Adam Vinatieri reflects on running down Herschel Walker, Snow Bowl kick

Rob Bradford
June 03, 2020 - 11:51 am
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Adam Vinatieri's greatest moment as a Patriot. There is a lot to choose from. But appearing OMF Tuesday the 47-year-old immediately made it clear what he thought should stand out.

"C’mon man, I have a higher quarterback rating than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, all these guys," Vinatieri joked. "What are you talking about? I’m one-for-one, four yards and a touchdown. That’s what I’m most proud of. Are you kidding me? One of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. What are you talking about?"

While Vinatieri's 2004 touchdown pass to Troy Brown did put the kicker in elite company when it came to quarterback rating, he went on to admit that a pair of accomplishments surpass all others, both for different reasons.

The first came in 1996 during a December game in Dallas.

After the Patriots took an early 6-0 lead on the Cowboys Herschel Walker -- the once World Record-holder for the 55-meter dash -- broke free on the subsequent kickoff. It appeared as though Walker was on his way to an easy touchdown when out of nowhere a kicker did something few saw coming.

"I tell you what, the most athletic moment is somehow catching Herschel Walker," Vinatieri said. "I don’t know how I did it. He is way faster than I am but that one day I just wasn’t going to let him get to the end zone. I just turned around and took off running. To my surprise, I just started getting a little bit closer and a little bit closer. About the 25-yard-line I guess I dove and caught him. He flipped around and threw the ball down and looked back and to his surprise, it was No. 4, slow kicker kind of thing. He was probably like, ‘How did that just happen?’ That was probably my most athletic moment."

Then there was that kick in the 2001 AFC Division Round game against the Raiders, a 45-yard field goal in a driving snowstorm that tied the game and served as the springboard to the Patriots' run of dominance.

"Most iconic kick is probably the one in the snow to tie it up in the Snow Bowl game," Vinatieri said. "Honestly, it was such a low percentage kick. If you miss it you’re cleaning out your locker and the season is over. In a weird way that kind of jumpstarted or catapulted that whole organization. That win and then we go to Pittsburgh and win that and then we win the Super Bowl and the next thing you know we win three of four and six out of the next 10 or whatever it is. It’s just amazing that small moments can change so many things in history."