Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com
The Indianapolis Colts play in the National Football League’s (NFL) American Football Conference (AFC) South division. Founded in 1953, they were originally based in Baltimore and known as the Baltimore Colts, relocating to Indianapolis in 1984.
The team play at the Lucas Oil Stadium and have won the Super Bowl on two occasions, in 1970 and 2006, beating the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears respectively. The team have had a number of star players in the past including Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison and the tradition continues to this day with their star quarterback Andrew Luck.
- Full Name: Indianapolis Colts
- Conference: American Football Conference
- Division: South
- Location: Indianapolis
- Stadium Name: Lucas Oil Stadium
- Year Established: 1953
- Owner: Jim Irsay
- Head Coach: Chuck Pagano
- Manager: Ryan Grigson
- Nickname: None
- Mascot: Blue
- Team Colours: Royal blue & white
Inside the Colts’ former stadium – the RCA Dome
(rick seeney / Alexey Stiop)
The Colts were originally founded in 1953 in Baltimore, Maryland, originating from the dissolved Dallas Texans team. Prior to 1953, there had been two other football teams in the area called the Baltimore Colts and the fact that there was still a lot of football support in the area led to the purchase and relocation of the defunct Dallas Texans by a group of Baltimore businessmen. The Texans, now known as the Baltimore Colts, hired Weeb Ewbank as head coach in 1954 followed by Johnny Unitas in 1956 who would go on to become on of the NFL’s greatest ever quarterbacks.
By the late 50s, the Colts had an awesome offence that, as well as Unitas, featured three other future Hall of Famers: Lenny Moore, Raymond Berry and Jim Parker. 1958 saw them defeat the New York Giants 23-17 in the NFL championship game, which was televised nationally. A dynamic and exciting game that saw running back Alan Ameche score a touchdown in sudden death, it is widely regarded as the single biggest moment in popularising football across the nation. For this reason it is known as ‘the Greatest Game Ever Played’. The Colts repeated their win the following year, once again against the Giants.
The next time the Colts would appear in a title game was 1969 when the Colts met the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. Despite being the big favourites, the AFL’s New York Jets beat them 16-7. The Colts would not have a long wait until their first Super Bowl win, as they beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in 1971.
Unitas left the team in 1973 and the following years were mediocre, to say the least, with not one playoff victory between 1973 and 1984. It was in this year that would see the Colts move to Indianapolis in a sudden move that actually occurred overnight and was a big shock to fans in the Baltimore area. Now located in Indianapolis, the Colts poor run of form continued and they qualified for the playoffs just once in their first 11 seasons in the city. 1998 saw Indianapolis sign quarterback, Peyton Manning, who along with running back, Edgerrin James, and wide receiver, Marvin Harris, became one of the NFL’s best offenses. Whilst this resulted in several six out of seven visits to the playoffs between 2000 and 2006, they were unable to advance further.
2007 was a better year for the Colts and they finally reached another Super Bowl, beating the Chicago Bears. 2009 saw the Indianapolis Colts advance to the Super Bowl again but this time they were beaten by underdogs the New Orleans Saints. Manning was absent from the 2011 season in its entirety thanks to a neck industry and it showed in the team’s record, winning just two games all season. This, however, led them to first pick in the draft and they drafted quarterback, Andrew Luck. Manning was then released and the team began building around luck and other younger players. Since then, the Colts have won two division championships and fans are looking forward to the future.
Super Bowl Appearances
2009 Super Bowl XLIV New Orleans Saints 31 – Indianapolis Colts 17
Played at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, the Colts faced the New Orleans Saints. The Colts came into the game out and out favourites and went 10-0 up in the first quarter. However, the Saints came back strong and the Colts were eventually beaten 31-17 in their fourth-ever Super Bowl. The game was watched by a total global audience of over 150 million who also saw a spectacular halftime show by The Who.
2006 Super Bowl XLI Indianapolis Colts 29 – Chicago Bears 17
Super Bowl XLI was played at the Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on February 4, 2007. The third appearance in a Super Bowl for the Colts, it saw them beat the Chicago Bears by 29-17 with the Colts with Peyton Manning being voted the Most Valuable Player. The audience of 93-million enjoyed a National Anthem sung by Billy Joel and a half time show by the iconic Prince.
1970 Super Bowl V Baltimore Colts 16 – Dallas Cowboys 13
Played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida this was the first ever Super Bowl played on artificial turf. It was also the first-ever Super Bowl to be played following the AFL-NFL merger. Thanks to a series of poor official decisions it is often described as the ‘Blunder Bowl’. By the end of the third quarter, the Colts had to overcome a 13-6 deficit, as well as the loss of their star quarterback, Johnny Unitas. The Colts scored a straight 10 points in the final period of the game to win 16-13 against the Dallas Cowboys.
1968 Super Bowl III New York Jets 16 – Baltimore Colts 7
The third ever Super Bowl was played at the Miami Orange Bowl and saw the Colts take on the New York Jets. Played in front of 75,389 spectators and a TV audience of 41 million, the Colts were expected by many to win but were eventually defeated 16-7 by the Jets.
Lucas Oil Stadium (Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com)
The Indianapolis Colts play at the Lucas Oil Stadium, which is situated at 500 South Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis. The stadium was officially opened in 2008 was a replacement for the Colts’ previous home the RCA Dome. The stadium was designed by HKS, Inc and is both an indoor and outdoor stadium thanks to its retractable roof and window wall. It has an artificial grass surface and has a capacity of 62,421.
As well as being home to the Indianapolis Colts, the stadium is also well known for being home to two very famous American music competitions. One includes the Bands of America’s Grand National Championships, featuring the nation’s best high school marching bands. And, the other competition includes the Drum Corps International Championships, featuring professional marching bands made up of the best of brass, percussion, and color guards.
Peyton Manning (1998-2011)
Not just one of the best ever Colts players, Manning is undoubtedly one of the best ever quarterbacks to play in the NFL. His record speaks for itself: 12 time Pro-Bowler, a Super Bowl champion, a four-time NFL Most Valuable Player, and a multiple record holder for the Colts. Replaced by Andrew Luck, time will tell if he’s able to surpass his predecessors amazing career.
Marvin Harrison (1996-2008)
The best ever receiver ever to play for the Colts, he had a remarkable relationship with Peyton Manning, the duo finishing an amazing 112 touchdowns, the most any pairing of quarterback and wide receiver have in NFL history. A truly amazing layer and one who remains popular to this day.
Reggie Wayne (2001-2014)
Playing his entire career with the Indianapolis Colts, Wayne always made a big impact in games. During his career, Wayne made the Pro-Bowl six times, recorded 968 receptions for 13,063 yards and 78 touchdowns.
Did You Know?
- The Indianapolis Colts were originally based in Baltimore and known as the Baltimore Colts.
- Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck has his own book club.
- Johnny Unitas played the role of a head coach in the 1999 Oliver Stone film ‘Any Given Sunday’.
- In 2007, Bob Sanders became the first Colts player to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
- Peyton Manning was the first ever Colts quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a game.