This offseason has seen cornerstones of the Patriots’ dynasty retire at a somewhat regular rate. With each one we’ve gotten official responses from team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick.
“Adam Vinatieri earned the respect of his teammates and Patriots fans everywhere in 1996 when he caught Herschel Walker from behind for a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff return. For the next 10 years, that respect and admiration grew with every clutch performance and game-winning kick, especially his iconic 48-yard field goal as time expired in Super Bowl XXXVI,” Kraft said.
“For Patriots fans, the feeling of that first Super Bowl championship will never be replicated,” he continued. As memorable as Adam’s Super Bowl performances were, he will always be remembered in New England for the greatest field goal in NFL history – the game-tying 45-yarder in the Snow Bowl against the Raiders. He retires as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer and I am certain will soon be celebrated as a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer.”
Meanwhile, Belichick touted both the quantity and quality of Vinatieri’s resume. “Adam Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all-time who made the greatest kick of all-time in the 2001 divisional playoffs,” he explained. “His consistency, mental toughness and performance under pressure was legendary. I am honored to have coached Adam, going all the way back to his rookie year in 1996 and through some of the most special moments in Patriots and league history. Adam is in the rarest echelon of athletes whose career accomplishments may never be matched.”
Belichick also spoke about Vinatieri during his press conference before Thursday’s OTA practice. “One thing with Adam, you never felt that pressure of the moment, and he certainly didn’t seem to,” Belichick said. “A tribute to him and his great career, one that I’m sure will place in the Hall of Fame in five years. That’s where he should be.”
Vinatieri played 24 seasons in the NFL, the first 10 of those with the New England Patriots. During that time he amassed 2,673 points, becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer. He last played in 2019, but hadn’t officially filed retirement paperwork until this week.
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.