INDIANAPOLIS — All Adam Vinatieri ever wanted was a chance to play in the NFL.
When he finally finishes his remarkable career, he may go down as the best kicker in league history.
The man who has four Super Bowl rings, been dubbed the NFL’s best clutch kicker and become the measuring stick for all future kickers will chase yet another milestone this weekend when he attempts to join the league’s prestigious 2,000-point club.
“I never really considered it till this year and then when I did, I thought ‘It would be kind of cool,’” said Vinatieri, the Colts kicker who needs six points Sunday against Jacksonville to become the seventh NFL player with 2,000. “It really says a lot about the teams I’ve played for. It’s a neat goal and it’s a cool milestone.”
Almost as cool as he has been when his teammates have needed him to excel in Super Bowls, the snow and cold weather.
Yes, Vinatieri, who turns 41 Saturday, has been fortunate.
He spent his entire 18-year career with two of the league’s most successful franchises, the Patriots and Colts. He worked for three Super Bowl-winning coaches — Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy. He played with two of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation — Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — and is playing now with perhaps the best young quarterback of the next generation, Andrew Luck.
But Vinatieri also managed to step out from all those long shadows and proved he could stand on his own two feet.
—Brady and Belichick would not have reached their first Super Bowl without Vinatieri making two kicks on a snowy New England night that became known as the “Tuck Rule Game.” And they probably would not have won their first two Super Bowls without last-minute kicks from Vinatieri against St. Louis and Carolina.