Person of the Week: Adam Vinatieri

ByABC News
August 30, 2004, 2:37 PM

Feb. 6 -- Adam Vinatieri won the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots. But he could have been the scapegoat if they had lost.

"Everybody wants to be a kicker except for on Sunday," he said. "Obviously all week long in practice we don't do nearly as much on the field. We're not sweating as much. We're not bloody as much, except for on Sunday when the game's on the line. They're all standing on the sidelines saying, 'I hope he makes this, but I'm sure glad I'm not the one out there kicking it.' "

Especially not with several hundred million people watching.

Vinatieri's time came as the Patriots and the Carolina Panthers were tied, 29-29. There were only a few seconds left in the game.

"You take your steps back, and it almost seems like everything slows down a little bit," Vinatieri said. "You're not aware of the noise and the crowd and the flashbulbs going off and that type of thing. You're more concerned about the hold and the kick."

Said Vinatieri: "I felt like I hit it pretty well. When I saw it going down the middle, it was just time to jump around and act like a fool at that point I guess."

It was a twice-in-a-lifetime moment for Vinatieri. He booted in the game-winning kick two years ago in another Super Bowl, again with seconds left on the clock.

"If he continues at this pace, he will be established as the greatest kicker of all time, at least in regard to making clutch kicks. He just has an astonishing résumé for someone who is so young in his trade," said Bob Ryan, a sports writer for the Boston Globe.

Memorable Games

Two years ago in the playoffs, the Patriots' season was on the line. It was snowing, and the goal posts were barely visible.

"My first and foremost thing was, 'Don't fall down, Adam.' It was 45 yards and I probably kicked it 46 yards," Vinatieri said.

His kick tied the game, and his team won it in overtime. He said it's the game he'll always remember.