Field goal for Colts’ Adam Vinatieri worth $500,000 as teammates chase milestones vs. Jaguars
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For those of you who haven’t taken time to watch Moneyball, the Indianapolis Colts offer a remake Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Instead of Brad Pitt in a starring role, we give you Adam Vinatieri.
The NFL’s oldest active player – Vinatieri turned 44 Wednesday – wants more than anything for the Colts to take care of business, whip the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season finale and walk into an uncertain offseason with an 8-8 record.
“Hopefully we kick five extra points and I can sneak a field goal in there,’’ he said.
Just one field goal. One that splits the uprights.
“Yeah, I need one more,’’ said Vinatieri, one of several Colts with personal agenda’s against the Jaguars.
The two-year, $6 million Vinatieri signed in March includes a $500,000 incentive for converting 90 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Heading into Sunday, he’s 26-of-29.
“I’m at 89-and-change,’’ he said with a smile.
To be accurate, he’s at 89.655172 percent. Rounded up, it’s 90 percent.
“But it’s not 90,’’ he emphasized. “I need another.’’
If Vinatieri is able to knock down one attempt – 27-of-30 – the percentage creeps to 90 percent. On the nose.
There is no margin for error. One miss and 90 percent is unobtainable no matter how many he’s able to convert.
Vinatieri shrugged off the notion the pressure will be on if he’s given the opportunity to attempt what amounts to a $500,000 field goal.
“There’s pressure every time we step out on the field,’’ he said. “For me, I always feel like the kicks in the first quarter can make a difference in the outcome of the game.
“My position is pressure-packed every time I step out there. I won’t be thinking about (the bonus). I just hope I get a shot, whatever (distance) it is.’’
Vinatieri’s pursuit of 500-large isn’t the only bit of unfinished business on an individual level. Also chasing meaningful numbers are:
Frank Gore: His string of four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons ended 12 months ago, 33 yards shy. He needs 37 against the Jaguars to join Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders as the only players in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards nine times.
If Gore breaches the 1,000-yard mark, he’ll be the first Colt to do so since Joseph Addai in 2007. The team’s eight-year dry spell is the league’s longest active drought.
“Playing the running back position, that’s the goal, to reach 1,000 and just get more. That’s even better,’’ Gore said. “Especially being when I came in here they didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher since 2007 and (being) right there why not try to get it.’’
The historical aspect of getting there can’t be overstated. Gore, 33, would be the first player 33 or older to rush for 1,000 since John Riggins in 1984. Riggins, 35 at the time, rushed for 1,239 yards.
“I’ve been blessed,’’ Gore said. “The Man up above has been on my side and I still love the game.’’
In Saturday’s loss at Oakland, Gore became the first player in NFL history to amass at least 1,200 total yards from scrimmage in 11 consecutive seasons.
T.Y. Hilton: Having already secured a third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, Hilton enters week 17 with a league-best and personal-best 1,353 yards. He would become the first Colt since Reggie Wayne in 2007 and just the fifth to lead the NFL in receiving yards. The others: Marvin Harrison (2002, ’99), Roger Carr (1976) and Raymond Berry (1957, ’59, ’60).
Like Gore and Vinatieri, Hilton will have to earn his personal milestone. He enters Sunday with several players on his heels. Within striking distance are the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. (1,323), Atlanta’s Julio Jones (1,313), Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (1,284) and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (1,256).
Andrew Luck smiled when asked about Gore and Hilton being in position for personal achievements. After all, everything starts with the QB.
“I wasn’t aware of it until you told me now, so appreciate you adding that to my plate this week,’’ he joked. “No, the things take care of themselves. I’ve always believed in that department.
“Both of those guys are certainly having great years. It’s been fun to play with them and hopefully we can do whatever is necessary, one to win, and get whatever it is those guys need for whatever record or standing it is.’’
Coordinator Rob Chudzinski agreed.
Individual achievements, he said, are “nice things if they happen. But our No. 1 goal is to win the game. It always is.
“The personal things and the personal accolades are nice things, but . . . winning the game. Knowing Frank and T.Y. like I know ‘em, I’m sure they’d say the exact same thing. It’s all about winning the game and doing whatever we need to do to win the game first.’’