BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday night is a big one in Indianapolis. The Colts are looking to hang on tightly to one of the AFC’s wild card spots, and they’ll be looking to do so with a win over the hated Patriots, who are visiting Lucas Oil Stadium for the nationally televised affair.

So with a big game against a big opponent in a big spot, the Colts are calling in a big gun to help with their pregame tradition: Adam Vinatieri.

Colts owner Jim Irsay announced this week that Vinatieri — who obviously made some huge kicks for the Patriots before making some huge kicks for the Colts — will be banging the anvil during the pregame celebration on Saturday night.

For the uninitiated, the Colts started a tradition in 2017 where guests are invited to bang an anvil with a hammer as part of the pregame ceremony to get the home fans all hyped up for the game.

Though it’s ancient history now, the 48-year-old Vinatieri stunned just about everyone when he went from the Patriots to the Colts as a free agent in 2006. At the time, Vinatieri was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, who had beaten the Colts in the playoffs en route to two of those championships.

Though the Patriots did just fine in the post-Vinatieri era by drafting Stephen Gostkowski, the veteran kicker went on to have a remarkably consistent and long career with the Colts. Vinatieri helped the Colts to win a Super Bowl in his first year in Indy (beating the Patriots in the AFC title game, of course), and he ended up playing more games with the Colts than the played with the Patriots.

Vinatieri made 263 of his 321 field goal attempts in 160 games with the Patriots, and he made 336 of his 394 attempts in 205 games with the Colts. He did end up playing more playoff games with the Patriots (17) than he did with the Colts (15).

Vinatieri stayed with the Colts through 2019, when his field goal percentage dipped significantly, and he didn’t play in 2020. He finally announced his retirement in May of 2021. Vinatieri joined the Patriots in 1996 as an undrafted free agent, and he’s now a near lock to make the Hall of Fame as the NFL’s all-time leader in points scored.

CBSBoston.com Staff