By MICHAEL MAROT, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Sunday was just another typical day for Adam Vinatieri.
He became the seventh NFL player to score 2,000 points and then passed an NFL Hall of Famer and an old friend to move into fifth on the career list. Yes, the best clutch kicker in league history lived up to his title against Jacksonville, making all three field goals and all three extra points to lead Indianapolis past Jacksonville 30-10. Vinatieri finished the season with 2,006 points.
"Before the season I saw that 2,000 points lingering out there, but I didn't really think about it or look at it too much until right here at the end," he said. "That's a selfish goal, obviously, to get to 2,000, but it's a neat thing. There haven't been a lot of guys to do it."
Vinatieri can now consider himself one of the lucky ones.
He joined the club with a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, then passed George Blanda (2,002 points) with an extra point in the third quarter. He passed Stover, who replaced the injured Vinatieri during Indy's 2009 AFC championship run, with 39-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. Stover finished his career with 2,004 points.
And at age 41, the soon-to-be free agent who most of this season as the oldest player in the league has shown no indication of slowing down.
With three more field goals Sunday, Vinatieri extended his career high from 32 to 35. His percentage of made field goals (87.5) was the fifth-best of his 18-year career and he finished 2013 with 139 points, the second most of his career.
Yes, Vinatieri would like to come back to the Colts and from the sound of it, they'd like to have him back.
"That guy is a warrior. He had a birthday this week. I won't tell you how old he turned. He won't tell you, but I know he's the ageless wonder," coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's just a tremendous, tremendous player. Just a great human being and a great teammate."
Vinatieri made it look easy.
After his milestone field goal at the end of the first half, he traded fist bumps with several players and hugged long snapper Matt Overton. He didn't flinch again until the fourth quarter when the big board notified fans that Vinatieri had passed Stover for No. 5. While the crowd roared, Vinatieri simply tipped his baseball cap to the crowd.
Perhaps there's a reason for his subdued celebration: He's been here before.
Vinatieri is the only kicker in league history to win four Super Bowl rings, to play in five Super Bowls and be part of six conference championships and he'll get another shot starting next week when the AFC South champs open the playoffs at home. His 16 100-point seasons are tied for the most in league history with Jason Elam, and Vinatieri and Morten Andersen also are the only NFL players to top 800 points with two teams.
But for Vinatieri, this was just one piece to a much bigger puzzle.
"We're building confidence, and guys have a lot of trust in each other knowing that guys are going to make plays," Vinatieri said. "That's kind of what you want to do when you are going into the playoffs. You want to be climbing. You want to be on all cylinders, and I feel like that's what we are doing right now."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.