The Colts' locker room is filled with players looking to win their first Super Bowl. Younger players like Andrew Luck are looking to win their first ring, as are veteran players like Matt Hasselbeck, Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Trent Cole, and others. Only two players remain on the roster from the Colts' Super Bowl win on February 4, 2007, and the goal of the team is to get to the Super Bowl this year - for many players, for the first time, and for many, looking to win their first ring.
Also sitting in the Colts' locker room, however, is one of the most decorated players in NFL history. Kicker Adam Vinatieri is entering his 20th season in the league, and he's been to the Super Bowl a number of times. He played in four with the Patriots, winning three, and played in another one with the Colts, winning that one. Only two players in NFL history have appeared in more Super Bowls than Vinatieri's five, and he was on the roster for another one (he was injured when the Colts went to the Super Bowl during the 2009 season). Only one player has more rings than Vinatieri's four. He is five points away from moving into third place in career points, in the top five of career field goals made, the all-time record holder in most 100-point seasons, is eight points away from becoming the Colts' all-time leading scorer, and owns nearly every postseason kicking record - including career games played, a mark he set last year. Only one player is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for kicking who didn't also play another position (three kickers are in the HOF total), but Vinatieri will surely join that elite group when he decides to retire.
So what's left for the veteran? What's keeping one of the most decorated players in league history from retiring? It's simple, really: winning another Super Bowl.
Vinatieri recently spoke with FOX59's Mike Chappell about what drives him, and it's the next Super Bowl championship. "I've played long enough and I feel like I've achieved the majority of all my goals,'' Vinatieri said. "But you always want to win one more (championship). I don't care if you've won one or if you've won 10. You want one more. Your favorite one is your next one.''
Vinatieri added that, while money is great, that's not the primary driving factor - at least for him. If he was on a losing team, he can imagine that money might become a motivating factor, but he hasn't had to deal with that. He went from the Patriots to the Colts, playing for two of the best teams not just of the past decade, but possibly in the history of the league. The Lombardi Trophy? "That's what always keeps you going, driving you," he said.
With Andrew Luck - who Vinatieri called a "stud" who can keep the team winning for the next decade - and with the success that the Colts have experienced and built on, the kicker knows that they have a good shot at winning this year. He didn't make any guarantees or predictions, but he knows that the Colts have a good team and a good chance. That's why he's back for a 20th season in the league - because he's still having fun and still chasing that fifth championship. "I'm still having fun,'' he said. "You can't get rid of me."
And as long as he's kicking like the future Hall of Famer that he is, there's no reason that the Colts would want to. Because you never know: they might need him to hit a game-winning kick in the Super Bowl for the third time in his career before long.