Colts Field Goal Operation Executing Flawlessly In 2014

Intro: Through the first 11 games of 2014, Adam Vinatieri and the Colts field goal unit is a perfect 25-of-25. What all goes into the Colts perfect field goal operation?

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INDIANAPOLIS – The operation looks seamless, almost to the point where it can easily be taken for granted.

Snap. Hold. Kick.

Three points.

No field-goal unit in the NFL has done it as flawlessly in 2014 as the Indianapolis Colts.

From Matt Overton's snap to Pat McAfee's hold and finally, the right leg of Adam Vinatieri, the Colts have yet to miss a field goal in 2014.

Each week, in front of thousands of fans, that trio executes a process that begins with the preparation on the Colts practice fields in front of just a handful of spectators.

With winter weather arriving a bit early to the Indianapolis area this year, Colts practice has been indoors for nearly the entire month of November.

However, when a horn blows early during practice to signify the team portion of practice beginning, Overton, McAfee and Vinatieri head out into the elements.

Joined by some equipment staff and their special teams coaches, the trio enter chilly, blustery conditions to prepare themselves for anything they might encounter on a future Sunday afternoon/evening.

On-the-field work from Wednesday through Friday leads into Sunday morning, when pre-game serves as a practice round of sorts.

It's a feeling-out process to see which direction the wind is coming from, how that is affecting kicks and ultimately what the limit is on field goal length for the day.

The specialists emerge from the tunnel a few minutes before their teammates for one final warmup before kickoff.

Once the game commences, Vinatieri heads to the kicking net at the start of most offensive possessions to begin his regimen, depending on where the team has the ball.

As the Colts move into opponent's territory, Vinatieri's routine has him stop his net-kicking on third down. A final swig of water is downed before he heads onto the field.

Overton became the Colts starting long snapper back in 2012, when he beat out veteran Justin Snow.

The journeyman isn't afraid to mix it up down on punt coverage but when it comes to field goals, his sole focus is giving McAfee a ball that is easy to handle with the laces out.

For Overton, it doesn't matter whether the kick is 20 yards or 50 yards. His eight-yard snap doesn't change.

McAfee makes the calls, but when he first did it as a rookie back in 2009, the Colts punter had zero holding experience.

That year, Vinatieri tossed McAfee approximately 1,000 balls a day to try and get the rookie acclimated to life as an NFL holder.

Ken Walter, Vinatieri's holder with the Patriots, also worked with McAfee.

The now Pro Bowl-type punter admits that he was more nervous to hold than punt in his NFL debut, especially when you're holding the ball for a future Hall of Famer.

McAfee considers himself Vinatieri's "caddy," with the two calmly chatting about how they would like to approach the field goal before fourth down.

If a kick needs to be shaped a certain way, McAfee can adjust that with how he places his body or leans the football.

The final piece to the Colts field-goal operation is the right leg of Vinatieri. For a typical road game in unpredictable weather, Vinatieri packs a few extra pairs of cleats with varying spikes and lengths.

In 19 years, Vinatieri has connected on more than 460 field goals and recently set an NFL record with 17 seasons of at least 100 points scored.

Vinatieri focuses on the hands of McAfee when he steps into a kick. His peripheral vision lets him know when the ball is snapped and the rest is just feel.

At the age of 41, Vinatieri's technique has been ingrained into his right leg.

Overanalyzing things is long gone by the time Vinatieri steps on the field.

This season, Vinatieri's right leg has swung back and through 25 times and every single time it has resulted in three points.

A couple of weeks ago, Head Coach Chuck Pagano left Lucas Oil Stadium in the early hours of Monday morning after the Colts loss to the Patriots.

The sting of that defeat was still palpable but Pagano wanted to make a call to his kicker, who had just set another NFL record.

"At 41 years old, to be kicking the ball the way that he's kicking it right now, straight through the uprights every time, Mr. Automatic, whatever you want to call him," Pagano said.

"If this doesn't make him a first ballot Hall of Famer, nothing will."

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

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