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Adam Vinatieri retirement: Seven crazy stats about former Patriots, Colts kicker’s career



Adam Vinatieri retirement: Seven crazy stats about former Patriots, Colts kicker's career

Adam Vinatieri made his retirement from the NFL official Wednesday.

Vinatieri said in an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” he’s “riding off into the sunset” after a career that spanned almost a quarter of a century.

“By Friday, if paperwork goes through, you heard it here first,” Vinatieri told McAfee, who held for Vinatieri in Indianapolis.

Vinatieri spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Patriots and the last 14 with the Colts. He didn’t play during the 2020 season after the Colts opted to roll with Rodrigo Blankenship as their kicker and no other team signed him.

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Vinatieri put forth one of the best kicking careers in NFL history, and he may well be the best to ever play the position.

Just how good was he? Here are seven crazy stats to illustrate Vinatieri’s decades-long dominance:

1. There have been three instances in Super Bowl history where a game-winning field goal was made with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Jim O’Brien of the Baltimore Colts kicked one of them. Vinatieri kicked the other two.

2. Vinatieri is tied for third among NFL players with four Super Bowl rings and is the leader among kickers.

3. He is the all-time Super Bowl leader with 10 field goal attempts and 13 PAT makes and is tied with Stephen Gostkowski for the lead with seven field goals.

4. Vinatieri is the NFL’s all-time scoring leader with 2,673 points. That places him ahead of Morten Andersen (2,544) and puts him in an exclusive club of 2,000-plus-point scorers (there are only seven). More impressively, he also leads with 238 postseason points scored. That gives him 2,911 total career points.

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5. Including the postseason, Vinatieri has played in 397 games, most in NFL history. By comparison, new active leader Tom Brady has played in 346 games. It would take Brady a minimum of three seasons (regular season and playoffs) to pass Vinatieri.

6. At 46 years, 338 days old in his last game, Vinatieri is the third-oldest player in NFL history. He trailed only Andersen (47 years, 133 days) and George Blanda (48 years, 109 days) and would have surpassed both had he played in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

7. Vinatieri had the highest single-season field goal percentage for a player 40 or older. He made 96.8 percent of his attempts (30 of 31) in 2014, the year he turned 42. Only two other kickers, Gary Anderson and Matt Bryant, have made better than 95 percent of their field goal kicks beyond their Age 40 season.

It’s going to be very difficult for any player to match all that Vinatieri was able to do during his career.

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Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers



Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton's game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers

Deandre Ayton was the hero for the Suns in their Game 2 win over the Clippers.

With less than a second left on the clock, the Suns were down one point and had just 0.9 seconds to get a shot off. Jae Crowder inbounded the ball on the baseline under the Suns’ basket and found Ayton cutting to the hoop.

Ayton threw it down. The play took just 0.2 seconds off the clock and sealed the 104-103 win for the Suns.

Here’s a look at the amazing finish.

Ayton and Crowder deserve a bulk of the credit, but Devin Booker had an impact on the finish as well. His physical screen on Ivica Zubac — who is seven inches taller and 35 pounds heavier than Booker — gave Ayton just enough space to get open off the cut and throw down the dunk.

And Booker put his body on the line despite playing with a bloodied nose that required stitches after an inadvertent hit from Patrick Beverley earlier in the game.

The Suns’ finish thrilled Phoenix fans as well as the team’s star point guard Chris Paul, who missed his second straight game in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He took time to celebrate the victory on Twitter and praised coach Monty Williams for his “big-time play call.”

Indeed, it was a nice play call, and Williams made sure Ayton was prepared to dunk immediately after catching the ball.

“DA — if he throws it, you gotta try to dunk it,” Williams said. “Okay?”

Ayton was ready and obliged. As a result of his make, NBA Twitter erupted and celebrated the exciting end to yet another tightly-contested playoff battle. 

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How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn’t apply on Deandre Ayton’s dunk



How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn't apply on Deandre Ayton's dunk

Back in December 2017, the Suns and Grizzlies found themselves in a down-to-the-wire contest. Phoenix had the ball with just 0.6 seconds on the clock and the game tied at 97.

So what did then-Suns coach Jay Triano do? He unveiled a play that he had kept in his back pocket for years.

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While standing on the sideline near the Grizzlies’ bench, Dragan Bender threw a pass toward Tyson Chandler that floated directly above the rim, giving Chandler the opportunity to slam it through the bottom of the net. Wait, you can do that?

“You cannot goaltend a ball that isn’t going to count,” Triano told reporters after the game.

More than three years later, Triano’s words were once again ringing throughout Phoenix Suns Arena. Coach Monty Williams drew up a similar play on Tuesday night, and his players executed it perfectly to give the Suns a stunning 104-103 win over the Clippers and a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Look at this beauty:

OK, let’s break down what NBA TV’s Matt Winer called “The Valley Oop.” (Great work, Matt).

First, notice the positioning of DeMarcus Cousins. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue made a smart move by putting Cousins on Jae Crowder in order to make an inbound pass more difficult, but Cousins is squared up to Crowder, opening up the passing lane Crowder needs.

As for the action in the paint, Devin Booker sets a terrific screen on Ivica Zubac, allowing Deandre Ayton to break free. Could Nicolas Batum have bumped Ayton and recovered? Possibly, but he is understandably concerned with leaving Booker.


Once Ayton gets a step on Zubac running toward the basket, it’s on Crowder to put the ball in a spot in which Ayton can score. As you can see from the angle below, Crowder just narrowly avoids the backboard. The placement here is simply incredible.

“That’s definitely Jae’s game-winner,” Ayton said after the game.

deandre ayton suns play

Now, you may still be asking, “But why isn’t that a goaltending violation?”

As the NBA explained in its Last Two Minute Report from that December 2017 game, “Goaltending rules do not apply because (Chandler) makes contact with the ball off of a throw-in and not a live ball that has already legally been touched on the playing court.” Scott Foster, who served as the crew chief on Tuesday, offered the same explanation when asked about Ayton’s dunk.

Sometimes less than a second can be all the time in the world. Just ask any Suns fan.

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Clippers’ Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns



Clippers' Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

The box score from Tuesday’s Suns-Clippers game — a pivotal Game 2 win for Phoenix in the Western Conference finals — will show Paul George had a decent game.

Twenty-six points, on 10-of-23 shooting; six assists; six rebounds; and 5-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. He also scored his team’s last six points, all within the last minute, to help the Clippers to a 103-102 lead with just 8.2 seconds remaining.

The only stats that ultimately mattered in the Clippers’ 104-103 loss, however, were the final two free throws George — a career 84.7-percent free throw shooter — missed. They ultimately allowed Phoenix a chance at an unbelievable comeback victory, which may prove costly even as the series heads back to LA.

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Had George sunk both of those shots, the Suns would have needed a 3-pointer just to send the game to overtime. Had he sunk even one shot, they would have needed a 2-pointer. But he missed both, allowing the Suns to win on an inbound dunk with less than a second remaining:

Credit to Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and the Suns. That play will go down as one of the top plays in NBA playoffs history. But every heartbreaking loss needs a goat, and no one fits the bill better than “Playoff P,” who could have secured a win for his team with the simplest of basketball scoring plays.

Here’s the bright side for the Clippers, if there is one: They have already overcome 2-0 deficits in each of their first two series against the Mavericks and Jazz, respectively. That’s likely a cold comfort as George and Co. head back to LA, however. The scathing Twitter comments aimed at George likely won’t do anything to help, either:

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