INDIANAPOLIS – At age 40, Adam Vinatieri is the NFL's oldest player. At 63 points, he is the NFL's fourth-leading scorer this season.
Vinatieri has nailed 15-of-17 field goals this year and all 18 extra points, putting himself among the league's top performers and Colts among the NFL's top teams.
"The guy is just a consummate pro," said Chuck Pagano. "This whole locker room, this whole organization, everybody in the National Football League respects what he's done, what he means to the NFL, what he means to everybody as a football player, as a man."
Vinatieri is humming along at a .882 field goal percentage level on the strength of making his last 11 efforts.
The 17th-year pro has converted his last 24 attempts inside 50 yards. Two games ago, he achieved a career first and tied a franchise mark by pounding through two kicks from the 50-yard range at San Diego.
"Adam is continuing to write his legacy," said Pagano. "I'm sure we're going to be watching Adam someday giving his Hall of Fame speech."
What lies in the future is not as important as the present, and Vinatieri is showing no signs of slowing down. His current seasonal percentage ranks as the fifth-best he has achieved, and his three kicks from the 50-yard range rank behind only the four he nailed from that distance in 2012.
"Vinny's done a great job of taking care of his body," said assistant special teams coach Brant Boyer. "He knows exactly what he needs to do each week. When you have played as long as he has and has the credentials he has, what he does well is keeping on task every week. He stays mentally strong. He's done a fantastic job."
This past Sunday was classic Vinatieri. With Denver edging closer to the Colts, he pounded through a 52-yarder with 12:59 left in the game to reset a 19-point lead. It came in a tight-fisted tussle the Colts eventually won, 39-33.
The crowd was on edge as the ball sailed toward the goalpost, and Vinatieri's understated fist pump as it passed through the uprights told everyone what it needed to know about the big-game performer (click here) who now has made kicks from 50 yards and beyond in 11 different seasons.
"You learn at an early age on how to play. The older and more experienced you get, you rely on those fundamentals," said Boyer. "It becomes second nature for you.
"He's done a great job of staying focused on those. What some people tend to do is focus less on those because they've done it for so long. He still sticks to his plan and gets himself mentally and physically ready to play. With the year he's having, he's done a great job."
Vinatieri's .828 career percentage (428-of-517) ranks 20th in history. His 1,930 points rank ninth. Vinatieri has 1,158 points with New England (1996-2005) and 772 with the Colts (2006-13) and should soon move past Marvin Harrison (778) and Dean Biasucci (783) into second place in franchise scoring (995, Mike Vanderjagt).
Vinatieri already stands as one of three kickers with 700-plus points with two franchises (joining Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson), and when he reaches 100 points this year he will tie Jason Elam for the league mark with 16 such seasons.
"His leg is as strong as it ever has been," said Boyer. "He's done not only a great job of (kicking), but being a leader in the locker room. He's an invaluable asset to this team."
Vinatieri is the only kicker to play in five Super Bowls and make field goals in four of those title games. He is one Super Bowl win from tying the most ever accomplished by one player, but the NFL's all-time leading post-season scorer (196) thinks predominantly in team terms.
"I try not to think about any personal records or that sort of stuff," said Vinatieri. "I think the only records and the only goals that I have are our team ones."
Adam Vinatieri Career Statistics