Over the years, the Colts have had many players come and go – some were great, a few were among the best. But only one can truly be called The Greatest.
The numbers speak for themselves. The all-time leader in NFL points and field goals, Adam Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all time.
Automatic Adam, known by his teammates as Vinny, former Colts coach Tony Dungy just called him Money – you could see him mouth it on game day after every made field goal.
As Colts fans, we were so confident in our kicker that a lot of the time, we didn’t even watch him kick. We knew where that ball was going – and so did he.
During my five years covering the Colts for the team, I bonded with Vinatieri over our age (I’m a week older), our northern roots (he grew up in South Dakota, I grew up in Minnesota), our love of 80s rock and fashion.
Along with being the greatest kicker of all time, Vinatieri also gets my vote as the best dressed Colts player of all time.
But he’s also a great man, a great husband, a great father, a great teammate, and a great American.
The greatest kicker of all time once sat in the hallway at the Colts facility waiting patiently for me while I interviewed a rookie player about his dog. I offered to pause the interview, ask him my question, and send him on his way – but he politely refused.
Adam Vinatieri wanted no favors or special treatment. He was just another player and that’s how he wanted to be treated.
Except, he wasn’t.
He was The Greatest. Is The Greatest. And will be The Greatest for a very long time.
I used to joke that I would have to retire when he did. And as the 2020 season kicks off, neither of us find ourselves on an NFL roster.
Vinatieri once told me that when he was done, he didn’t want a big announcement or celebration, no pomp and circumstance. “I’m just going to disappear,” he said.
Whether it happens now or in the future, we know where he’ll reappear five years later – in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame – where he’ll take his place among the greatest to play the game.
Adam Vinatieri didn’t need football. He would have been successful at anything he did. But the teams he played for needed him.
Thank you, Adam, for giving everything you had to the Colts, the city of Indianapolis, and the fans. Thanks for doing it with class. And thanks for inspiring us to be the best we can be at whatever we do. That, more than anything, will be your legacy.
Greatness is hard to define.
The greatest is not.
Adam Vinatieri is the greatest.
And that’s how he’ll be remembered in Indianapolis, in his hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, and eventually in Canton, Ohio.