Patriots: Bill Belichick releases statement after Adam Vinatieri retirement
By Jerry Trotta
The New England Patriots won six championships during their dynasty, but it’s not outlandish to say they might’ve won fewer if not for Adam Vinatieri.
He was simply the best at what he did. And you don’t win title after title without embracing the very best.
Vinatieri is responsible for some of the greatest kicks in NFL history and dozens of those came during his Patriots tenure, which lasted from 1996 to 2005.
Though Vinatieri went on to kick for the rival Indianapolis Colts for 14 years, it goes without saying that he’s beloved by Patriots fans, so they must’ve been crushed when he announced his retirement on Wednesday.
As expected, Vinatieri received an outpouring of love from former teammates and colleagues.
That included former head coach Bill Belichick, who released a moving statement about the unrivaled legacy the four-time champion is leaving behind.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick released a statement after Adam Vinatieri announced his retirement.
If we know anything about Belichick, it’s that he doesn’t shower praise on a player’s behalf if it isn’t fully deserved and his statement proves how highly he thinks of Vinatieri. Regardless of position, we’re talking about one of the best players in league history.
After all, Vinatieri is currently the NFL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,673 points. The three-time Pro Bowler also holds the record for most field goals made (599), most consecutive made field goals (44) and total games played at 397.
As far as the clutch gene is concerned, not many players had a bigger one than Vinatieri. While his entire career was filled with signature moments, let’s focus on his time with the Patriots. For starters, his 45-yard overtime field goal in the snow against the Raiders in the famous “Tuck Rule” game helped New England reach its first Super Bowl under Belichick in 2001.
Just a few weeks later, Vinatieri drilled a 48-yard FG with one second remaining in the fourth quarter against the Rams that helped the Patriots clinch their first championship. It’s not hyperbole to say that kick gave birth to New England’s dynasty.
After all, just two years later Vinatieri converted a 41-yard field goal to break a 29-29 deadlock against the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVII. As fans will remember, there were only nine seconds remaining in regulation when Vinatieri’s number was called…and he delivered again!
Like we said earlier, the Patriots could easily have fewer championships in the trophy case if not for Vinatieri’s playoff heroics. We know Belichick has a big ego, but if his praise-laden statement doesn’t prove he thinks that’s the case, then nothing does.