field goal with four seconds left in Super Bowl XXXVIII
Following the 2005 season, Vinatieri became a free agent and signed with Indianapolis, New England’s former AFC East division rival. It was a bold move–the Patriots had also ousted the Colts from the playoffs in both ’03 and ’04.
In a dramatic twist of irony, the ex-Patriot helped the Colts finally dispel the Patriots in the classic 2007 AFC Championship Game. By defeating the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI two weeks later, Vinatieri became the first kicker in NFL history to win four Super Bowls, while also playing in five.
The Colts made the Super Bowl again in 2009 with Vinatieri on the active roster, but he missed the game due to injury. He is one of only three Colts players remaining from the 2006 championship team and, at 40 years old, is currently the oldest player in the NFL.
There’s no doubt that Vinatieri’s career is winding down, but as he enters the final year of his contract, he still has the ability to deliver big in the playoffs.
Countdown To Kickoff Archive
Aug 21: Peyton Manning
Aug 22: Austin Collie
Aug 23: Ryan Leaf
Aug 24: LaVon Brazill
Aug 26: T.Y. Hilton
Aug 27: Andrew Luck
Aug 28: Donnie Avery
Aug 31: Matt Hasselbeck
Sept 1: Curtis Painter
Sept 2: Dan Orlovsky
Sept 3: Kerry Collins
Sept 4: Adam Vinatieri
Sept 5: Matt Stover
Sept 7: Pat McAfee