December 29, 2013

NFL: Vinatieri joins 2,000-point club

Kicker becomes 7th NFL player to reach milestone

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Vinatieri is the seventh NFL player to score 2,000 career points.

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Indianapolis Colts' Adam Vinatieri (4) is congratulated by Pat McAfee (1) after kicking a 23-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

The Colts kicker did it by making a 26-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half of Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.

Vinatieri started the day needing six points to achieve the feat and now has 2,002 career points in 18 seasons — all with either New England or Indianapolis. He has tied George Blanda for sixth on the career scoring list.

Vinatieri has been widely regarded as the best clutch kicker in league history. He won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, two as a direct result of his consistent right foot, and a fourth with the Colts. He’s the only kicker in NFL history to win four Super Bowl titles.

And he’s the only kicker in league history to play in five Super Bowls and be part of six conference championships. His 16 100-point seasons are tied with Jason Elam for the most in league history. Vinatieri and Morten Andersen also are the only NFL players to top 800 points with two teams.

Vinatieri opened the day by making two extra points in the first 7 1/2 minutes, then booted a 23-yard field goal to make it 17-0. When he made a second short field goal, he celebrated with a series of fist bumps in what could be his final regular-season home game in Indy.

The 41-year-old kicker will be a free agent after the season, though he said this week he hoped to be back with Indy next season.

Vinatieri started this season as the oldest player in the league, a title he held until Jon Kitna was signed by Dallas this week, but has shown no sign of slowing down. He already has a career high (33) field goals this season and his field goal percentage (86.8 percent) is the fifth highest of his career.

Vinatieri will have another chance to win at a fifth Super Bowl title. Indy has clinched the AFC South title.

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