Adam Vinatieri becomes first active player named to NFL all-time team

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As the NFL has unveiled its all-time team in celebration of the league’s 100th season, there’s been some criticism that more recent players were overlooked in favor of players from the 1960s and 1970s. But when the all-time kickers were revealed, an active player finally made the list.

Adam Vinatieri was named one of the kickers on the all-time team, the first time an active player has made it. Bill Belichick, who coached Vinatieri on the Patriots, said on NFL Network’s show about the all-time team that he considers Vinatier’s 45-yard field goal to force overtime in the “Tuck Rule Game” in January of 2002 to be the best kick in NFL history.

“Personally, with Adam, I just can’t say enough about that kid,” Belichick said. “The kick he made against Oakland in four inches of snow was the greatest kick I’ve ever seen.”

With Vinatieri leading the way, the all-time team’s special teams selections had more of a modern flair, also including punter Shane Lechler (retired 2017) and kick returner Devin Hester (retired 2016).

Still, the all-time team has been skewed toward the era just after the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, which many of the selectors may view as pro football’s glory days. There are 25 players on the all-time team who were active during the 1970s, compared to just 14 who were active in the 2000s and five who were active in the 2010s.

35 responses to “Adam Vinatieri becomes first active player named to NFL all-time team

  1. There is an active player who deserves to be on the NFL all-time team, he kicks for the Ravens

  2. Congrats to this guy. Man, I think he kicked in the Packers’ Super Bowl win against the Patriots in ’97. Been around since God was a boy and the numbers speak for themselves.

  3. Should be on IR soon.
    Then on to retirement.
    Only question is will he announce his retirement as a Colt or will he let his current contract run out, then sign a one day contract to retire as a Patriot?

    Either way, it’s time to go.

  4. This list is shaping up to be a joke. I’m not a Bears or Ravens fan but only ONE player is on the list from the two greatest defensive teams ever? And I get Vinareiri’s longevity and him delivering on a few iconic moments. But Mortenson seems equally great and active Justin Tucker is widely being discussed as a best ever candidate. The running backs list seems too long and how can OJ be on that list? The guy needs to be expunged from history.

  5. Its been explained that the selection process started happening 2 years ago….it wasn’t yesterday, folks. Its tough to map out how “active” players career arcs will go if they’ve only played a handful of years. A top 100 chosen 25 years from now might very well have some of today’s players on that list.

  6. With each kick Vinatieri is moving down the all-time list. He’s made 83% of his kicks. That’s worse than “the liquored up kicker” Mike Vanderjagt!

    The thing that Vinatieri has is longevity and he made a couple of kicks in super bowls that 85% of the kickers in the league would have made.

    For my money the best kicker ever is playing right now and it isn’t Vinatieri. It’s Justin Tucker.

  7. Considering the coddled players of today comparatively play flag football, I’m glad that this list isn’t seemingly selected by a panel of 12 year olds and actually have a respect and sense of history.

  8. I love Derrick Thomas. A Junior LT. A WAY better citizen. But he won’t be on the team. I do believe LT had a better supporting cast (Carson/Banks etc). A lot better but he is still the benchmark.

    Sort of the reason I don’t think Lambert will be on the team. Andy Russel and Jack Ham were also all pros. Not to mention the DB’s and DLine on that Steelers team.

    Hard to quantify considering the supporting cast. Kind of gives DT a chance. He and Kenny Easley were unreal and so many people don’t know. At least the Hall got Easley right. Took them too long to get it right, same with DT. Sterling Sharpe is now the best ‘cut short’ player, not in the Hall.

  9. amaf21 says:

    Kid? The “kid” is 46 years old. Show some respect Bill.


    To a man Belichick’s age, Vinatieri is a kid.

  10. Viniatieri was excellent, but now he’s costing GB Indy wins. That’s indisputable.

    And these Pat’s fans who reflexively thumb down comments about Tucker being better should stop and read BB’s own recent statement that Tucker is the best ever.

  11. Justin Tucker hasn’t been around long enough. What’s his signature kick so far? Maybe the game winner in OT at Denver his rookie year? What else?

    Sorry, no comparison to Adam V’s signature moments.

  12. danielsong39 says:
    December 7, 2019 at 6:32 am
    There is an active player who deserves to be on the NFL all-time team, he kicks for the Ravens

    7yr Career does not get you put on all time team. definetly all decade. Conversley Vinatieri has been doing it for 23 yrs. when Tucker triples his current stats I will put him all time.

  13. gpclaw says:
    December 7, 2019 at 12:02 pm
    Should have been Justin Tucker


    So how exactly do you rationalize this?

    Adam has played 24 seasons made 599 field goals, played in 5 SBs and helped win 4 of them.

    Tucker has played in 8 seasons and made 259 field goals and played in 1 SB

    How are these two remotely comparable?

  14. He’s the first Active player on the list because I assume they haven’t got to QB yet…

    Adam should have stayed in NE. He’d have 8 Rings by now. Maybe 9, working on 10.

  15. Belichick said Tucker will be the best ever but Vinatieri has the history. He kicked game winners in the worst weather and in domes but he always made the kicks at critical times. He was clutch. He also was a football player, not just a kicker. He ran down Herschel Walker and made a saving tackle.

  16. Did you guys see Lawrence Taylor busting on Ray Lewis. During the episode of the NFL 100,Lewis kept talking about his grandfather having him watch the great players, speaking as if it was sacred. Awhile later, after he and Belichick told an amusing anecdote about LT intimidating opposing linemen and QBs, Lewis got serious, asking a question like: “you know who I thought was really special”? LT interrupts and says: “your grandfather”?

    Collinsworth almost wet himself laughing. LT appreciates the accolades but he keeps it real. Lewis makes it out to be too sactred.


  17. I took issue with the DB’s selected. Revis At CB should have been on there. Was way easier to play DB pre 1978. A lot more contact and holding was allowed downfield. QB’s chucking it downfield to a safety waiting for it like a punt. Troy Polamalu should have made it too. A little to much credit being given to 60’s & 70’s guys. You put those guys in slow motion to NFL films music and of course they look amazing.

  18. Adam’s Super Bowl winning kicks also won postseason games that got his team’s into the Super Bowl. The 45 yarder in the snow to force overtime (and again in overtime) come to mind. In the regular season he won games against the Chargers, Bills, and Jets.

    Next year he had to win the divisional round game versus Tennessee by kicking a rock hard ball in 4 degree cold.

  19. Pats fans are funny. Justin Tucker hasn’t been around long enough. Yet they put Rob Gronkowski as the best tight end ever over Gates, Gonzales and Witten. Lol. Make up your minds.

  20. Gronkowski was around long enough, and played a demanding, pounding position that has a shorter life span. He was 100% effort. He’d probably make the hall just in his world-class ability to block. The most complete TE you’ve ever seen—could not be covered or game planned and was instrumental to multiple Patriots championships. The Pats win that 2011 Super Bowl with a healthy Gronk out there.

    Tucker will be regarded as one of, if not the best ever but let’s let him produce at that level for another 10 years or so. That’s the benchmark for kickers. Excellence, longevity, and memorable clutch moments.

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