Bill Belichick is a six-time Super Bowl champion head coach. But without Adam Vinatieri, he may have a couple fewer rings in the safe at home.
With Vinatieri announcing his retirement on Wednesday, Belichick released a statement praising the accomplishments of the former New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts kicker.
And Belichick wasn’t shy about expressing just how significant a player Vinatieri was during his 24-year NFL career.
“Adam Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all-time who made the greatest kick of all-time in the 2001 divisional playoffs,” Belichick said. “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 of echelon of athletes whose career accomplishments may never be matched.”
Belichick is referencing Vinatieri’s 45-yard field goal in the snow against the Oakland Raiders that helped the Patriots get to their first Super Bowl with Belichick as head coach. A 48-yard field goal clinched a victory in that year’s Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams and a 41-yard kick broke a 29-29 tie against the Carolina Panthers two years later to give New England their first two Super Bowl titles.
He has the NFL’s all-time record for most points scored (2,673), most field goals made (599), most total games played (397) and most consecutive field goals made (44).