The NFL: A Kick and a Prayer

Bennett KaplanCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2008

 You all know who number four is in the picture to the left—don't you?

If you are among the few that do not, that is Adam Vinatieri. He kicked the game-winning field goal against the Philadelphia Eagles during Super Bowl 39 in 2004 in Jacksonville at Alltell Stadium.

Adam Vinatieri is known as the best kicker of the modern era. But how did he get where he is?

It was not easy, let me tell you that.

After he attended South Dakota State University, it seemed like his NFL dream would never come true. He tried out for the World League of American football, the predecessor of NFL Europa and was given a spot of the roster of the Amsterdam Admirals.

Then in 1996, he was given the chance of a lifetime.

He was signed undrafted by the patriots. He played ten years with the Patriots and appeared in four Super Bowls—winning two of them himself.

This brings up a thought.

How do kickers pursue such impossible careers? Most kickers are not given college scholarships and most are undrafted. For the many that have this dream, there are only 30 job spots. All of them are already filled.

This means an impossible amount of work from these want to be kickers. Most just happen to be noticed, and some have lots of natural talent. they can rise to the moment whenever they kick, maybe even sculpting their future.

Let's take Lawernce Tynes of the New York Giants. He is not among the top kickers in his league, or the NFL.

You're watching the Packers vs. the Giants at Lambeau and watch him miss his first field goal. The second one that sends the game into overtime makes you angry because he just gave the Packers another chance. But when he finally makes the game-winning kick in overtime, he makes up for everything because he sent his team to the Super Bowl.

Although the position can be make or break, any kicker can rise to the occasion.

Who will be next?