In 1996, the New England Patriots signed a little-known kicker out of South Dakota State: Adam Vinatieri. The undrafted free agent would go on to spend the next 10 years of his career with the Patriots and play a prominent role in the team's first three Super Bowl titles. Along the way, Vinatieri earned a reputation as the most clutch kicker in NFL history – and what will one day be a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Had Vinatieri decided to hang up the cleats in 2005 when his contract in New England expired, he would still have had a Hall of Fame career. But at age 33 he was not thinking of doing that and instead joined the Patriots' biggest rival at the time, the Indianapolis Colts, as a free agent. 12 years and another Super Bowl ring for Vinatieri have passed since then and the 45-year old is still not done.
Yesterday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Colts and Vinatieri have agreed on a one-year, $3.6 million contract that will give the kicker a chance to add to his already impressive résumé: Vinatieri needs to score 58 more points to overtake Morten Andersen, one of only two placekickers already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, for most points ever scored by an NFL player.
He also needs to appear in 13 contests this season to become the most experienced player of all time in terms of in-game appearances. Furthermore, Vinatieri will have a chance to keep the second-most successful player in terms of victories – fellow ageless wonder Tom Brady – at a distance: Vinatieri has been part of 237 wins so far, Brady and his teams have won 14 fewer games.
The two former teammates and oldest players in the NFL will meet this season when the Patriots host the Colts. Chances are that the oldest special teamer and offensive player in the league will also be joined on the field by the oldest defender, linebacker James Harrison, who ended the 2017 season in New England.