Bill Belichick is a six-time Super Bowl champion head coach. But without Adam Vinatieri, he might have a few less rings in the home safe.
With Vinatieri announcing his retirement on Wednesday, Belichick released a statement praising the accomplishments of former New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts kicker.
And Belichick didn’t hesitate to express how important a player Vinatieri was during his 24-year NFL career.
“Adam Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all time who delivered the greatest kick of all time in the 2001 division playoffs,” said Belichick. “His consistency, mental toughness and performance under pressure were legendary. I’m honored to have coached Adam, going back to his freshman 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 professional accomplishments may never be matched.
Belichick refers to Vinatieri’s 45-yard basket in the snow against the Oakland Raiders who helped the Patriots qualify for their first Super Bowl with Belichick as the head coach. A 48-yard basket earned a Super Bowl victory this year over the St. Louis Rams and a 41-yard kick shattered a 29-29 draw against the Carolina Panthers two years later to give in New England his first two Super Bowl titles.
He has the NFL all-time record for most points scored (2,673), most field goals (599), most games played (397) and most consecutive goals. on the ground (44).