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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Mon Dec 04 - 05:00 PM | Tue Dec 05 - 11:55 AM

Adam Vinatieri Post-Game Press Conf. - 12/29/2002

Vinatieri: Guys stepped up big at the end. It was looking a little hairy for a while, but the guys did a good job and fought hard.



Q. I've got to say this. You have done it time and time again. Clutch, this is old hat to you, right?

AV: I don't know about that. Every time it seems like it is a new challenge and a new set of circumstances and stuff. But it is nice just to have the opportunity to be put in that situation. And guys stepped up big at the end. It was looking a little hairy for a while, but the guys did a good job and fought hard. And you know, that is why we are hoping right now that Green Bay wins.

Q. Did you think your overtime kick was good as soon as you hit it?

AV: You know, I hit it all right. I pushed to the right a little bit. I was trying to play a little bit right to left because the wind was blowing to the right a little bit, but not quite that far. And it started off pretty much right at the post and then it finally tailed right there a little bit toward the end. So thank goodness.

Q. You know, did this team ever think that they were out of it towards the end?

AV: This team has got a lot of fight, a heck of a lot of fight. That is the great thing about this team, you know, we have done it so many times before in past years, whatever whatever. Guys knew what they had to do to make plays and to step up and do a good job. And that is what happened today. The guys made a play when we needed to. We didn't win by a bunch, but a W is a W.

Q. Adam, not to look at your kickoffs and also towards the end, Olindo Mare, would you back people up, that kick, it gave you guys great field position.

AV: Yes, you know, it is a tough situation. I know what he was thinking at that point. I am sure he was saying I want to hit this ball pretty well, pin them back, and I am sure he is feeling pretty bad right now. But he is a great kicker, great kickoffs, great field goal. You know, I can't say enough about him. I think he is a great guy.

Q. Are you beyond the point of being surprised of what this team can do, are you well beyond that right now?

AV: You know, I shouldn't say nothing surprises me but I always know, as long as there is time left on the clock, the fellows can step up and do some things. You look back to the Chicago game, being down even more than this one and making some plays and coming back and doing the job that they needed to. So you know, it was kind of fun. It is a fun team because although we may be causing lots of gray hair out there, myself included, but, you know, it is a heck of a lot of fun.

Q. You guys were booed in the first quarter. You were booed. Could you hear the boos coming from the crowd?

AV: Well, you know, yes, we weren't playing very well. You know, the fans were showing us their displeasure, you know, that they were displeased with the situation at hand. And you know, we weren't real pleased with it either. You know, at a time I think they were up 21 to seven or whatever the score was, and we needed to play better. And we've got great fans though. No complaints. They are always there for us and they do a great job.

Q. Adam, how do you control the adrenaline, how do you control the butterflies when you get into situations like this?

AV: You know what, you just try not to think about all the other stuff. I just have got the utmost confidence in Lonnie Paxton, Ken Walter, and the guys up front. I know they are going to do a great job for me and the ball is going to be right there. At that point you just have to focus in on what you can take care of and not worry about what you can't.

Q. Adam, you kick off at the end of the second half inside two minutes, did Miami seem a little confused on what you were going to do, and the guy sort of let it sail over, I mean were they looking for an on-side kick or –

AV: I know it is a situation with two and a half minutes left and I believe we had one or maybe two timeouts. It is kind of one of those situations we could kick it deep, we could try to on side it. And when we overloaded our guys on the right side, they had to honor that. You know, you don't want to have two or three guys on the defense sitting there when we've got eight or nine guys there. So they kind of slid up and, fortunately, for us we hit a good ball and it kind of kicked back and made a tough judgment call for them and it helped us out.

Q. Can you kind of compare this to the Oakland playoff game last year, did you draw from that at all?

AV: You know, every time it seems like this is a little bit different situation. I guess this game, we had just as much pressure as that. You know, that was a playoff game and this basically for us was a playoff game also. You don't make it, you know, we don't win the game, we are definitely out and now we need a little bit of help. But definitely, if you don't hit that one, you are going home early.

Q. How nerve wracking are the next couple of hours now that you have to wait?

AV: You know what, I have never been a Packer fan but I am today. I will tell you that for sure. We'll have to be sitting there watching, I think the Jets are up seven to zero right now. And I am hoping we get an opportunity to play next weekend.

Q. Did you grow up a Minnesota fan?

AV: Not really. Believe it or not, I was a Miami Dolphin fan. I was a quarterback, I loved Dan Marino so he was "the man" when I was growing up.

Q. That bounce, was that a lucky bounce?

AV: You cannot predict a bounce on a ball like that on a kickoff. Sometimes it will hit and roll ten yards forward. Sometimes it will stop right there. That one was lucky enough to check back. So you know, it is not a round ball. You can't really plan on that. I didn't try to do that. It was just fortunate for us that it did.

Q. Adam, on the field goal that tied the game, it seemed like it knuckled a little. Did you have a footing problem or –

AV: Yes. The ground out there is horrendous right now. It really is. The field is real chewed up in the middle and I think my plant foot didn't slide too much, but I know I did chunk the ground right in front of the ball. So unfortunately, I didn't get the trajectory that I was hoping to, but it went straight.

Q. Were you worried about it having enough –

AV: Once it cleared the line, I knew it was going to have enough distance. It was just a matter of getting it high enough.

Q. How about going the other way, was it consistently bad up and down the field?

AV: The wind was kind of a little bit from our bench to their bench and, for the most part, from the north to the south. Each time it was a little different. Sometimes it gusted up and you are really thinking you have to play a lot more; and other times you would really kick the ball and you wouldn't move it too much.

Q. Was this the Oakland game without the falling snow and the controversial call? I mean it seems like, again, hold yourself off the mat kind of late –

AV: Well, you know, it was a situation that was a must-win situation like that game. There are some similarities to it. Obviously, this wasn't the playoffs yet. It was a must-win game and the guys stepped up and made some plays.

Q. Are you going to watch the Jets?

AV: Definitely, definitely. Absolutely.

Q. Is the team going to be together?

AV: I would be willing to bet most of the players will be watching it out in our player tent right now and cheering for Green Bay.

Q. Will anybody be handing out cheese heads?

AV: I don't think they will go that far. But I am sure they will be cheering for them. Thank you.

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