Play in Lucas Oil Stadium
Headquartered in the Indianapolis Colts
Football Training Center
|Team colors||Speed Blue, White
|General manager||Ryan Grigson|
|Head coach||Chuck Pagano|
|League championships (4†)|
|Conference championships (7)|
|Division championships (14)
† – Does not include the AFL or NFL Championships won during the same seasons as the AFL-NFL Super Bowl Championships prior to the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger
|Playoff appearances (25)|
The Indianapolis Colts are an American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana; they play their games at Lucas Oil Stadium. The team is a member of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team was officially founded as the Baltimore Colts in 1953 and were based in Baltimore, Maryland until the team relocated to Indianapolis in 1984.
The Colts were members of the National Football League from their founding, however, they were one of three teams to switch to the AFC following the 1970 merger. While in Baltimore the team advanced to the postseason ten times and won three NFL Championship games in 1958, 1959 and 1968. The Colts had two Super Bowl appearances while in Baltimore, losing to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, while defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
The Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984 and have since appeared in the playoffs fourteen times, with two conference championships and one Super Bowl championship coming against the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. It was under quarterback Peyton Manning that the Colts saw their greatest success with the team appearing in the playoffs nine consecutive seasons, which is tied for a league record.
In 1953, a Baltimore based group led by Carroll Rosenbloom won the rights to a new Baltimore National Football League franchise. Rosenbloom was awarded the remains of the Dallas Texans who had a long and winding history starting as the Boston Yanks in 1944 who later merged with the Brooklyn Tigers and were previously known as the Dayton Triangles, an original NFL team established in 1913. The team would later became the Yanks in 1950, and many of the players from the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference were added to the team. The Yanks moved to Dallas after the 1951 season, but played their final two "home" games of the 1952 season at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio. However, the NFL considers the Texans and Colts to be separate teams, although many of those teams shared the same colors of blue and white.
The Colts played their first season in Baltimore in 1953, where the team compiled a 3–9 record under first year head coach Keith Molesworth. The franchise struggled during the first few years in Baltimore, with the team not achieving their first winning record until the 1957 season. However, under head coach Weeb Ewbank and the leadership of quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts would go onto a 9–3 record during the 1958 season and reached the NFL Championship Game for the first time in their history by winning the NFL Western Conference. The Colts faced the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game in what is considered to be among the greatest contests in professional football history. The Colts defeated the Giants 23–17 in the first game ever to utilize the overtime rule and a game seen by 45 million people.
Following the Colts first NFL championship, the team once again posted a 9–3 record during the 1959 season and would defeat the Giants once again in the NFL Championship Game to claim their second title in back to back fashion. Following the two championships in 1958 and 1959, the Colts did not return to the NFL Championship for four seasons and saw a transition from head coach Ewbank to a young Don Shula in 1963. In Shula's second season the Colts compiled a 12–2 record, but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship. However, in 1968 the Colts returned with the continued leadership of Unitas and Shula and went onto win the Colts' third NFL Championship and made an appearance in Super Bowl III.
Leading up to the Super Bowl and following the 34–0 trouncing of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship, many were calling the 1968 Colts team one of the "greatest pro football teams of all time" and were favored by 18 points against their counterparts from the American Football League, the New York Jets. The Colts, however, were stunned by the Jets who won the game 16–7 in the first Super Bowl victory for the young AFL. The result of the game was surprising to many in the sports media as Joe Namath and Matt Snell led Jets to the Super Bowl victory, under head coach Weeb Ewbank, who won two NFL Championships with the Colts.
Rosenbloom of the Colts, Art Modell of the Browns, and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to have their teams join the ten AFL teams in the American Football Conference as part of the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The Colts immediately went on a rampage in the new league, as new head coach Don McCafferty led the 1970 team to an 11–2–1 regular season record, winning the AFC East title. In the first round of the NFL Playoffs, the Colts beat the Cincinnati Bengals 17–0; one week later in the AFC Championship, they beat the Oakland Raiders 27–17. Baltimore went on to win the first post-merger Super Bowl (Super Bowl V) defeating the National Football Conference's Dallas Cowboys 16–13, on a Jim O'Brien field goal with five seconds left to play. The victory gave the Colts their fourth NFL championship and first Super Bowl victory. Following the championship, the Colts returned to the playoffs in 1971 and defeated the Cleveland Browns in the first round, but lost to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship.
Rosenbloom eventually traded the Colts franchise to Robert Irsay on July 13, 1972 and received the Los Angeles Rams in return. Under the new ownership, the Colts did not reach the postseason for three consecutive seasons after 1971, and after the 1972 season, starting quarterback and legend Johnny Unitas, was traded to the San Diego Chargers. Following Unitas' departure, the Colts would make the playoffs three consecutive seasons from 1975 to 1977, losing in the divisional round each time. The Colts 1977 playoff loss in double overtime against the Oakland Raiders was famous for the fact that it was the last playoff game for the Colts in Baltimore and is also known for the Ghost to the Post play. These consecutive championship teams featured 1976 NFL Most Valuable Player Bert Jones at quarterback and an outstanding defensive line, nicknamed the "Sack Pack."
Following the 1970s success, the team endured nine consecutive losing seasons beginning in 1978. In 1981, the Colts defense allowed an NFL-record 533 points, set an all-time record for fewest sacks (13) and also set a modern record for fewest punt returns (12). The following year the offense collapsed, including a game against the Buffalo Bills where the Colts' offense did not cross mid-field the entire game. The Colts finished 0–8–1 in the strike-shortened 1982 season and earned the team the right to select Stanford quarterback John Elway with the first overall pick, but Elway refused to play for Baltimore, and using leverage as a draftee of the New York Yankees baseball club, forced a trade to Denver. Behind an improved defense the team would finish 7–9 in 1983, but it would be their last season in Baltimore.
The Baltimore Colts played their final home game in Baltimore final on December 18, 1983 against the then Houston Oilers. By early 1984, after the Colts' lease on the 64,124 seat Memorial Stadium had expired, Irsay wanted the city of Baltimore to upgrade the stadium or build a new one. Attendance continued to dwindle over the years as a result of the team playing poorly and city officials were wary of such an investment and negotiations were slow and contentious. Relations between Irsay and the city of Baltimore deteriorated, and despite numerous public announcements that Irsay's ultimate desire was to remain in Baltimore, he nevertheless began discussions with several cities hungry for an NFL franchise, eventually narrowing the list of cities to two: Phoenix and Indianapolis. Under the administration of mayor Richard Lugar and then mayor William Hudnut, Indianapolis made an ambitious effort to reinvent itself into a 'Great American City'. The Hoosier Dome, which was later renamed the RCA Dome, had been built specifically for and was ready to host an NFL expansion team.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, the situation worsened when the Maryland legislature eventually intervened and threatened to pass a law giving the city of Baltimore the right to seize ownership of the team by eminent domain. As a result, Irsay began serious negotiations with Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut in order to move the team before the Maryland legislature could pass the bill and was able to secure loans from Indianapolis on the Hoosier Dome and a training complex. After agreeing to the deal, Mayflower Transit trucks were dispatched to the team's Maryland training complex on March 29, 1984 in the early morning, where workers loaded all of the team's belongings and the trucks left for Indianapolis with the Colts completely gone from Baltimore by midday.
The move triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of Baltimore and the Colts organization reached a settlement on March 1986 in which all lawsuits regarding the relocation were dismissed, and the Colts would endorse a new NFL team for Baltimore. Nonetheless, many of the prominent old-time Colts, many of whom had settled in the Baltimore area, were bitter and chose to cut all ties to the relocated Colts team. Most notable and vocal among them was Johnny Unitas, who recognized himself solely as a player for the Baltimore Colts until the day he died, with his estate defending that stand to this day. However, the NFL officially recognizes his achievements and records as the history of the Colts organization and as such are attributed to the current Colts organization and not the Baltimore Ravens organization.
Upon the Colts' arrival in Indianapolis over 143,000 requests for season tickets were received in just two weeks. The move to Indianapolis, however, did not change the recent fortune of the Colts with the team appearing the postseason only once in the first eleven season in Indianapolis. During the 1984 season, the first in Indianapolis, the team went 4–12 and accounted for the fewest offensive yardage in the league that season. The 1985 and 1986 teams combined for only eight wins, including an 0–13 start in 1986, which prompted the firing of head coach Rod Dowhower, who was replaced by Ron Meyer. The Colts, however, did receive eventual Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson as a result of a trade during the 1987 season and would go on to compile a 9–6 record, good enough to win the AFC East and advance to the postseason for the first time in the franchise's history in Indianapolis, where they would eventually lose to the Cleveland Browns.
Following 1987, the Colts did not see any real success for quite some time, with the team missing the postseason for seven consecutive seasons. The struggles came to a climax in 1991 when the team went 1–15 and was just one point away from the first imperfect season in the history of a 16 game schedule. The season resulted in the firing of head coach Ron Meyer and the return of head coach Ted Marchibroda to the organization in 1992, after he coached the team from 1975–1979 when they were in Baltimore. The team continued to struggle under Marchibroda and Jim Irsay, son of Robert Irsay, who was the general manager at the time. It was in 1994 that Robert Irsay brought in Bill Tobin to become the next general manager of the Indianapolis Colts.
Under Tobin, the Colts would go onto draft running back Marshall Faulk with the second overall pick in the 1994 and acquired quarterback Jim Harbaugh as well. These moves along with others saw the Colts began to turn around their fortune with a playoff appearance in 1995 and 1996. The Colts won their first postseason game as the Indianapolis Colts in 1995 and would go onto the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, coming Hail Mary pass reception away from a trip to the Super Bowl XXX.
Marchibroda retired following the 1995 season and was replaced by Lindy Infante in 1996. After two consecutive playoff appearance, the Colts would regress and go 3–13 during the 1997 season. Along with the disappointing season, the principal owner and man who moved the team to Indianapolis, Robert Irsay, died in January 1997 after years of declining health. Jim Irsay, Robert Irsay's son, entered the role of principal owner following his fathers death and quickly began to change the organization after 1997. Irsay quickly replaced general manager Tobin with Bill Polian in 1997 as the team decided to build through their number one overall pick in the 1998 draft.
Jim Irsay began to shape the Colts one year after assuming control from his father by firing head coach Lindy Infante and hiring Bill Polian to run as the general manager of the organization. Polian in turn hired Jim Mora to become the next head coach of the team and would go on to draft Tennessee Volunteer quarterback Peyton Manning, the son of New Orleans Saints legend Archie Manning, with the first overall pick in the 1998 draft.
The team and Manning struggled during the 1998 season, winning only three games and Manning throwing a league high 28 interceptions. However, Manning did pass for 3,739 yards and threw 26 touchdown passes while also being named to the NFL All-Rookie First Team. The Colts began to improve towards the end of the 1998 season and showed continued growth in 1999. Indianapolis drafted Edgerrin James in 1999 and continued to improve their roster heading into the upcoming season. The Colts went 13–3 in 1999 and finished first in the AFC East, their first division title since 1987. Indianapolis would go onto lose to the eventual AFC champion Tennessee Titans in the divisional playoffs.
The 2000 and 2001 Colts teams were considerably less successful compared to the 1999 team and pressure began to mount on team administration and the coaching staff following a 6–10 season in 2001. Head coach Jim Mora was fired at the end of the season and was replaced by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy. Dungy and the team quickly changed the atmosphere of the organization and returned to the playoffs in 2002 with a 10–6 record. The Colts also returned to the playoffs in 2003 and 2004 with 12–4 records and AFC South championships. The Colts would lose to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in the 2003 AFC Championship Game and the 2004 divisional playoffs beginning a rivalry between the two teams, and more importantly between Manning and Brady. Following two consecutive playoff losses to the Patriots, the Colts began the 2005 season with a 13–0 record, including a regular season victory over the Patriots, the first in the Manning era. During the season Manning and Marvin Harrison broke the NFL record for touchdowns by a quarterback and receiver tandem. Indianapolis finished the season with a 14–2 record, the best record in the league that year and the best in a 16 games season for the franchise, but would go onto lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in divisional round, a disappointing end to the season.
Indianapolis entered the 2006 season with a veteran quarterback, receivers and defenders and would go onto draft Joseph Addai in the 2006 draft. As in the previous season, the Colts began the season undefeated and would go 9–0 before losing their first game against the Dallas Cowboys. Indianapolis would end the season with a 12–4 record and entered the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, this time as the number three seed in the AFC. The Colts won their first two playoff games against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens to return to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2003 game, and they would face the same opponent in the New England Patriots. In a classic game, the Colt overcame a 21–3 first half deficit and would go onto win the game 38–34 and earned a trip to Super Bowl XLI, the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance since 1970 and for the first time in Indianapolis. The Colts faced the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl and would go onto win the game 29–17, giving Manning, Polian, Irsay and Dungy their first Super Bowl title, as well as the first title for the city of Indianapolis.
Following their Super Bowl championship, the Colts would go onto a 13–3 record during the 2007 season and would lose to the San Diego Chargers in the divisional playoffs, which would be the final game the Colts played at the RCA Dome, with the Colts moving into Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008. The 2008 season began with Manning being sidelined for most of the pre-season due to surgery. Indianapolis began the season with a 3–4 record, but would go onto win nine consecutive games to end the season at 12–4 and make in into the playoffs as a wild card team, eventually losing to the Chargers during the wild card round. Following the season, head coach Tony Dungy announced his retirement after seven seasons as head coach, compiling an overall record of 92–33 with the team.
Jim Caldwell was hired as head coach of the team following Dungy, and would lead the team during the 2009 season. The Colts went 14–0 during the season to finish with an overall record of 14–2 after controversially benching their starters. The Colts for the second time in the Manning era would enter the playoffs with the best record in the AFC. The Colts managed victories over the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets to advance to Super Bowl XLIV against the New Orleans Saints. Indianapolis would go onto lose to the Saints 31–17 to end the season in disappointment. This continued into 2010 when the Colts would only compile a 10–6 record, the first time the Colts did not win 12 games since 2002, and lose to the New York Jets in the wild card round of the playoffs. The loss to the Jets would be the last game for Peyton Manning as a Colt.
After missing the preseason, Manning was ruled out for the Colts' opening game in Houston and eventually the entire 2011 season. Taking over as starter was veteran quarterback Kerry Collins, who had been signed to the team after dissatisfaction with backup quarterback Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky. However, even with a veteran quarterback, the Colts went on to an 0–13 record and finished the season with a 2–14 record, enough to receive the first overall pick in the 2012 draft. Immediately following the season, team president Bill Polian was fired ending his fourteen-year tenure with the team and eventually Irsay would fire Jim Caldwell after only three seasons as head coach. The constant change built the anticipation on the organizations decision regarding Manning's future with the team. The Peyton Manning era came to a sudden end on March 8, 2012 when Jim Irsay announced that he was officially being released from the roster after thirteen seasons.
Owner Jim Irsay started to again rebuild the Colts during the 2012 offseason and began by hiring a new general manager in Ryan Grigson and new head coach in Chuck Pagano. The Colts also began to release their veteran players from the Manning era including Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark and Gary Brackett. The Colts used their number one overall draft pick in 2012 to draft Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck and would also draft his teammate Coby Fleener in the second round. Also, the Colts will switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme. On September 9, 2012 the Colts kicked off the Andrew Luck Era with a 41-21 loss to the Chicago Bears in which Luck completed 23 of his 45 passes. He threw for one touchdown and three interceptions, and also fumbled and finished with a 52.9 passer rating. The Colts ended the 2012 season at 11-5 record, with Colts staff stating that the team rallied behind a sign that read "Chuck Strong," a rally cry related their Coach Chuck Pagano and his fight with leukemia, that was left behind at Lucas Oil Stadium by a fan after a home game against the Buffalo Bills, with losses to the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, New England Patriots and the Houston Texans. With productive seasons from both quarterback Andrew Luck and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne, the Colts rebounded from the 2-14 season of 2011 to clinch an unexpected playoff spot in the 2012–13 NFL playoffs, the fourteenth playoff berth for the club since 1995. The season ended in a 24-9 playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the first playoff loss for the former Baltimore Colts (in three tries) to Baltimore's present NFL squad. In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Colts selected Justice Cunningham, the current Mr. Irrelevant.
The Colts' helmets in 1953 were white with a blue stripe. In 1954–55 they were blue with a white stripe and a pair of horseshoes at the rear of the helmet. For 1956 the colors were reversed. white helmet, blue stripe and horseshoes at the rear. In 1957 the horseshoes moved to their current location, one per side The blue jerseys have white shoulder stripes while the white jerseys have blue stripes. The team also wears white pants with blue stripes down the sides.
From 1982 through 1986, the Colts wore gray pants with their blue jerseys. The gray pants featured a horseshoe on the top of the sides with the player's number inside the horseshoe. The Colts continued to wear white pants with their white jerseys throughout this period, and in 1987, the gray pants were retired.
The Colts wore blue pants with their white jerseys for the first three games of the 1995 season, but then returned to white pants with both the blue and white jerseys. The team made some minor uniform adjustments before the start of the 2004 season, including reverting from blue to the traditional gray face masks, darkening their blue colors from a royal blue to speed blue, as well as adding two white stripes to the socks. In 2006, the stripes were removed from the socks.
In 2002, the Colts made a minor striping pattern change on their jerseys, having the stripes only on top of the shoulders then stop completely. Previously, the stripes used to go around to underneath the jersey sleeves. This was done because the Colts, like many other football teams, were beginning to manufacture the jerseys to be tighter to reduce holding calls and reduce the size of the sleeves. Although the white jerseys of the Minnesota Vikings at the time also had a similar striping pattern and continued as such (as well as the throwbacks the New England Patriots wore in the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions in 2002, though the Patriots later wore the same throwbacks in 2009 with truncated stripes and in 2010 became their official alternate uniform), the Colts and most college teams with this striping pattern did not make this adjustment. Replica jerseys sold for retail still have the original striping pattern, though authentic game-day worn jerseys do have the partial striping pattern of the current jerseys.
During the team's time in Baltimore, the Colts had the Baltimore Colts' Marching Band, which was left behind when the team moved to Indianapolis and moved to the Hoosier Dome. The Colts official team mascot is Blue. The team also has the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders, which is the official cheerleading squad of the team.
After 24 years of playing at the RCA Dome, the Colts moved to their new home Lucas Oil Stadium in the fall of 2008. In December 2004, the City of Indianapolis and Jim Irsay agreed to a new stadium deal at an estimated cost of $1 billion (Including Indianapolis Convention Center upgrades). In a deal estimated at $122 million, Lucas Oil Products won the naming rights to the stadium for 20 years.
It is a seven-level stadium which seats 63,000 for football. It can be reconfigured to seat 70,000 or more for NCAA basketball and football and concerts. It covers 1,800,000 square feet (170,000 m2). The stadium features a retractable roof allowing the Colts to play home games outdoors for the first time since arriving in Indianapolis. Using FieldTurf, the playing surface is roughly 25 ft (7.6 m) below ground level. In addition to being larger than the RCA Dome, the new stadium features: 58 permanent concession stands, 90 portable concession stands, 13 escalators, 11 passenger elevators, 800 restrooms, high definition video displays from Daktronics and replay monitors and 142 luxury suites. The stadium also features a retractable roof, with electrification technology developed by VAHLE, Inc. Other than being the home of the Colts, the stadium will host games in both the Men's and Women's NCAA Basketball Tournaments and will serve as the back up host for all NCAA Final Four Tournaments. The stadium hosted the Super Bowl for the 2011 season (Super Bowl XLVI) and has a potential economic impact estimated at $286,000,000. Lucas Oil Stadium will also host the Drum Corps International World Championships from 2009 until 2018.
The rivalry between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots is one of the NFL's newest rivalries. The rivalry is fueled by the quarterback comparison between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The Patriots owned the beginning of the series, defeating the Colts in six consecutive contests including the 2003 AFC Championship game and a 2004 AFC Divisional game. The Colts won the next three matches, notching two regular season victories and a win in the 2006 AFC Championship game on the way to their win in Super Bowl XLI. On November 4, 2007 the Patriots defeated the Colts 24–20; in the next matchup on November 2, 2008, the Colts won 18–15 in a game that was one of the reasons the Patriots failed to make the playoffs; in the 2009 meeting, the Colts staged a spirited comeback to beat the Patriots 35–34; in 2010 the Colts almost staged another comeback, pulling within 31–28 after trailing 31–14 in the fourth quarter, but fell short due to a Patriots interception of a Manning pass late in the game; it turned out to be Manning's final meeting against the Patriots as a member of the Colts. After a dismal 2011 season that included a 31-24 loss to the Patriots, the Colts drafted Andrew Luck and in November of 2012 the two teams met with identical 6-3 records; the Patriots erased a 17-7 gap to win 59-24. The nature of this rivalry is ironic because while the Colts and Patriots were division rivals from 1970 to 2001, it did not become prominent in league circles until after Indianapolis was relocated to the AFC South.
In the years 1953–66 the Colts played in the NFL Western Conference (also known as division), but were never known to have a significant rivalry with any of the other franchises in that alignment, seeing as they were the eastern-most team and the rest of the division included the Great Lakes franchises Green Bay, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and after 1961, the Minnesota Vikings. The closest team to Baltimore was the Washington Redskins, but they were not in the same division, and they were not very competitive at that time.
In 1958 Baltimore played its first NFL Championship Game against the 10–3 New York Giants. The Giants qualified for the championship after a tie-breaking playoff against the Cleveland Browns. Having already been defeated by the Giants in the regular season, Baltimore was not favored to win, yet proceeded to take the title in sudden death overtime. The Colts then repeated the feat by posting an identical record and routing the Giants in the 1959 final. Up until the Colts' back-to-back titles, the Giants had been the premier club in the NFL, and would continue to be post-season stalwarts the next decade losing three straight finals. The situation was reversed by the end of the decade, with Baltimore winning the 1968 NFL title while New York would arrive at continuously less impressive results. In recent years, the Colts and Giants featured brothers as their starting quarterbacks (Peyton and Eli Manning respectively) leading to their occasional matchup being referred to as "the Manning Bowl".
Super Bowl III became the most famous upset in pro sports history as the American Football League's New York Jets won 16–7 over the overwhelmingly-favored Colts. With the merger of the AFL and NFL the Colts and Jets were placed in the new AFC East. The two teams met twice a year (interrupted in 1982 by a player strike) 1970–2001; with the move of the Colts to the AFC South the two teams' rivalry actually escalated, as they met three times in the playoffs in the South's first nine seasons of existence; the Jets crushed the Colts 41–0 in the 2002 Wild Card playoff round; the Colts then defeated the Jets 30–17 in the 2009 AFC Championship Game; but the next year in the Wild Card round the Jets pulled off another playoff upset of the Colts, winning 17–16; it was Peyton Manning's final playoff game with the Colts.
Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas were the focal point of the rivalry at its beginning, but they did not meet for a full game until September 24, 1972. Namath erupted with six touchdowns and 496 passing yards despite only 28 throws and 15 completions. Unitas threw for 376 yards and two scores but was sacked six times as the Jets won 44-34; the game was considered one of the top ten passing duels in NFL history.
Baltimore's post NFL-AFL merger passage to the AFC saw them thrust into a new environment with little in common with its fellow divisional teams, the Jets, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Boston Patriots. One angle where the two clubs did have something in common, however, lay in new Miami coach Don Shula. Shula had coached the Colts the previous seven pre-merger seasons (1963–9) and was signed by Joe Robbie after the merger was consummated; because the signing came after the merger the NFL's rules on tampering came into play, and the Dolphins had to give up their first-round pick to the Colts.
Powered by QB Earl Morrall Baltimore would be the first non-AFL franchise to win a division title in the conference, outlasting the Miami Dolphins by one game, and leading the division since Week 3 of 1970. The two franchises were denied a playoff confrontation by Miami's first-round defeat to the Oakland Raiders, whereas Baltimore would win its first Super Bowl title that year.
Yet in 1971 the teams were engaged in a heated race that went down to the final week of the season, where Miami won its first division title with a 10–3–1 title compared to the 10–4 Baltimore record after the Colts won the Week 13 matchup between them at home, but proceeded to lose the last game of the season to Boston. In the playoffs Baltimore advanced to the AFC title game after a 20–3 rout of the Cleveland Browns, whereas Miami survived a double-overtime nailbiter against the Kansas City Chiefs. This set up a title game that was favored for the defending league champion Colts. Yet Miami won the AFC championship with a 21–0 shutout and advanced to lose Super Bowl VI to Dallas. In 1975 Baltimore and Miami tied with 10–4 records, yet the Colts advanced to the playoffs based on a head-to-head sweep of their series. In 1977 Baltimore tied for first for the third straight year (in 1976 they tied with the now-New England Patriots) with Miami, and this time advanced to the playoffs on even slimmer pretenses, with a conference record of 9–3 compared to Miami's 8–4, as they had split the season series. The rivalry would in the following years be virtually negated by very poor play of he Colts; the Colts would win just 117 games in the twenty-one seasons (1978–98) that bracketed their 1977 playoff loss to the Oakland Raiders and the 1999 trade of star running back Marshall Faulk; this included a 0–8–1 record during the NFL's strike shortened 1982 season.
In 1995, now as Indianapolis, the two both posted borderline 9–7 records to tie for second against Buffalo, yet the Colts once again reached the post-season having swept the season series. The following season they edged out Miami by posting a 9–7 record and winning the ordinarily meaningless 3rd place position, but qualifying for the wild card. The two clubs' 1999 meetings were dramatic affairs between Hall Of Fame-bound Dan Marino and up-and-coming star Peyton Manning. Marino led a 25-point fourth quarter comeback for a 34–31 Dolphins win at the RCA Dome, then in Miami Marino led another comeback to tie the game 34–34 with 36 seconds remaining; Manning, however, drove the Colts in range for a 53-yard field goal as time expired (37–34 Colts win).
The last meaningful matchup between the two franchises would be in the 2000 season, when Miami edged out Indianapolis with an 11–5 record for the division championship. The two then met in the wild-card round where the Dolphins won 23–17 before being blown out by Oakland 27–0 (the Colts themselves had suffered a bitter loss to the Raiders in Week Two of the season when the Raiders erased a 24-7 gap to win 38-31). In 2002 the Colts moved to the newly created AFC South division; the two clubs met at the RCA Dome on September 15 where the Dolphins edged the Colts 21-13 after stopping a late Colts drive. The rivalry was effectively retired after this; the two clubs did meet in a memorable Monday Night Football matchup in 2009 where the Colts, despite having the ball for only fifteen minutes, defeated the Dolphins 27–23. Yet until the formation of the AFC South the two had had a lively history, based usually on Indianapolis owning slightly better regular season records, but Miami winning both post-season meetings.
When the AFL-NFL Merger was completed for the 1970 season, the very first opponent for the Colts in their new environment of the American Football Conference was the San Diego Chargers at San Diego. Johnny Unitas threw for 202 yards and was intercepted once, but the Colts ground out a 16-14 win. Three years later Unitas would end his NFL career by starting four games for the 1973 Chargers; his last win was a 34-7 win over the Bills.
The rivalry truly began heating up with the 1998 draft and the selections of Peyton Manning by the Colts and the ill-fated Ryan Leaf by the Chargers. Manning's Colts defeated the Chargers in 1998 and 1999, but in 2004 with Leaf long gone from the game the revamped Chargers behind Drew Brees erupted into playoff contention; on December 26 with both teams at 11-3 the Colts hosted the Chargers with Manning close to matching Dan Marino's touchdown record; the Chargers stormed to a 31-16 lead, but Dominic Rhodes' kickoff return put the Colts within eight points, then with one minute remaining Manning rifled a 21-yard touchdown to Brandon Stokley, breaking Marino's record; the two-point try succeeded, then after Brees was intercepted the game went to overtime and the Colts won 34-31 on a field goal.
The next year on December 18 the Chargers faced the unbeaten Colts; the Colts dream of the first perfect season since 1972 failed as the Chargers won 26-17.
The rivalry heated up several-fold in 2007. First on November 11, with the Chargers up only 23-21 and despite five Manning interceptions, the Colts closed to range of a 29-yard field goal try for Adam Vinatieri, a kick that shockingly missed; Manning then threw a sixth interception and the Chargers won. The following January 13 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs the Chargers intercepted Manning twice and clawed to a 28-24 lead despite injury to quarterback Philip Rivers; Manning was stopped on downs twice in the fourth quarter and the Chargers ended the Colts' reign as defending champions.
The 2008 season saw the two teams meet twice again; on November 23 the two teams battled to a 20-20 tie until Vinatieri booted a 51-yard field goal on the final play and a 23-20 Colts win; the Colts surged to 12-4 but lost the AFC South title to the Titans; they thus had to travel to meet the 8-8 Chargers on January 3. Down 17-14 the Chargers sacked Manning near his own goal line; following the ensuing punt they clawed to range of a successful Nate Kaeding field goal; the game to overtime and two Colts defensive penalties helped set up a 22-yard Darren Sproles touchdown and the 23-17 San Diego win.
Indianapolis Colts roster
|70||Art Donovan||DT||1950, 1953–61|
The Colts Ring of Honor includes:
Indianapolis Colts staff
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
|Super Bowl Champions (1970–present)||Conference Champions||Division Champions||Wild Card Berth|
|Season||Team||League||Conference||Division||Regular Season||Post Season Results||Awards|
|2007||2007||NFL||AFC||South §||1st §||13||3||0||Lost Divisional Playoffs (Chargers) 28–24[l]||Bob Sanders (DPOY)|
|2008||2008||NFL||AFC||South||2nd ¤||12||4||0||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Chargers) 23–17 (OT)||Peyton Manning (MVP)|
|2009||2009||NFL||AFC *||South §||1st §||14||2||0||Won Divisional Playoffs (Ravens) 20–3
Won Conference Championship (Jets) 30–17
Lost Super Bowl XLIV (Saints) 31–17
|Peyton Manning (MVP)|
|2010||2010||NFL||AFC||South §||1st §||10||6||0||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Jets) 17–16|
|Total||449||420||7||(1953–2011, includes only regular season)|
|19||18||–||(1953–2011, includes only playoffs)|
|468||438||7||(1953–2011, includes both regular season and playoffs)|
|Leader||Player||Record Number||Years on Colts|
|Passing||Peyton Manning||54,828 passing yards||1998–2011|
|Rushing||Edgerrin James||9,226 rushing yards||1999–2005|
|Receiving||Marvin Harrison||14,580 receiving yards||1996–2008|
|Coaching Wins||Tony Dungy||85 wins||2002–2008|
The Colts' flagship station from 1984 to 1998 and again starting in the 2007 season is WIBC 1070AM (renamed WFNI as of December 26, 2007); under the new contract, games are simulcast on WLHK 97.1 FM. From 1998 through 2006, the Colts' flagship station was WFBQ 94.7FM (with additional programming on WNDE 1260AM). Bob Lamey is the team's play-by-play announcer, holding that title from 1984 to 1991 and again since 1995. Former Colts offensive lineman Will Wolford serves as color commentator. Former head coach Ted Marchibroda of both Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts franchises, who served as color commentator from 1999 to 2006, serves as an analyst on their pre-game show. Mike Jansen serves as the public address announcer at all Colts home games. Mike has been the public address announcer since the 1998 season.
Preseason games not shown on national television were seen locally on WTTV-4, Indiana's 4. Beginning in 2011, the preseason games will be shown on WNDY-23 except for those carried nationally by the networks. Indiana Hoosiers announcer Don Fischer provides play-by-play. Regular-season Monday Night games are simulcast on WNDY-23 and those from NFL Network on simulcasted on an approved station announced by NFL Network which has been WTHR-13 and WXIN-59 in the past with FOX 59 simulcasting the latest games in 2010.
|Lafayette, Indiana||WASK-FM||98.7 FM|
|Santa Claus, Indiana||WAXL-FM||103.3 FM|
|Bedford, Indiana||WBIW-AM||1340 AM|
|Bardstown, Kentucky||WBRT-AM||1320 AM|
|Effingham, Illinois||WCRA-AM||1090 AM|
|Danville, Illinois||WDAN-AM||1490 AM|
|Decatur, Illinois||WDZQ-FM||95.1 FM|
|Michigan City, Indiana||WEFM-FM||95.9 FM|
|Indianapolis, Indiana||WFNI-AM||1070 AM|
|Evansville, Indiana||WGBF-AM||1280 AM|
|Henderson, Kentucky||WGBF-FM||103.1 FM|
|Bloomington, Indiana||WGCL-AM||1370 AM|
|Oxford, Indiana||WIBN-FM||98.1 FM|
|Rushville, Indiana||WIFE-FM||94.3 FM|
|Crawfordsville, Indiana||WIMC-FM||103.9 FM|
|North Vernon, Indiana||WJCP-AM||1460 AM|
|Wabash, Indiana||WJOT-FM||105.9 FM|
|Richmond, Indiana||WKBV-AM||1490 AM|
|Warsaw, Indiana||WLEG-FM||102.7 FM|
|Indianapolis, Indiana||WLHK-FM||97.1 FM|
|Angola, Indiana||WLKI-FM||100.3 FM|
|Eminence, Kentucky||WLRS||1600 AM|
|Alexandria, Indiana||WMXQ-FM||96.7 FM|
|Marion, Indiana||WMRI-AM||860 AM|
|Monticello, Indiana||WMRS-FM||107.7 FM|
|Louisville, Kentucky||WNDA||1570 AM|
|Sullivan, Indiana||WNDI-FM||95.3 FM|
|Madison, Indiana||WORX-FM||96.7 FM|
|Fort Wayne, Indiana||WOWO-AM||1190 AM|
|Fort Wayne, Indiana||WOWO-FM||92.3 FM|
|Portland, Indiana||WPGW-AM||1440 AM|
|Greencastle, Indiana||WREB-FM||94.3 FM|
|Rochester, Indiana||WROI-FM||92.1 FM|
|Warsaw, Indiana||WRSW-AM||1480 AM|
|Columbus, Indiana||WRZQ-FM||107.3 FM|
|Loogootee, Indiana||WRZR-FM||94.5 FM|
|South Bend, Indiana||WSMM-FM||102.3 FM|
|Goshen, Indiana||WSSM-FM||97.7 FM|
|Plymouth, Indiana||WTCA-AM||1050 AM|
|Tell City, Indiana||WTCJ-AM||1230 AM|
|Owensboro, Kentucky||WVJS-AM||1420 AM|
|Olney, Illinois||WVLN-AM||740 AM|
|Washington, Indiana||WWBL-FM||106.5 FM|
|Terre Haute, Indiana||WWVR-FM||105.5 FM|
|Muncie, Indiana||WXFN-AM||1340 AM|
|Mount Vernon, Indiana||WYFX-FM||106.7 FM|
|Mount Carmel, Illinois||WYNG-FM||94.9 FM|
|Portland, Indiana||WZBD-FM||92.7 FM|
|Vincennes, Indiana||WZDM-FM||92.1 FM|
|National Football League (2013)|
|Buffalo Bills||Baltimore Ravens||Houston Texans||Denver Broncos|
|Miami Dolphins||Cincinnati Bengals||Indianapolis Colts||Kansas City Chiefs|
|New England Patriots||Cleveland Browns||Jacksonville Jaguars||Oakland Raiders|
|New York Jets||Pittsburgh Steelers||Tennessee Titans||San Diego Chargers|
|Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||Atlanta Falcons||Arizona Cardinals|
|New York Giants||Detroit Lions||Carolina Panthers||St. Louis Rams|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Green Bay Packers||New Orleans Saints||San Francisco 49ers|
|Washington Redskins||Minnesota Vikings||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Seattle Seahawks|
|Seasons (by team) · Regular season · Playoffs · AFC Championship · NFC Championship · Super Bowl (champions · quarterbacks) · Pro Bowl
League Championship History: AFL Championship (1960–1969) · NFL Championship (1920–1969) · One-game playoff · Playoff Bowl
|Owners · Officials · Properties · Stadiums (chronology) · Timeline · Defunct franchises · Records (individual, team, quarterback win–loss, Super Bowl) · All-Pro · Hall of Fame · Lore · Nicknames · AFL · Merger · History in Los Angeles, Toronto (Bills Series) · International Series · TV · Radio · Management Council · NFLPA · Player conduct (suspended players) · Draft · Training camp · Preseason (Hall of Fame Game, American Bowl) · Kickoff · Monday Night Football · Playoff streaks · Playoff droughts · Rivalries · Thanksgiving Classic · Christmas games · NFL Charities · Tied games · Cancelled games · Lockouts · Controversies · Cheerleading|
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