INDIANAPOLIS — According to several million New Englanders, Adam Vinatieri will always be a New England Patriot.
Even though he hasn't worn the "flying Elvis" on his helmet since the AFC semifinal loss to Denver on Jan. 14, 2006. He has since spent six highly successful seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, highlighted by winning a fourth Super Bowl ring five years ago.
It has been 10 years, almost to the day, since he kicked a 48-yard field goal to beat the St. Louis Rams, 20-17.
"I've come to accept it," said Vinatieri yesterday during a one-on-one interview with The Eagle-Tribune. "I was there for 10 years, 10 great years. We had a lot of great times. We had a lot of success as a team. The fans were always great to me."
Vinatieri has taken a liking to Indianapolis. He has moved his family from Orlando, Fla., to a suburb about 20 minutes away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
"The people here are very nice. I think it's a Midwestern thing," said the 39-year-old Vinatieri, who is married with three children. "We are very comfortable. I get to see my family every day and bring my kids to and from school. It's a great place to raise a family."
While a lot of people expected his famous teammate, Peyton Manning, to be an ambassador for Indianapolis this week, it hasn't happened. Manning, who isn't expected back with the Colts next year and could even retire due to persistent neck injuries, has not shown his face around the city for more than a few hours this week.
Vinatieri doesn't mind picking up some of the slack to promote this region and this game.
"They've been planning this a long time and things really seem to be going well," said Vinatieri. "Lucas Oil Stadium is beautiful. It really is. And the city is a great city. It's easy to get around. There's a lot to do. I think everyone is going to be happy with their experience here."