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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Jun 12 - 11:55 AM | Thu Jun 13 - 11:55 AM

Ask PFW Part I: Venting about Vinatieri

Not surprisingly the free agent loss of Super Bowl winning kicker and budding New England sports icon Adam Vinatieri was the topic of most of this week’s Ask PFW emails.

How in the ---- can they let Adam Vinatieri go to the Colts???!!!??? I can understand their philosophy of deciding on the value of a player and sticking to their guns on that, but to let Adam (if I didn't make those kicks against the Raiders, the Pats may never have won a single Super Bowl .... never mind that I kicked the game winners in two of those Super Bowls) Vinatieri go is bad enough. To let him go to the Colts is INEXCUSABLE!!! I have tried to sit back and not question them this season, but this is worse than any Red Sox player signing with the Yankees (including Clemens)! I am absolutely livid right now. If the stinkin' Colts can sign their guys to ridiculous contracts while being over the cap (in a second rate market for sports), why can't the Pats put aside their philosophy for the man who is, arguably, the most responsible for this ride that we have been enjoying?!? Apparently they don't remember the days of [Scott] Missin' Sisson. Good Luck Pats. Is Brady next?!? Are we the new Florida Marlins? ..... make a good run and then have a fire sale? Welcome to the apocalypse Pats fans.

I wanna start by saying I'm a diehard Patriots fan but this is an outrage. I can understand a lot of the moves the Patriots have made in the past -- releasing or parting ways with our core players or even one of my favorites, Ty Law. But Vinatieri going to the Colts is hands down the worst move the Patriots management has ever made. Adam is a Hall of Famer, the best and most clutch kicker in the game, and our ownership lets him walk for nothing. An absolute disgrace by a currently frugal franchise. Lets just remember for a second that without him, we would still be a pathetic franchise with no Super Bowls. To close this out, I honestly think not having Adam "Ice Cold Veins" Vinatieri kicking will cost us a minimum of two games next season. Good Luck Adam, you're still my favorite and I'll be cheering you on.Shawn Frazier

Adam V. going to the Colts. I think I'm going to be sick. This is just as bad, if not worse than the Sox letting Damon go to the Evil Empire. I understand Bill has a master plan and has done well so far with finding steals in free agency, but letting the best kicker in the game go... not a smart idea. I don't wanna hear he's just a kicker. Mike Vanderjagt just a kicker, Jason Elm's just a kicker. Who knows where the Pats would be right now if it wasn't for Adam. I sure hope the Pats know what they are doing.
Dan Hartery

Could somebody explain what the Patriots are doing! Do BB and Scott Pioli know free agency has started? How come this is the only team that does not say what they are planning? Is the policy of the team when a player becomes good they let them go! Somebody should tell BB that they are not running Homeland Security but a football team, and they should inform their fans what they are doing. As a long time season ticket holder club seat owner I would like to know where my money is going. Thank you.Angelo Polito


OK. OK. So the Patriots have lost some key guys on both sides of the ball, and it's looking like the draft is going to be the best place we pick up a key player. But how can anyone doubt the successfulness of the Patriots this coming year? All anyone has to do is remember that we have TOM BRADY at the helm of this team. There are teams like Baltimore, and Tampa Bay, that have key players in the positions that the Patriots lack in, and that has been the case now for a while. But without THE key Player of the team (QB) these teams have had sub-par years, for the past 3 years. (Except for Tampa this past year, but their lack of QB shined in the playoffs.) Look, Tom Brady is by far the best quarterback in the league, just for the simple fact that he works with non-superstar players, and still produces the wins. His leadership and high level of play is the reason that his below average rookie infested line, turned out to be one of the best line in the AFC by the end of the 2005 season. His perfection of the passing game has made players like David Givens and Branch top receivers in the NFL. Do you really think Givens and Branch would have succeeded as well as they have if they had any other quarterback other then Tom Brady or Payton Manning throwing the ball to them? As for Mr. NFL (Payton Manning) it is a joke this guy beats out Tom Brady every year for MVP race. I mean this guy has been granted the most talented offense in the game and can't do anything with it other then beat meaningless records, and choke in the playoffs. If Tom Brady had this much talent at wide receiver and O-line forget 3 out of 5, it would be 5 out of 5, no question. But that's what makes Tom Brady great. No matter what he has to work with, he becomes the leader and brings the team together so that the whole team is great, no matter who is on the roster. So to sum it all up, people need to stop worrying about getting superstar players and need to realize we have the best leader and player in the game and he will rally the troops come next season no matter who or who isn't on the team, and produce another winning season at the helm of the team.Ross MacMillan

Just wondering what Brady thinks of the front office's off-season activities? I know he gets paid well, but he took a discount specifically, I recall, so the Patriots could spend money on other players that would help the team be competitive. So far, it seems this is questionable (I know - it's only March, but jeesh!). Unless he has some inside knowledge that we fans don't have, he must feel a little concerned and also a bit like "What the #?&# did I sign if they're not going to put the money they are saving on me to good use?!"*C. Hoyt*

When does the "Adam Vinatieri is a Traitor" club start and how can I join? I was all ready to accept the fact that Adam wanted to be paid when he was visiting Green Bay and it seemed like he might not come back, but to go to INDIANAPOLIS? After all that he did for the Pats, I could have accepted Adam on any other team in the NFL, even one in our own division, but this is unacceptable. I understand that the Pats made a mistake in not re-signing him, but it seems like he's just giving all of New England the finger by signing with Indianapolis. I hope he enjoys sitting on the sidelines watching the "Manning Face" in January when Peyton chokes and can't get him in field goal range. And in case Adam Vinatieri happens to be reading this: don't even think about coming back to New England when your career is over. You can stay out in the Midwest with Bill Polian. We don't want you here in the northeast.Jeff Wong

Hello guys, I really have more of a comment then question. I have read your column for a long time and have never written in before, but I just can't take it anymore. This goes out to all the "fans" who are all over SP and BB. SHUT UP!!! How many of you have Super Bowl rings? I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I understand everything they are doing but in the big scheme of things who am I. I am writing all of your names down and when the Pats have a solid season next year if one of you says anything to jump on the SP/BB band wagon, I am going to remind you what you have said in Ask PFW. My last statement is simply this, you all don't know what you don't know, and that is the problem!!!!!!
Wayne Lima

So let me get this straight. You win 3 Super Bowls and make an avg. of over $2 mill a year. You have endorsements all over New England. And for another $500,000 you jump to a team that has never won ANYTHING ...I hope Adam never kicks another important kick in his career. Thanks Tedy for showing what loyalty is all about. If 54 goes to another team I am done with the Patriots and the NFL. The Greed is getting to a sickening level.Steve Bean

Oh no, my favorite player got old and was signed elsewhere. Why on earth did they let Willie go? Boo hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo ... Let's face the facts, one look at the season last year tells you that it is definitely time to add youth to the team. That means a lot of middle tier players, oft injured players, and expensive older starters are simply expendable. Yeah, I know that feels pretty crummy for fans but we need be fans of the team not just players. Dynasty? Well I hate to be the one to break the news but unless this team retools another injury plagued year will be their downfall again. This is not quite a rebuilding year but ... when was the last time the Pats picked higher than 32? 21st may not be terrific but it sure beats the heck out of 32. This is the year where significant value can be obtained through the draft. So let's all be patient and let the draft come. I am pretty sure we will all be pleased when it is said and done. And who knows, could it lay the foundation for another 2-3 year run? FA signings you say? Like I said, value. Don't expect one any time soon unless the Pats see a special need. At the rate the other teams are poaching them, not many impact players are left. Besides, at this point the team need more than guys who are trying to hang on for one more year. Personally I'm looking forward to some new hungry faces that bring the desire to win every game.Mike Luster

I have tried to be patient and wait until the season started to pass judgment about the offseason changes, but I can wait no longer. How could the Pats let the most clutch kicker in NFL history walk out the door? Adam was a model New Englander off the field; we never heard about him getting into trouble, complaining about being franchised or that the Pats did not work out a long term deal with him. On the field he delivered game winning kick after game winning kick, including two Super Bowls and playoff victories in a blizzard (Oakland game) and in negative 10 to 20 wind chills (Tennessee game). This is a guy, if my memory serves me, that has been named the ALL-PRO kicker (the best player at his position) twice in the last four years (2002 and 2004). [Actually Vinatieri earned Pro Bowl honors for those seasons, not All Pro.] This is not a 34-year old Willie McGinest (who was a fantastic Patriot) winding down the end of his career, this is a player still at the top of his game. If the Pats feel that their depth is their biggest asset, then why horde all of their salary cap money for one or two players (read: Richard Seymour and Deion Branch) that might not even re-sign with the team? I hope the Pats know what they are doing, because it certainly doesn't appear that way.Nathaniel Donovan

PFW, Letting the legendary No. 4 go was the straw that broke this camel's back. I was already planning a vacation to Boston, but now that Mr. Kraft has completely destroyed a team I've rooted for my entire life, do you have a date and address of any bonfires taking place? I'd like to add my 10 Patriots shirts to the pile as I won't be needing them any more. Please also provide the address of any Boston-area charity that I can donate my DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket money to. I don't need that service any more, either. Disgusted and team less.Christopher Lancette

OK that's it, I was unhappy that the PATS let David Givens go. Then I was like OK Willie McGinest is getting a little bit old and maybe the Patriots just want to put some youth into that linebacker position. BUT not giving the second most recognizable player (behind Tom Brady) in New England the money he DESERVES is both disgusting and shameful. I now have lost some respect for Bill and Scott because they have really crossed the line. Adam Vinatieri has won TWO Super Bowls (I repeat, TWO SUPER BOWLS!) in the dieing seconds. What part of "Legend" and "Hall of Fame" kicker don't they get? Adam in my eyes and I'm sure in almost all of the PATS fans deserved the money he was asking for, I really don't care that it is $3 Million or whatever he was asking for, he has work hard to earn it. I really don't like how Bill and Scott have treated this clutch kicker and he will be deeply missed.Jan (Very disappointed) Yaakoob

I am a long time die-hard Patriots fan. The other week when we lost Willie and Givens I was disturbed. Today I was shocked when I heard the Pats let Vinatieri sign with the Colts. Are you kiddin' me!!! Please tell me I'm in a dream. What is going on! We may have fallen short last season from defending our championship and saving the Dynasty, but now I fear we are rapidly heading down the wrong road. Realistically with all the vacancies in our depth chart and roster needs, I don't even see us having a winning season at this point.Shawn Nicholas

No more Adam now!!! All these releases so we can sign Seymour and Branch? It will be interesting to see if BB and SP can build their own winning team now, since these guys were mostly inherited when he started in 2000. Still, very sad to see this dismantling of the Pats. Will I finally be able to get tickets this year? Would I want to see them? Keep it up Bill. ... But as long as we have Brady anything can happen. ... I know, let's trade Brady for a couple of late-round selections! I want to PUKE!Tom Soczek

Like many others, I am a die-hard Patriots fan (grew up just a few miles away from the then Schafer Stadium) who finds himself living outside of New England. I have also been frustrated with the Pats lack of activity in free agency. It is interesting to me, however, that the last time I can remember this many fans being this upset with the way the Pats organization was doing its job was when they cut Lawyer Milloy ..... seems to me that turned out to be a pretty good season. If this season turns out to be an 8-8 season, then we can look back and criticize ... until then, it seems to me that BB and Pioli have earned the right to say "Hey, trust us on this one."Phil Whitcomb

First things first, the Patriots do not have a choice they must win, win, win ... these Steelers fans are driving me crazy. (I'm a little fearful that we New England fans could become just like them, waiting 20 odd years to win again but acting like we just won the last 50 Super Bowls.) Look at the other teams in the New England area and I think you can see why everyone is worked up. When the Celtics were in the hunt year after year they were too loyal to there superstars had a huge stroke of bad luck and have been terrible ever since(McGinest =Mcale) which is much more favorable then being the Bruins who are just cheap p#&#. Haggle with Hall of Famers throw all their talent out in the trash to save a nickel and act like they're cash strapped Pitt Pirates. Please tell me the Pats are not following the Bruins blueprint of failure.Mojo Dank

I'm sorry but don't the Pats spend the salary cap limit each year? I'm getting frustrated reading how the Pats don't spend the same as other teams, and unless I am mistaken that is just wrong. They have a specific value they set on each player and they are sticking to what they do. It has worked for us in the past, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Still, at the end of each season the team is right at the salary cap, along with every other team, spending the same amount. When the Pats won the first Super Bowl they did it with a [first-year starting] QB and a bunch of no-name over-achievers. Only Pats fans knew who the players were on that team. Still, they were a great team, because everyone played together. What's to say they can't do it again? I don't blame the players for trying to get the bigger contract, and I don't blame the Pats for trying to put a TEAM together. Things will workout in the end keep the faith, In Bill we trust.......Tom

Vinatieri to the Colts?... Ugh! That feels about as good as a serious kick to the nuts. What were you guys saying about him always being a New England icon? ... That could be in jeopardy now. For those counting, here is the offseason score to date: Givens, McGinest, Vinatieri - 48 million ( /- a couple mil) Patriots Public Relations Dept – 0.Eric

Talk about the what have you done for me lately mentality. ... Does anyone remember the decades of failures and miserable 1 or 2 win seasons the patriots had before Bill Belichick? 3 Super Bowls later he turned this franchise into the best run pro sports organization in the world.. Now 1 year after we (God forbid) don't win a Super Bowl and fans are going to question his motives? What you don't understand is BB like a great chess player and thinks several moves ahead. He knows we can have a mediocre possibly even playoff team if he shows loyalty and overpays for aging players on the downside of their career. But Bill wins Super Bowls, that's what he does. He's just trying to set up this team for another run. Give the man some FAITH. I think he's earned it.Mike Chaplin

Adam kicked off our amazing run in the Raiders game. I hope us punting him out of town doesn't signify the end.
Jacob Walters

The difference in salary was a matter of $0.5 million per year. Vinatieri made the decision to show his lack of loyalty. Where would he have been without this team? Yes, his kicks helped the Patriots win Super Bowls. Who, however, led him into position to make the kicks? It was the receivers, the lineman, and of course the true "Mr. Clutch," Tom Brady. Brady showed his loyalty last year. The Patriots will find a kicker that can replace Vinatieri. Of course we don't know if a new kicker will ever be in a position to win the biggest of games. We can hope he is one day. The fact is, Vinatieri did not show loyalty to the team, to the New England fans, nor to the owners who brought him here. I'm tired of hearing the statement, "It's a business." It has always been a business. To walk away from fans who truly adored you and from a team who gave you a break perhaps shows the true character. We will be okay. We will find a kicker. We will win again.Darren Armstrong

Johnny a Yankee. Adam a Colt. I'm throwing out all my championship DVD's. It's no fun watching them anymore.Kevin C.
Lincoln, Neb.

I've been an avid Pats fan since they played in Fenway Park, so that tells you how old I am. Since Mr. Kraft bought the team I have never questioned any decision he or his staff has made, until now (not Bledsoe, Milloy, etc. etc.). I think I, along with thousands (millions?) of other Pats fans would like a real explanation...not the usual scripted (Belichick) response, of why Adam Vinatieri was allowed to leave the team. Paying a $3.5 million bonus and guaranteeing $2.5 million per year for a few years is nothing for the Patriots organization to pay a MONEY player like Adam (plus the class individual he is). I believe...and I don't think I'm alone...the Patriots would never have won ANY Super Bowls without Adam. How much was/is that worth? All I respectfully ask is...Mr. Kraft, Please explain in believable language why Adam Vinatieri is no longer a New England Patriot.Steven Plante

Wow, hell hath no furry like a Patriots fan spurned. Whether the anger is directed at Belichick, Kraft, Pioli, Vinatieri or others, Patriots Nation is filled with venom right now. Remind me to never anger the fans. Oh wait, is it too late for that? Should I have thought about that before that little Angry Andy in Ask PFW episode a few weeks back?
Anyway, Vinatieri is now a former Patriot and the team has yet another gapping hole to fill. I will admit that for the last year and a half I thought that eventually the team would give the kicker a long term deal. But it never happened and I think along the way Vinatieri became frustrated, hurt, even angry and began to more seriously look elsewhere for employment. And apparently the switch in agents was enough to get the deal done.
In the end things really seemed to work out well for Adam. He lands a good contract to kick in a dome for one of the best teams in football. He could very will be kicking championship caliber kicks this winter and helping turn Peyton Manning into the kind of winner he helped turn Tom Brady and Bill Belichick into. (I'm not saying Vinatieri made Brady or Belichick. Nor did Brady make Vinatieri. They all contributed to championships and ultimate clutch success. But it did all start with the greatest kick in NFL history in the snow against the Raiders. That was no chip shot and if that misses who knows how it changes history for the team, the players involved and all of Patriots Nation. That's part of why Vinatieri's departure stings so much.)
I personally hold no ill will toward Adam. I think he took care of himself, as he should. He's always said if he left New England he would want to kick in a dome. That will make his life easier moving forward over the mid and later part of his career. And as far as his legacy goes, what will he become if he helps the Colts over the hump and wins another Super Bowl? No one can ever take away what he's done with the Patriots and he can only build on that in Indy.
One thing I really want to clear up in this whole emotional mess is that football decisions in New England are made by Belichick and Pioli. Mr. Kraft hired those two and pays them very well to build and maintain a football team. He may sign the checks, own the team and run the overall business, but when it comes to football just about every single decision is made solely by Belichick and his staff. I really think anger aimed at Mr. Kraft is both off base and unfair.
That said, Belichick and Co. seem to have a lot of work to do right now. The roster is littered with holes (WR, LB, DB, K, RB). Belichick likes to say the team doesn't have to play any meaningful games until September, and that's a good thing right now because I'm not sure how many games the current roster would be able to win. There is a long way to go. There are still signings to be made and draft picks to be called. The team will be better come the regular season. But just expecting to bring in unproven guys to fill in for key playmakers like Givens, McGinest and Vinatieri is a lot to ask for. Too much to ask for? Only time will answer that question. But if the Patriots struggle at any point this season fans will be looking back to this seemingly dismal free agency period as a potential reason. Are the Patriots re-building on the run, turning over a roster that got too old, too injury prone and maybe even a little complacent? Right now there are more questions than answers. Sounds just about right for a Belichick team because that's the environment he's created. Winning has always soothed fans' queries and doubts in the past. Winning this fall would do so once again.
Andy Hart

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