Adam Vinatieri isn’t going broke anytime soon. Since first entering the NFL some 20-odd years ago, the surefire Hall of Fame candidate has racked up more than $40 million. This year alone, he will rake in about $3 million for kicking extra points and field goals for the Colts. But despite the fortune he’s accumulated, the fact that he's on the verge of missing out on the chance to bring home an extra $500,000 in bonus money this year for the second straight season still has to hurt.
Vinatieri has a clause in his contract that calls for him to earn an extra $500,000 each season if he makes more than 90 percent of his kicks throughout the course of the year. It’s a clause that he just missed reaching last season when he doinked a field goal off the upright during the Colts’ final game of the year—and it’s a clause that might come back to bite him again this season after what took place on Sunday afternoon.
Vinatieri and the Colts played the Bills in Buffalo in Week 14 in a game that was played in the middle of a blizzard. With heavy snow falling throughout the game, neither team was able to do much on offense, and the Bills eventually won 13-7 in overtime. But the snow didn’t stop Indianapolis from sending Vinatieri out onto the field on two separate occasions during the game to attempt field goals. He went 0-for-2 on those field goal attempts and missed one of them badly.
It’s hard to blame Vinatieri for missing the kicks. There was, after all, a blizzard taking place. But the misses could end up costing him dearly. Heading into the game, Vinatieri had made 22 of 23 kicks during the season, which means he had made more than 95 percent of his kick attempts. But after the game, he dropped down to just 88 percent, so if the season ended today, he would be out of the running for his bonus money.
The good news is that Vinatieri is going to have time to work his way back up to 90 percent—but it isn’t going to be easy. During the Colts’ final three games of the season, Vinatieri will need to make at least five field goals in a row without missing to bring him back over 90 percent, and if he misses one more, it’ll be just about impossible for him to make up for it.
Fortunately, Vinatieri probably doesn’t need the money. But still, missing out on $500K for a second consecutive season has to suck, and we wouldn’t be surprised if another Snickers commercial was in Vinatieri’s future.