New England Patriots

3 Feb 2002: Adam Vinatieri of the New England Patriots celebrates winning Super Bowl XXXVI 20-17 against the St. Louis Rams at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

An NFL legend is preparing to step away from the game. On Wednesday, former Patriots and Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri eluded to the fact his retirement will soon become official.

“By Friday, if paperwork goes in, you heard it here first,” Vinatieri said on the Pat McAfee show. McAfee was teammates with Vinatieri for eight years in Indianapolis.

Originally signed by the Patriots as a UDFA in 1996 out of South Dakota State, Vinatieri played a year in NFL Europe for the Amsterdam Admirals. He went on to play 10 seasons in New England, where he appeared in four Super Bowls and won three.

A free agent after the 2005 season, Vinateri went to Indianapolis where he would be able to kick indoors. He spent 14 seasons with the Colts, picking up another Super Bowl win during that time.

Vinatieri walks away from the NFL with a number of records, including the all-time scoring number. Over 24 seasons he totaled 2,673 points – over 100 more than the next-closest player, Morten Anderson. He also holds the records for career games played (365) and career field goal makes and attempts (599, 715).

But Vinatieri’s resume is as much quality as it is quantity. He’s hit the most famous kicks in the history of the sport. Super Bowl XXXVI was the first Super Bowl decided on the game’s final play – which was a 48-yard Vinatieri field goal. He’d replicate the feat two years later, with a 41-yard kick that locked up the Patriots’ second title.

He also hit was is often described as the most difficult kick in NFL history – a 45-yard drive into driving wind and snow, which sent the Patriots’ 2001 divisional playoff game against the Raiders into overtime. Vinateri would later win the game – later dubbed the ‘Snow Bowl’ – with a 23-yarder.

As the league’s all-time leading scorer, it seems logical Vinatieri is destined for a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible. Right now, there are only two true kickers enshrined in the Hall – Jan Stenerud was inducted in 1991, and Morten Andersen in 2017. Andersen held the scoring title before Vinatieri.

Once Vinatieri’s retirement paperwork is processed, Tom Brady will officially become the longest-tenured player in the NFL. Brady is just one of two players on NFL rosters who will be over the age of 40 to start next season, along with Lions’ long snapper Don Muhlbach.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.