Adam Vinatieri sets NFL all-time scoring record for Colts
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Adam Vinatieri has made plenty of tougher kicks in his career. The two last-second field goals to win Super Bowls, a 45-yarder through the snow to win a playoff game and 46 field goals from at least 50 yards in the regular season and postseason.
Vinatieri’s 25-yarder at the end of the second quarter in Indianapolis’ 42-28 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday will surely be one he never forgets.
With that kick, Vinatieri passed Hall of Famer Morten Andersen to become the NFL’s all-time leading scorer. He added three extra points in the fourth quarter to give him 2,550 for his career — six more than Andersen.
“I never thought I’d play that long,” said the 45-year-old Vinatieri, who is in his 23rd NFL season. “I never thought I’d be standing here talking to you guys about all-time records. But I love my teammates — all of them — for the last 20-something years, unselfishly going out there and helping me do my job. A lot of great memories along the way. I think that’s the best part about this day — less the record and more that we got the record in a win.”
Vinatieri wasn’t sure the record would come this week after re-injuring his right groin last week against Buffalo. He was limited in practice this week but was healthy enough to play the game.
He made an extra point and a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter to tie Andersen’s record before hitting the kick at the end of the half that made him No. 1 by himself.
“I played against him back in 2007, when he was in Atlanta and it might have been about his last year and I just thought, ‘Man, this is unbelievable. This is a record that will never be touched,'” Vinatieri said. “He’s done it so long for so many years and so prolifically, that you know I just thought, man, it’s untouchable. But I guess as you keep going and you just stack years upon years, the numbers start stacking up.”
Vinatieri reached legendary status in the 2001 season when his 45-yard field goal on a snowy night shortly after the Patriots were given a reprieve by the “Tuck Rule” against the Raiders forced overtime in a playoff game. He kicked a game-winner in overtime to send the Patriots to the AFC championship game.
He then made the winning 48-yard kick on the final play of the Super Bowl to lead the Patriots to their first championship and help launch a dynasty.
Vinatieri made the winning 41-yarder two years later with four seconds left to help New England beat Carolina for a second title. He won the Super Bowl again the following year with New England and then after the 2006 season with the Colts.
He’s still going strong more than a decade later.
“I really don’t think we fully appreciate what just happened, or really playing with Vinny,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “He doesn’t make a big deal out of anything. He approaches everything with such a professionalism and humility and deflects attention, that I think we get blinded to how great — truly great, great — he is. I love playing with him. He’s taught me so much about how to handle yourself and about how to be a pro.”