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(Rant alert! Rant alert!) I think this is a sign that the Patriots staffing personell are buying into their own mystique. Not good. There are two players on the team that were cornerstones of the Superbowl campaigns and are irreplaceable: Brady and Vinatieri. Yes, irreplaceable. "Automatic Adam" is the the definition of a "clutch" player at a position that benefits the most from players able to step it up from their usual levels for certain occasions. He is the best bad-weather kicker in the history of the game, and there is no better fit, past or present, for the notoriously changeable New England climate and post-season cold. He is absolutely unshakeable, and his completion percentage goes up in situations where the oppsosing team tries to "ice" him with a time-out. He's a valuable team leader with a strong locker-room presence, a trait unheard of in a kicker. What's more, Belichick's strategy has been to hang tough and then murder the other guy in a 2 minute drill. Belichick, for whatever reason, has been unable to devise ways to get the ball into the endzone in close games, and relies heavily on the kicker to pull ahead. He had the best kicker in the league for his style of offense. Now Tony Dungy has him, and anyone, anyone Pioli slots in to replace Vinatieri will be a drastic step down. For what? To save a million bucks? The Pats are so far under the cap, it's chump change. They can afford to pay Adam V what he's worth and hire a kickoff specialist, and see a bigger return in their investment than blowing five times that on a Keyshawn or a Ray Lewis. This makes it different than losing Lawyer Milloy to Buffalo... cornerbacks cost real money. Kickers, even overpaid kickers, cost almost zilch, and in this case, returns value far in excess of his salary. What's worse? He's going to the one team we will most likely need to get past each and every post-season. He will be a most effective weapon against us, weilded by an arch-rival. Unless Vinatieri is suffering severe health problems (like his back) that haven't been made public, this is the most dunderheaded New England sports move since Babe Ruth went to the Yankees.
posted by SoupIsGood Food at 02:55 AM on March 22
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