Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Patriots Proud to End It like Jonny

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Patriots Proud to End It like Jonny

Article excerpt


ADAM VINATIERI, the man who won the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots, two years ago, did it again here converting another pressure kick with just seconds remaining as his side beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29.

The 31-year-old became the Patriots own Jonny Wilkinson when he kicked a 41-yard game-winner with just nine seconds left at Reliant Stadium, within minutes of the Panthers levelling the game at 29-29.

Vinatieri, great, great grandson of General Custer's bandmaster and a cousin of Evel Knievel, was the hero in 2002 when his 48-yard last-gasp kick won the Super Bowl for head coach Bill Belichick's team.

"Adam's been making pressure kicks since his rookie year of 1996," said Belichick. "If you want a man to kick it, he's the man".

It didn't look that way, however, when Vinatieri put a 31-yard field goal wide right in the first quarter and had a 36-yard effort blocked in the second. Maybe it was Reliant Stadium as he had only ever missed two field goals in his career at an indoor stadium and both of those were in this ground in a regular season game against the Houston Texans.

But he came good when it counted to collect his second diamondencrusted Super Bowl winner's ring for helping the Patriots lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Vinatieri, from South Dakota, also collected a winner's cheque for [pounds sterling]37,000.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also pocketed the same winner's bonus and the keys to a [pounds sterling]42,000 Cadillac sports car as the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player for his game statistics of 32 of 48 passes completed for 354 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception.

The 26-year-old won the MVP award two years ago as well and is hot on the heels of famous San Francisco 49ers passer Joe Monata, the only three-time Super Bowl MVP.

The Patriots started the game as seven-point favourites to win and it was always expected to be a close encounter. But after a first quarter which finished scoreless, a second quarter which ended 14-10 to the Patriots and no points again in the third quarter, it looked like two teams with dominant defences slugging it out like heavyweight boxers. …

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