Adam Matthew Vinatieri was born to Paul and Judy Vinatieri on December 28th, 1972 in Yankton South Dakota, and is the second of four children.
Vinatieri attended Central High School (Rapid City, South Dakota) and was a letterman in football, wrestling, soccer, and track. In football, he garnered first team All-State honors as a senior. Adam Vinatieri graduated from Central High School in 1991.
Vinatieri was originally recruited to kick for Army and attended West Point for several weeks in 1991 before deciding to return home to South Dakota. He was a four-year letterman at South Dakota State University as a placekicker and punter. He finished up his college years of football as the school's all-time scoring leader with 185 career points scored. (His younger brother Beau was a place kicker at Black Hills State University before graduating in 2003.)
He spent the fall of 1995 training to compete professionally. He received a tryout for the World League of American Football, now known as NFL Europa, and earned a roster position with the Amsterdam Admirals as a placekicker and punter.
In 1996 he was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent to be a place kicker. He played in New England for the first 10 years of his NFL career, during which he has played in four Super Bowls. His first Super Bowl appearance was in his rookie season of 1996, when he played with the Patriots in their 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.
In the 2001 playoffs, during a blizzard against the Oakland Raiders in the final game at Foxboro Stadium, Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal (that just barely made it over the crossbar) to tie the game 13-13 and send it into overtime. The Patriots then won the game on another field goal of 23 yards by Vinatieri. That 45-yard kick in driving snow is regarded as one of the greatest clutch plays (and greatest kicks) in NFL history.
In Super Bowl XXXVI he kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play to give the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl victory, a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. Two years later, and in an almost identical situation, he kicked a 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in Super Bowl XXXVIII to boost the Patriots to another championship (after missing one field goal and having another attempt blocked in the first half). This time, the Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32-29, making Vinatieri the first player ever to be the deciding factor in two Super Bowl games (Vinatieri kept the balls used on both those kicks).
Vinatieri led the NFL in scoring in 2004 with 141 points (31-for-33 on field goals, and a perfect 48-for-48 on points after touchdown or PATs). His best game of the season came against the St. Louis Rams, against whom he scored 16 points (4 field goals, 4 PATs), and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Troy Brown on a fake field goal attempt (that pass gives him a career passer rating of 122.9). He went on to score a field goal and 3 extra points in the Patriots 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
To date, Vinatieri has kicked 19 game-winning field goals with less than one minute remaining (out of 20 attempts; his lone miss came in 1999), including those mentioned in the postseason. At the conclusion of the 2005 season, he had a career field goal percentage of 81.9 percent (263/321), fifth highest in NFL history. His career long is 57 yards.
He has a reputation as a toughnosed defender on kickoff returns. In his third season with the Patriots, 1998, Vinatieri made 6 tackles and 1 assist on 71 kickoff returns: i.e., he was directly responsible for stopping almost 10% of his own kickoff returns. Throughout his first 10 seasons, he made 20 tackles and 7 assists. 726 of his kickoffs were returned during those years, but only 2 were returned for touchdowns.
In his time in New England, he was very active in his home town and state which includes helping Christian athletes, D.A.R.E., and the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau. He was a spokesperson for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island's teen anti-smoking contest, and also appeared in commercials for Boston-based pizza Papa Gino's. His hobbies include hunting, riding motorcycles and golfing. He is married, and has two children.
Vinatieri finished his 10 seasons with the Patriots as the team's all time leading scorer with 1,158 points.
After the 2005 season, the Patriots chose not to place the franchise tag on Vinatieri as they had the year before, allowing him to become a free agent. He had visited with the Green Bay Packers, but left without a contract offer. On March 22, 2006, Vinatieri signed with the Indianapolis Colts, replacing Mike Vanderjagt who was signed by the Dallas Cowboys. Vinatieri was signed to a five year contract and received a $3.5 million signing bonus.
"When the Colts called, I told my agent, `Let's not screw around,' " said Vinatieri, in his first extensive comments regarding his departure from New England. "I told him, 'If Indy is interested, let's get this done.'" ... Vinatieri said he has no regrets about not giving the Patriots a chance to counter the offer.
In the second round of the 2006 AFC playoffs, Vinatieri kicked a playoff record-tying 5 field goals in the Colts 15-6 upset of the favored Baltimore Ravens. The record of 5 field goals in a playoff game is one Vinatieri originally set himself against the Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship game.
The Colts reached Super Bowl XLI after defeating the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It was Vinatieri's fifth Super Bowl appearance, and his first with the Colts. The Colts defeated the Chicago Bears by a score of 29-17. Vinatieri was 3 for 4 on field goals, and 2 for 2 on points after touchdowns. He missed a 36 yard kick wide left at the end of the first half--the third time he has missed a kick in the Super Bowl. Although the Colts scored 3 touchdowns, the snap for the first point after was bobbled by the place holder, resulting in no kick. Super Bowl XLI is his fourth Super Bowl victory. Vinatieri finished the 2006-07 postseason with 49 total points, an NFL record.
These statistics are accurate as of December 31, 2006.
|Season||PAT||PAT Pct.||1-19||20-29||30-39||40-49||50+||FG-FGA||FG Pct.||Long||Points|
Adam and his wife Valeri and their two children reside in Carmel, Indiana during the football season and Celebration, Florida during the off-season. He is the second of four children. His great-great grandfather is Felix Vinatieri, who served as General George Armstrong Custer's bandmaster. He is also a third cousin to the famous daredevil, Evel Knievel.