Patriots

Five unforgettable Adam Vinatieri moments with Patriots

Patriots

Adam Vinateri will go down as one of the most important players in New England Patriots history.

The 48-year-old kicker announced his retirement Wednesday after 24 NFL seasons, including 10 in Foxboro. During his tenure in New England, Vinatieri was key to three Super Bowl victories and made a number of kicks that will live on forever in Patriots lore.

Vinatieri earned three Pro Bowl nods and was a three-time first-team All-Pro. He spent the final 14 seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, but New England is where he made the most memories.

Let's relive some of the best ones.

Dec. 15, 1996: The Herschel Walker tackle

Vinatieri's first big moment wasn't even a kick. It was a tackle that earned him the respect of then-Patriots head coach Bill Parcells.

Vinatieri somehow chased down Dallas Cowboys running back Herschel Walker on a kick return, prompting Parcells to tell his rookie kicker, "You're not a kicker, you're a football player."

To this day, it's an amazing highlight and a testament to Vinatieri's toughness.

Jan. 19, 2002: The 'Snow Bowl' kicks

Here's Bill Belichick's favorite Vinatieri moment.

Vinatieri drilled a 45-yard field goal in the snow to tie the AFC Divisional Round game against the Oakland Raiders and send it to overtime. He followed that up by nailing the game-winning 23-yarder.

"I would say it was by far the greatest kick I have ever seen," Belichick said of Vinatieri's game-tying "Snow Bowl" kick.

 

Hard to argue.

Feb. 3, 2002: Kickstarting the Patriots dynasty

Vinatieri's kicks in the snow weren't his only heroics during that Patriots' playoff run. He got the Pats dynasty started with the 48-yard game-winning kick against the St. Louis Rams -- the "Greatest Show On Turf" -- in Super Bowl 36.

Feb. 1, 2004: More Super Bowl heroics

Two years later, Vinatieri did it again. The Patriots and Carolina Panthers were tied at 29 in Super Bowl 38 with four seconds remaining when Vinatieri propelled New England to victory with a 41-yard game-winner.

Nov. 7, 2004: Doing it with the leg and the arm

Here's a fun one. Vinatieri converted four field goals and four extra points during a 2004 Patriots rout of the Rams, but it was what he did with his arm that turned heads. Vinatieri tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Patriots receiver Troy Brown on a fake field-goal attempt, and it was glorious.