Indianapolis Colts Team History

For nearly 40 years the Colts called Baltimore home. During that time, with players such as Johnny Unitas and coaches such as Don Shula, the Colts enjoyed great success and popularity. The team won two World Championships, and the 1971 Super Bowl. But after three more division titles in the mid-70s, the Colts went into a decline, posting a 2-14 record in 1980 and an 0-8-1 record in the strike-shortened 1982 season. Owner Robert Irsay, who acquired the Colts in 1972, wanted the city of Baltimore to upgrade its stadium. But with attendance dwindling and the team playing poorly, city officials were wary of such an investment. Without a deal to be found with the city of Baltimore, the Colts franchised decided it needed to relocate.

Professional football came to Indianapolis March 28, 1984, when Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the historic NFL franchise from Baltimore to Indianapolis - the friendly heart of the Midwest. The roots of the franchise go back to December 28, 1946, when the bankrupt Miami Seahawks of the All-America Football Conference were purchased and relocated in Baltimore by a group headed by Bob Rodenberg.

Indianapolis Colts Chronological History

Carroll Rosenbloom moved the NFL's Dallas franchise to Baltimore where they kept the Colts name but adopted the Dallas colors of blue and white
The Colts defeated the New York Giants 23-17 for the "World Championship" (the precurser to the Super Bowl , in what would later be called "The Greatest Game Ever Played".
Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts won a club record 11 consecutive games. That year Raymond Berry caught his 506th career pass and Lenny Moore scored 20 touchdowns - both NFL records at the time.
the Colts won Super Bowl V. They defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 by kicking a field goal with five seconds remaining in the game.
The Colts drafted John Elway but six days later traded him to Denver for Chris Hinton and Mark Herrmann. Attendance in Baltimore was falling, the city refused requests to refurbish the stadium and rumors were rampant as early as mid-1983 that Irsay was looking to move the team.
Hopes were high, and with reason. Not only did the Colts have a new home "Indianapolis" and a new venue in the 60,000-seat Hoosier Dome, they had had recent success and a slew of offensive talent that had produced the second-best running game in the NFL the previous season.
After a hard fought victory over the Buccaneers 24-6 the Colts clinched their first division title in 10 years. Dickerson rushed 33 times for 196 yards, then the second-highest rushing total in Colts history, and a defense that held three of its final four opponents to six points or less held Buccaneers quarterback Vinny Testaverde to 8-of-31 passing 163 yards. The Buccaneers managed just 232 total yards.
There was drama. There were heartbreaks. There were more comebacks than could rightfully be expected in a single NFL season. And there was very nearly a Super Bowl appearance. Such was the story of the Indianapolis Colts’ 1995 season. The Colts started out the season as a contender, and then needed a victory in the final game of the season to make the playoffs. Two upset victories later, the Colts came within a play of making Super Bowl XXX, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-16, in the AFC Championship Game in Three Rivers Stadium. That game is the closest the Indianapolis Colts have come in 19 seasons to making the Super Bowl.
The Colts, one season removed from a 3-13 season that ensured them the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, repeated that season in 1998. They won just three games but something important happened during the year: Peyton Manning began to develop as a franchise quarterback. Manning, the first overall choice in the NFL Draft the previous April, struggled at the start of the season, but quickly showed signs of future stardom. He finished the season having completed 326 of 575 passes for 3,739 yards and 26 touchdowns with 26 interceptions and in mid-November, he engineered a dramatic, 24-23 come-from-behind victory over the playoff-bound New York Jets.
The Colts, after back-to-back 3-13 seasons, started the 1999 season 2-2, then won 11 consecutive games to clinch their first AFC Eastern Division title since 1987. They also clinched a the first home playoff game since the 1984 move to Indianapolis. They finished 13-3 for a single-season turnaround of 10 games, the biggest such turnaround in NFL history. "It was a fast turnaround," Manning said. "It definitely came faster than we expected. We knew we’d be a better football team this year, but we didn’t know we’d be this good." Statistically, the Colts were very, very good. Manning, in his second season, made the Pro Bowl for the first time, as did wide receiver Marvin Harrison and rookie running back Edgerrin James, who led the NFL in rushing in his first season.
Head coach Jim Mora was fired at the end of the season and was replaced by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy
The Colts lost to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in the 2003 AFC Championship Game
The Colts lost to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in the 2004 divisional playoff game
Colts began the 2005 season with a 13-0 record, including a regular season victory over the Patriots, the first in the Manning. 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 lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round, a disappointing end to the season
Indianapolis entered the 2006 season with a veteran quarterback, receivers, and defenders, and chose Joseph Addai in the 2006. Indianapolis finished 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 faced the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl, winning the game 29-17 and giving Manning, Polian, Irsay, and Dungy, as well as the city of Indianapolis, their first Super Bowl title.
Indianapolis opens their new stadium Lucas Oil Stadium to the public on August 24, 2008. Lucas Oil Stadium replaced the RCA Dome as the home field of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. The stadium is often referred to as "The House That Manning Built", even though Peyton Manning is no longer with the Colts organization.
Tony Dungy announced his retirement after seven seasons as head coach, having compiled an overall record of 92-33 with the team. Dungy was replaced by Jim Caldwell. The Colts went 14-0 during the season to finish with an overall record of 14-2 after controversially benching their starters during the last two games. They marched to Superbowl XLIV only to lose to the Saints 31-17
Colts lose wild card game to the Jets. This is the final 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
Owner Jim Irsay started to again rebuild the Colts during the 2012 offseason, hiring a new general manager in Ryan Grigson and a 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 also drafted his teammate Coby Fleener in the second round
In week 7, Luck led the Colts to a 39-33 win over his predecessor, Peyton Manning, and the undefeated Broncos. This win was an emotional one for the Colts and their fans. Luck went on to lead the Colts to a 15th division championship later that season. Andrew Luck led the Colts to a 45-44 victory over Kansas City, outscoring the Chiefs 35-13 in the second half in one of the biggest comebacks in NFL Playoff history. The Colts would come up short with a loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the divisional game 43-22.

Indianapolis Colts Franchise Information

  • Franchise Granted: 1953
  • First Season: 1953
  • Franchise History:
  • 1953-1983 Baltimore Colts (NFL)
  • 1984 - Present Indianapolis Colts (NFL)

Baltimore's first pro football team was a member of the 1947 AAFC. A fan contest produced the Colts name reflecting the great tradition and proud history of horse breeding and racing in the Baltimore region. The original Colts disbanded after the 1950 season but the name was retained when a new Baltimore franchise began play in 1953. The team moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

Indianapolis Colts - Stadium

Indianapolis Colts Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium

500 South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46225
Opened: 2008
Capacity: 70,000
Surface: FieldTurf
Cost: $720 Million
Type: Retractable Roof
Indianapolis Colts (NFL) (2008-present)
IHSAA (Football State Finals) (2008-present)
ISSMA (Band State Finals) (2008-present)
NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four (2010, 2015)
NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four (2016)
Bands of America (2008-present)
Drum Corps International (2009-2018)
Super Bowl XLVI (2012)
Circle City Classic (2008-Present)
Big Ten Football Championship Game (2011-2015)
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament (Sweet 16 and Elite Eights) (2009, 2013, 2014)

Previous Stadiums

Memorial Stadium (1953-1983)
RCA Dome (1984-2007)

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts history


Chuck Pagano
2012 -
Bruce Arians
Jim Caldwell
2009 - 2011
Tony Dungy
2002 - 2008
Jim Mora
1998 - 2001
Lindy Infante
1996 - 1997
Ted Marchibroda
1992 - 1995
Rick Venturi
Ron Meyer
1986 - 1991
Rod Dowhower
1985 - 1986
Hal Hunter
Frank Kush
1982 - 1984
Mike McCormick
1980 - 1981
Ted Marchibroda
1975 - 1979
Joe Thomas
Howard Schnellenberger
1973 - 1974
John Sandusky
Don McCafferty
1970 - 1972
Don Shula
1963 - 1969
Weeb Ewbank
1954 - 1962
Keith Molesworth

Retired Numbers

#19 Johnny Unitas #22 Buddy Young #24 Lenny Moore #70 Art Donovan #77 Jim Parker #82 Raymond Berry #89 Gino Marchetti

League Championships

1958 (NFL), 1959 (NFL), 1971 Superbowl V, 2006 Superbowl XLI

Conference Championships

1958 (WFC), 1959 (WFC), 1964 (WFC), 1968 (WFC), 1970 (AFC), 2006 (AFC), 2009 (AFC)

Division Championships

1958 (AFL), 1959 (AFL), 1964 (AFL), 1968 (NFL West), 1970 (AFC), 1971 (AFC), 1995 (AFC East), 2003 (AFC South), 2006 (AFC South), 2009 (AFC South)

Wild Card Wins

1995 (AFC East), 2003 (AFC South), 2004 (AFC South), 2006 (AFC South), 2013 (AFC South)

Years in Playoffs

1958, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1987, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013

Hall of Fame Members

Y. A. Tittle
1948, 1949, 1950
Joe Perry
1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963
George Blanda
Raymond Berry
1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
John "Johnny" Unitas
1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972
Art Donovan
1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961
Don Shula
1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
Gino Marchetti
1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
Weeb Ewbank
1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962
Berry Richmond
1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
Lenny Moore
1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
Jim Parker
1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
John Mackey
1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971
Ted Hendricks
1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973
Eric Dickerson
1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991