NFL kicker and South Dakota native, Adam Vinatieri has made some of the most memorable kicks in NFL history and in some of the biggest games.
That’s why ESPN has named him the GOAT Kicker, an acronym for the greatest of all time.
Vinatieri or Mr. Clutch is noted for his kicking accuracy and success under pressure, including the game-tying and winning kicks in blizzard conditions in the infamous “Tuck Rule Game.”
“You know from South Dakota, we expect him to be able to do something like that, but there was so much leading up to that game to get it into overtime and kick that game winning field goal, it was not a gimme at all and that was really awesome,” Adam’s younger sister Christine Erickson said.
Adam’s younger sister Christine Erickson says it’s memorable moments like that as to why ESPN named him the greatest of all time at his position.
“You know after he’s done it this long you, you think you kind of get used to it but when an article like that comes out that’s so positive and talks about really his long list of accomplishments. It’s just kind of gives you the chills again and just really can’t believe that this is, this is my brother, then this is what he’s accomplished, he’s made so many kicks,” Erickson said.
Kim Nelson coached Vinatieri back in high school in Rapid City.
“I’m really proud of him and I’m proud that he’s from South Dakota and that he played on a team that I was coaching, but I can’t take any credit for what he’s doing. I don’t know anything about kicking, but fortunately he does,” Nelson said.
Last year, Vinatieri broke the NFL record, among all players, for most points ever scored (2,600).
“To be able to play with this many great players and to just have the opportunity to step on the field for 23 years, because I never thought I’d play that long and be standing here talking about all-time records,” Vinatieri said in a post-game interview.
So many memorable game winning kicks, but the one play that still stands out to a lot of people is the night he ran down one of the fastest running backs in the league, Herschel Walker.
“If you watch that video, you’ll see Herschel turn and look and Adams essentially standing over this gigantic man, and Herschel looks up at him and Adam, I asked I said ‘What did you say to him’ and he still shares a story over and over, ‘That’s right. The kicker just tackled you,” Erickson said.