If Adam Vinatieri was a regular kicker The Colts would just cut him today. Vinatieiri had a nightmare start to his season: In the 19:17 victory against the Titans in Indianapolis, he awarded two extra points, a week after missing two VGs and one EP in a six-point defeat to the Chargers. That's nine points left in two games, and that's unacceptable for an NFL kicker.
But Adam Vinatieri is of course not a regular kicker. He is 46 years old and the oldest player in the league. He is the NFL top scorer ever and holds the records for most career field goals and most consecutive field goals. He is a legend, and if there was justice he would deserve the right to decide for himself when to stop. But that's the way things rarely go. Sometimes a player just wakes up and although he still wants to play, he suddenly realizes that he no longer has it. It usually happens before the age of 46, but it still happens.
And so we may have seen Vinatieri's last kick, shamefully, as a missed extra point. After week 1, the corporate line was that everyone had a bad day and the Colts were not worried about their kicker. After week 2, owner Jim Irsay changed his music :
"I know all our fans, like me, who hurt with Adam, because no one hurts more than Adam and it breaks my heart to see it because I know how hard he works. Of course it's a problem, I can not lie to you. Everyone would tell you that it is a problem. Adam, coach, Chris, everyone, me. Yes that is a problem. This league is professional football. Look, we all have to produce. The expectation is to win if you are professional. So we need to find out where we are and find out what coach and Chris think is the best direction [is] and I know Adam will be the most honest person of all. "
Vinatieri has already decided. He did not go to Sunday's game to talk to reporters, but promised to speak to them today:
That's exactly what it seems. Pro Football Talk reports that Vinatieri is considering resigning but the Colts are trying to dissuade him. I'm not sure how hard they will try, as the resignation is a more facelifting alternative to cut him, and Indy – a team with playoff hopes that already lost a game less than that. The margin of his missed kicks and he hardly wanted to win a second – can not really afford to keep going with Vinatieri unless they are sure that this is a mistake and he is as competent as ever.
It is not even clear what could be wrong with Vinatieri, although some clarity should emerge from his meeting with today's Braintrust. Could he still be injured after missing most of the preseason with a knee injury ? Or is something wrong with his big toe ? Could he be the victim of bad catches and holding ? Could he have the Yips ? Could he be … 46 years old? Some of these things are more reparable than others. But Vinatieri missed two field goals and three extra points in two weeks, a year after missing four field goals and three extra points throughout the season. Whatever happened, it happened quickly.
Ideally, Vinatieri could go anywhere, whether he can do kicks or not, like Miami and he could keep playing until he is over 60. But we're probably going to find out today that Week 3 is the first time since 1995 that the NFL has no Vinatieri left. And that would be just as amazing as watching him kicking.