INDIANAPOLIS --- Is there anybody on the Indianapolis Colts who has better perspective on the Colts and Patriots rivalry than kicker Adam Vinatieri, after playing his first ten seasons in New England and the last nine in Indianapolis? We didn't think so either.
On Wednesday, Vinatieri offered some thoughts on the latest match-up (the first at Lucas Oil Stadium since a 35-34 Colts win in 2009) and history between the two proud AFC franchises.
"I don't know if dislike is the right word," said Vinatieri Wednesday when asked if that's how the two teams feel about each other. "I think it's more of one of those situations that, you know, did the Lakers and the Celtics hate each other? I don't know if they hated each other, and I'm not trying to compare us with that. I'm just saying that teams that play each other a lot, when you have two good teams, you have the usual suspects."
Vinatieri is not just a player who has played on both sides of the Colts and Patriots rivalry. He's the only player in NFL history to score more than 900 points with two different teams.
"Whenever you play those guys, it's a fun week," Vinatieri said about what it's like playing New England. "They're good every single year. It never ever changes. They're always a team on top of their division and stuff...I think there's a mutual respect."
But when Vinatieri looks across the field, so many seasons have passed now where he won't see many familiar faces.
"I think Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady might be the last two that are playing (that were teammates of Vinatieri in New England). Obviously, I know a bunch of the coaches there," said Vinatieri. "Faces changed every time, and there's not many left there."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is one of those faces though that remains from Vinatieri's time with the Pats. Belichick praised Vinatieri's play this week. In his 19th season at 41 years old, he is a perfect 20-for-20 on field goals this season.
"The ball goes perfectly straight, doesn't move. Every kick is right on the money. You have to try and block it; waiting for him to miss you'll be waiting all day," said Belichick, before also saying he doesn't see the end of Vinatieri's career in sight . "Right now, I don't think anybody is kicking better than he is. There are a lot of guys kicking good, but I don't think there anybody is kicking any better."
"I've got a lot of respect for him," said Vinatieri, when asked what his reaction was to Belichick's comments. "He's a great coach. As far as me, I take them one day at a time. I just try to help my team win the best I can. I feel good so far. We'll see how far it goes."
It continues to go far enough to keep clearing the crossbar for the future first ballot Hall of Famer, as he readies for another showdown with his former team.