Adam Vinatieri is known for hitting game-winning field goals. The New England Patriots wouldn’t have won three of their Super Bowls without him coming through in the clutch in all three title games. Yet Vinatieri was once almost cut by head coach Bill Parcells in his rookie season.
In fact, as related by New York radio host Mike Francesca on Tuesday, Vinatieri was one kick away from getting the ax after missing four in a row early that season.
“I’ve had it with that kicker,” Parcells said, according to Francessa (h/t Pro Football Talk). “If he had missed it I would have cut him. And I told him, ‘You better make this kick’ before I sent him out there. And he made the kick, and he gained confidence little by little, and look who he became.”
Vinatieri, of course, went on to become one of the NFL’s all-time great kickers, a playoff legend, and he’s still going strong at the age of 43 with the Indianapolis Colts. He is third all time in scoring behind Morten and Gary Anderson and is second all time in fourth-quarter/overtime game-winning field goals during regular-season play.
One has to wonder what might have happened if Parcells hadn’t waited that one extra kick before yanking his rookie kicker out of the lineup. Perhaps the legendary careers of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would have hit too many early snags to catch on.
This wouldn’t have happened, that’s for sure.