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Adam Vinatieri Weighs in on the Future of Kicking in the NFL

Intro: Each offseason, rule changes are thrown around at every level. Much of the talk in 2014 has centered around the kicking game in the NFL. What does Adam Vinatieri think of some of the proposals?





INDIANAPOLIS –When Adam Vinatieri signed his first NFL contract, Da'Rick Rogers was fresh off celebrating his fifth birthday.

The year was 1996 and Vinatieri was about to embark on a future Hall of Fame kicking career while Rogers was heading to kindergarten.

Both are now Colts teammates as Rogers is trying to find his niche in the NFL and Vinatieri is busy putting the finishing touches on an 18-year career.

As Vinatieri heads into an offseason of free agency, he's been a spokesperson (not by choice) for the position he plays.

Talk has run rampant on if field goals in the NFL are "too easy" and if extra points themselves should be completely eliminated.

"The extra point is almost automatic," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in January. "I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200. So it's a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play."

Possible solutions from Goodell?

"It's automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six."

Vinatieri doesn't necessarily agree with the proposal but there is one idea that he finds intriguing.

Just like other positions around the NFL, kickers are performing at an extremely high rate so Vinatieri wants to adjust the points scale for field goals of at least 50 yards.

"I think what they should do is any kick over 50 yards is worth four points," Vinatieri offered.

"Reward the guys that are exceptional. I don't want to emphasize that kickers are more important…but now all of a sudden you are down three and you have a 48-yard field goal. Do you purposely lose two yards so you can potentially win by a point? It just puts a different little spin into it."

Another popular proposal that is beginning to gain some steam is if NFL goal posts should shrink from their current width of 18 ½ feet.

Vinatieri though doesn't see the need for any alterations to the current kicking conditions.

Sure, made field goals continue to rise but Vinatieri raises a good point.

"Kickers are just getting better. Back in the day, 30 or 40 years ago when football wasn't a 12-month a year, guys are just getting stronger. They are just getting more focused in on being more accurate. Guys are doing a lot more in the weight room in terms of getting stronger," Vinatieri says.

"Percentages back in the 50s and 60s if you were 70 percent you were leading the league. Now, shoot, you got guys that don't miss any or maybe miss just one or two kicks all season. I think it's just a combination of a lot more snap, hold, kick work throughout the season to kind of fine tune."

In 2013, Vinatieri had arguably the best of his 18 NFL seasons. He set a career-high with 35 made field goals and tied a personal mark with four field goals from at least 50 yards.

Free agency is upon Vinatieri but he has every intention of kicking at the highest of levels again in 2014 and if he has it his way, his target won't be changing.

"At some point they are going to shorten the uprights," Vinatieri says. "But by the time they figure that all at I'll probably be done (laughs)."

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