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‘Is Adam Vinatieri The G.O.A.T?’ How Is This A Question?
April 18, 2018 03:49 PM | Andrew Walker
INDIANAPOLIS - They say there's no such thing as a dumb question.

But NFL "football culture" site The Checkdown, well ... didn't have that great of one on Tuesday. Here's their tweet:

Writer Ralph Warner opens his piece posing the question, "If the Super Bowl is on the line and you need a 45-yard field goal to win, which placekicker would you want lining up for the kick?" And then, variably, he presents stats to back up the case for Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri and Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.

And one would probably consider it fair to ask this particular question and pick either guy; both are among the league's top kickers, and both have a track record of excellence - particularly in the clutch.

But I think somewhere in this process, the goal of this exercise was muddled.

If you're asking which kicker, among Vinatieri and Tucker, should be considered the "G.O.A.T.," or, the "greatest of all-time," the answer isn't even up for debate.

Adam Vinatieri is the G.O.A.T, and it's not even close.

And that's not to say Tucker isn't great - or that he couldn't become the G.O.A.T. down the line. But there's a lot of football to be played - perhaps another decade's worth or more -before that can happen.

Reason No. 1 is the clutch factor. Vinatieri has hit field goals to win two Super Bowl titles, during his time with the New England Patriots. In all, he has four Super Bowl rings between his time in New England and Indianapolis.

Tucker has certainly been no slouch when it comes to the playoffs, either. But he has just one ring thus far - from the Ravens' win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII -and although his 38-yard field goal with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter pushed Baltimore's lead to 34-29 (they'd win 34-31), it was not a game-winner by any means.

Reason No. 2 is simply the stats. Yes, through the first six seasons of his career Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history at 90.2 percent; and yes, Tucker has hit all 205 of his extra-point attempts in his career.

But that's through six seasons. The 2018 season for Vinatieri will be his 23rd.

By midseason, Vinatieri will have likely already broken two of the NFL's most coveted kicking records. He currently sits seven made field goals behind Morten Andersen's record of 565, while he is just 57 points shy of Andersen's all-time mark of 2,544.

Tucker has made 202 career field goals and has scored 811 points. He's at 36 percent of Vinatieri's field goal number, and 32 percent of Vinatieri's points scored mark.

And let's not forget: Vinatieri is certainly not just playing for records in 2018. He's still a solid NFL kicker, and has said he could very well play into his late 40s if he's still feeling it. So those numbers could be even more astronomical by the time he hangs it up.

So, yes, at this pace, Tucker could be sniffing Vinatieri's status as the G.O.A.T. by the time 2030 rolls around. By then, Vinatieri will be approaching 60 years old and should already be enshrined in Canton (if he's not still bombing field goals...).

But until that happens, let's just stop with the, um, not-so-great questions.

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