Indianapolis Colts Football
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional football team located in the AFC South Division of the NFL. Originally the Baltimore Colts, the team relocated to Indianapolis in 1984.
They are the first team in league history to win 12 or more games in five straight seasons, and they have captured five NFL Championships, including two Super Bowl wins.
The Colts played their home games at the RCA Dome for 24 years, but they will begin play at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008. They were also the first NFL franchise to feature cheerleaders.
The Baltimore Colts first played in the All-America Football Conference in 1946 as the Miami Seahawks. The following year, they were purchased and moved to Baltimore. The team name was determined by a contest.
They joined the NFL in 1950, but the franchise folded after one season. Fans protested, and so the league started another Colts team from the remains of the defunct Dallas Texans. This team began play in 1953.
Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, the team won four NFL Championships as the Baltimore Colts, including a victory in Super Bowl V. Their 1958 NFL Championship victory over the New York Giants would later be known as The Greatest Game Ever Played.
In 1968, the team took on the AFLs New York Jet franchise led by Joe Namath. In a shocking upset, the Jets won Super Bowl III, upsetting the Colts by a score of 16-7. The Jets were led by Weeb Ewbank, the man who coached the Colts to their first two NFL titles.
Following the AFL/NFL merger, the Colts made the playoffs five times in the 1970s, led by players such as quarterback Bert Jones and a defensive line known as the Sack Pack. 1977, however, would mark their final playoff appearance for a decade.
The Colts were eliminated from the 1977 postseason when a pass from Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler was caught by Dave The Ghost Casper to set up a field goal in a double overtime game. This pass would come to be known as Ghost to the Post.
Quarterback John Elway was drafted by the team in 1983, but he refused to play for the Colts. They eventually relented and traded him to the Denver Broncos.
The NFL – Indianapolis Colts
In 1984, the lease on the teams stadium had expired, and their owner wanted either an upgrade or a completely new stadium. When a law was passed which gave the city of Baltimore the right to seize ownership of the team through eminent domain, negotiations began in earnest with Indianapolis.
On March 29th, Mayflower moving trucks were sent to the Colts training complex at 2:00 am. An hour later, the Colts were packed and moving to Indianapolis under the cover of darkness.
The Indianapolis Colts football team struggled for the next three seasons but finally made the playoffs in 1987. This was largely due to the arrival of running back Eric Dickerson.
The Colts failed to make the postseason the following seven years. They bounced back in 1995, however, led by the likes of Jim Harbaugh and Marshall Faulk. That season, they advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
In 1997, the team went 3-13 and earned the first pick in the NFL draft. That selection was used to get University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning. The following year, the team used another high draft selection to take running back Edgerrin James (they had traded runner Marshall Faulk to the Rams rather than give him the large contract he demanded).
The team made the playoffs in 1999 and 2000, but they dropped back to 6-10 in 2001. Jim Mora was fired as the head coach, and Tony Dungy was brought on board.
Since Dungys arrival, the team has made the playoffs every season. They have also won at least 10 games every year. In 2006, the Colts advanced to Super Bowl XLI and defeated the Chicago Bears by a score of 29 to 17. During these seasons, players such as Peyton Manning and Bob Sanders earned numerous awards for their on-field performances.
Current Stars of the Indie Colts
The current Colts roster features a number of high profile NFL stars. These include:
Colts Hall of Fame and Retired Numbers
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has inducted the following Colts players: Eric Dickerson, Don Shula, Weeb Ewbank, Johnny Unitas, Jim Parker, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, John Mackey, Ted Hendricks, Art Donovan and Raymond Berry.
The team has retired the following jerseys: Johnny Unitas (19), Buddy Young (22), Lenny Moore (24), Art Donovan (70), Jim Parker (77), Raymond Berry (82) and Gino Marchetti (89).