Bill Belichick On Adam Vinatieri: "Waiting For Him To Miss, You'll Be Waiting All Day"

Intro: Adam Vinatieri will experience his 27th Colts/Patriots contest on Sunday night. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has won three Super Bowls with Vinatieri and holds the future Hall of Famer in extremely high regard.

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INDIANAPOLIS – No player has experienced the Colts/Patriots rivalry longer then Adam Vinatieri.

Bill Belichick was an assistant when the Patriots signed Vinatieri in 1996 and then coached the future Hall of Famer kicker again upon being named head coach in 2000.

"The guy is as good of a clutch kicker and consistent kicker as probably there has ever been in the game," Belichick says of the 19-year kicker.

Earlier this week, Belichick expanded on his thoughts about Vinatieri with the New England media.

Patriots Head Coach Bill BelichickAdam Vinatieri is still perfect on the season. Is it crazy to still see him doing it at such a high level?

"Yeah, he's really kicking the ball great. The ball goes perfectly straight. It doesn't move. It just [goes]. Every kick is right on the money. You have to try to block it. Waiting for him to miss, you'll be waiting all day. You have to see if you can somehow affect the kick. Yeah, he's kicked the ball great, no question."

In his first year in '96, do you remember any of your early interactions with him?

"Yeah, sure. Yeah, absolutely. There were a lot of us [who came in] that year. That was [Tedy] Bruschi and [Terry] Glenn, that whole draft. Then there were a few free agents that year too: [Tom] Tupa and Vinatieri. Yeah, no, I had a lot of interaction with those guys."

Do you remember working him out?

"No, but on the field, you know, we practiced. I have a good relationship with Tom Tupa, obviously you know, a good relationship with Adam. It was good. It was a good group. Really it was good. Worked after practice with those guys, with [Special Teams Coach Mike] Sweatman, and Troy [Brown] returning punts and so forth. I got to work with those guys some because others of us would help Mike out with the kicking game, scout teams or doing returner or whatever the phases was. [Wide Receivers Coach] Charlie [Weis] and I, [Defensive Assistant/Linebackers Coach] Dante [Scarnecchia] of course. I think we had like five special teams coaches on that staff: [Defensive Line Coach] Romeo [Crennel], myself, Dante, Mike, there might have been another one on offense; [Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach] Al [Groh]. We were all involved in the kicking game. It was definitely, Adam was really a mature, he played in Europe but a really mature kid at that point. Obviously kicked in a lot of bad weather out at South Dakota, so that didn't really phase him."

A cool look at images of Adam Vinatieri over the last couple of years.

There was a game early on where he had multiple misses. Do you remember that game at all?

"He wasn't the kicker then that he is now."

Was there any sense of panic or did you like his mental makeup as a young player?

"No, I think he had a great, great mental makeup. Like I said, I've been really lucky here with Steve [Gostkowski] and Adam, but as good a mental makeup as any kicker I've been around relative to Cleveland, Baltimore, Jim Turner in Denver, Errol Mann in Detroit, [Matt] Bahr had a good makeup. I wouldn't say there's been a lot of bad ones, but his is great. Like Steve, he worked out with all the players, did the offseason program, didn't have his own kicking program. He did what the other players did in terms of running, lifting. He had a good, interactive personality. Tupa was good too, at that same time. I don't know how much Tupa influenced that, whether he kind of fed off of Tom a little bit. But Tom was a quarterback and same type of, similar."

Involved.

"Yeah, yeah, involved in everything. Not just off to the side kicking, but they were involved in a lot of other things. On defense, we used Adam and Tom, because again [they're] both pretty athletic guys, as scout team-type guys in practice and stuff like that. It wasn't, there are some kickers you wouldn't do that with, those guys were just, they gave you a good look."

Adam turns 42 in late December. With your experience and seeing the way he's kicking and where he's kicking, what do you think is the end game for him in terms of how long he can go if he wants to?

"Right now, I don't think anybody is kicking better than he is. There are a lot of guys kicking good, but I don't think anybody is kicking any better. He's in a great, great situation as far as not having to deal with the kickoffs. But as far putting the ball down the middle between the uprights, he's tremendous. The way he's kicking now, I don't see where the end in sight is. Distance isn't a problem, accuracy's not a problem. He gets good lift on the ball, not exceptional, but good. He's kicking in a good environment. He's drilling them. He looks great."

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