INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Another season, another dash for cash for Adam Vinatieri.
A clause in the contract of the Indianapolis Colts’ placekicker rewards him with a $500,000 bonus for converting 90 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Vinatieri entered Sunday’s road game against the Buffalo Bills 22-of-23, 95.6 percent. After going 0-for-2 in absolutely horrendous conditions at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y. – mounting snow, swirling wind – he’s 22-of-25. That’s 88 percent. It certainly didn’t help that the team didn’t put him in a better position to attempt a potential game-winning 43-yarder with 6 seconds remaining in regulation.
To reach the magical 90 percent mark, Vinatieri must finish at least 5-of-5 over the final three games, which would put him at exactly 90 percent (27-of-30). His personal quest to fatten his bank account resumes Thursday night at Lucas Oil Stadium against Denver. Then comes a Dec. 23 trip to Baltimore and the regular-season finale against Houston in Lucas Oil.
Vinatieri naturally has excelled indoors since joining the Colts as a free agent in 2006. Including the playoffs, he’s 161-of-174 (92.5 percent) in the RCA Dome and Lucas Oil Stadium.
In six games in Baltimore, including two in the postseason, he’s 16-of-17. The highlight was a 5-of-5 performance during the 2006 playoffs that delivered a 15-6 win over the Ravens en route to the Colts winning Super Bowl XLI.
This marks the second consecutive season Vinatieri’s pursuit of a $500,000 bonus comes down to the final weeks. Last year, he entered the final game against Jacksonville having converted 26-of-29, 89.7 percent. He needed to convert one attempt and couldn’t afford to miss.
“My position is pressure-packed every time I step out there,’’ Vinatieri said at the time. “I won’t be thinking about (the bonus). I just hope I get a shot.’’
That shot ended when a 48-yard attempt in the second quarter glanced off the right upright. He followed with a 45-yarder, but in terms of the bonus, it was too little, too late. He finished the season 27-of-31 (87.1 percent).
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.