As I watch the clock tick down to zero during the Colts/Titans game and watch yet another game winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri, the first thought that comes to my mind is that Peyton Manning owes Adam Vinatieri a debt that cannot be repayed. Tom Brady needs to pony up on that debt as well for Vinatieri is the one who started the Brady legend as well. I think it is very ironic that the two best quarterbacks of the last decade are both indebted to the same guy. Not a coach, not a receiver-a kicker. It was Vinatieri who kicked the tying field goal in the snow years ago that allowed the Patriots to tie the Raiders and then Vinatieri won the game. After he left New England and went to Indianapolis, Vinatieri again proved he was worth his weight in gold when he kicked five field goals to beat the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs to set up the memorable AFC Championship Game that allowed Manning to get off the snide by beating the Patriots.
I think it is interesting that the pundits go back and forth on who is the best between the two. Some say Manning is the better where others say Brady has more championships and he is better. I think that discussion is one that will rage forever, but I would take either one if I was coaching and if I had my druthers, I would take Adam Vinatieri before I took either one of them at quarterback.
At 41 years of age, I remember some great kickers. Gary Anderson and Morten Anderson come to mind right away as clutch kickers; Tony Franklin comes to mind as well. But in today’s game, John Kasay, Joe Nedney and Jay Feely come to mind as clutch, but David Akers I believe is a step ahead of them. Ahead of all of them is Vinatieri who continues to be the goose with the golden leg. Drafted in 1996 by New England, Vinatieri in the past 15 years has scored 1648 points and kicked some of the most important kicks in NFL history. A list of game winners include 48 yard game winner to beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, a 41 yard field goal to beat the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl. The aforementioned game against the Raiders when he kicked a 45 yard field goal in a blizzard to tie the game and in today’s game where he kicked three field goals including the game winner.
For his career he has kicked twenty field goals in the last-minute of games to win and has missed only one.
It goes without saying that he has been a valuable asset to both teams and to both quarterbacks and next week the Jets come to town and we get to see a replay of last years AFC Championship game. The Jets have backed in and the Colts have won their way in, the Jets are struggling to put pressure on the quarterback, and the Colts have found their running game and a rush defense in the process. The Colts will be a week healthier and Rex Ryan will undoubtedly pronounce his team the winner.
Sounds like a close game. Just another day at the office for number 4.