INDIANAPOLIS – If Adam Vinatieri completes the two-year contract he inked last week, he will be in rarefied air.
Vinatieri is already in elite groups.
Virtually any kicking/longevity stat in NFL annals includes the name: Adam Vinatieri.
Playing the next two seasons would mean Vinatieri played an NFL game at the age of 45.
Just two players in the history of the National Football League have played at an older age (Morten Andersen-47, George Blanda-48).
It's Andersen that holds the records for professional kickers.
Andersen's 565 career field goals, the most ever.
His 2,544 career points, also, the most ever.
Gary Anderson (538 field goals and 2,434 points) is No. 2 on both lists, one spot ahead of the Colts' kicker.
Vinatieri is closing though.
If Vinatieri maintains his recent pace (31 made field goals per year in the last six seasons), he would tie Andersen's career mark.
In points, Vinatieri's pace (120.5 points per season) would push him past Andersen in the 2018 season (if he's still playing).
On paper, those numbers seems astronomical (well, they are).
Yet, as the years have gone along Vinatieri has started to notice his name climbing.
"When I started 20 years ago, I never even fathomed to even be in the same conversation as those two guys," Vinatieri says. "I look up to those guys as heroes of mine. Growing up as a kid, I remember watching them when I was in junior high and high school and even getting to play against them my first handful of years in the league. It's an honor and a privilege just to be mentioned in the same sentence with those guys.
"I've never really thought of those numbers until you start getting a little bit closer. Then you start going, 'Well, if we could play a couple of more years and keep on doing this, maybe they are attainable. When you see them on paper, they are amazing numbers when you say how many field goals those two gentlemen have. In the last year or two, as I started getting closer and passing a couple of people on the all-time scoring list, moving from top 10 to No. 3, then you start going, 'Okay, who is next and how long does it take to get there?'"
After 20 NFL seasons, the length is shrinking between Vinatieri's name and the top of the all-time list.
What's more important to the future Hall of Famer is the No. 4, as in how many Super Bowl rings he dons.
Another one would tie a record for most Super Bowls in one career.
"That's the one thing," Vinatieri says of the top goal still left.
"If you are lucky enough to play in a Super Bowl and even more lucky to win that thing it becomes a very addictive feeling in the sense that it's a major thing that drives you when you go into work, go into the weight room, or go onto the field. The thought of being back on that field and hoisting that trophy, it definitely motivates me and it should motivate me and everybody that has played this game. For those of us who are fortunate enough to have won at least one, that thought of getting another is a major, major motivating factor."