August 03, 2008
There will be two placekickers on the field in Sunday night's NFL exhibition opener in Canton, Ohio, between the Colts and Redskins, which is one more than can be found in the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jan Stenerud stands alone in the Hall, and it doesn't look as if that will change in the near future. Should there be more?
Adam Vinatieri, the former New England Patriot and four-time Super Bowl champion who one day could find himself subject of a passionate Hall of Fame debate, is obviously biased.
"I understand that the kicker and punter position is undervalued to other positions," he said, "but for me, any person who is good at their job and accumulates a lot of years and good statistics, those people are in their Halls of Fame in other sports, like basketball and baseball. I look at gentlemen like Gary Anderson and Morten Andersen, who have 20 years on the job and played into their 40s. They performed at a high level for a long period of time, staving off rookies and other guys coming in. You accumulate that many points and it sort of speaks for itself, because if you're not good, they're not going to keep you around. You can see a million reasons why they should be [in] and one or two why they're not, and that's because they're kickers or punters."
The kickers-in-the-Hall debate is topical this weekend, as Vinatieri — arguably the most clutch kicker in the history of the game and whose "Snow Bowl" kick against the Raiders might be the greatest field goal ever — is one of the big-name players in Sunday night's game.
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