Adam Matthew Vinatieri was born December 28, 1972 in Yankton, South Dakota. Vinatieri was a letterman in football, wrestling, basketball, soccer, and track at Central High School in South Dakota. Vinatieri was originally recruited to Army, but after 2 weeks he decided to return home. He would go on to win two Division II titles and finish as South Dakota State University's all-time scoring leader.
In 1996, Vinatieri was signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent to be a placekicker, where he spent the next 10 years making some of the most clutch kicks in NFL history and playing in four Super Bowls. In 2006, Vinatieri signed with the Indianapolis Colts, where he is still playing. In that first season in Indianapolis, the team won the Super Bowl (Peyton Manning's first and only championship),
Vinatieri is the only kicker in NFL history to have won 4 Super Bowls. He is responsible for two-gaming winning kicks on the game's biggest stage: Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII. In Super Bowl XXXVI, his kick gave the Patriots their first-ever title, defeating the heavily favored St. Louis Rams, 20-17. He would repeat that feat in Super Bowl XXXVIII, when his leg lifted the Patriots again, 32-29, against the Carolina Panthers.
Another one of Vinatieri's clutch kicks came in the infamous "Tuck Rule" game in blizzard conditions in the 2001 AFC divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. After the infamous ruling on Tom Brady's non-fumble, Vinatieri nailed a 45-yard field goal in white-out conditions to tie the game at 13 and send it to overtime. In overtime, his 23-yard game-winner eventually led to a Super Bowl victory and helped launched the Patriots' dynasty.
Here's to you Adam Vinatieri, the clutchest kicker in NFL history: