That was a question posed this week on Reddit, and I couldn’t help but share my opinion in this spot. That’s because I continue to be very conflicted when it comes to allowing pure special-teamers into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
So few spots are available on an annual basis and it feels as though logjams are becoming deeper at an extreme rate. Placekickers are on the field so rarely that it feels wrong giving Hall of Fame spots to them, especially in an era in which kicks have basically become automatic.
But on the other hand, the Hall of Fame should be viewed as a place in which the story of the history of the game can be told. It’s impossible to tell that story without honoring Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots of the 2000s, but what about Adam Vinatieri?
Not only did Vinatieri’s foot officially kickstart a dynasty when he nailed a 48-yard, walk-off Super Bowl winner against the St. Louis Rams in 2001, but he went on to win three more Super Bowls with two of the best teams from that decade.
He’s only a two-time All-Pro, but the guy has made an NFL-record 51 postseason kicks, many of which have been unforgettable. Consider that the Pats won their three Super Bowls by only three points each, and in those games Vinatieri was a combined 8-for-8. Throw in a 2-for-2 performance for the Colts in 2006 and he was perfect on 10 Super Bowl attempts.
It won’t be easy to deny that, but it could happen. Regardless, Vinatieri will have to wait, and probably longer than the only other pure kicker in the Hall, Jan Stenerud, had to when he was only pushed back one year in 1991. A lot of position players will get nods in the meantime, and 14 kickers have higher career regular-season success rates than he does.