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Indianapolis Colts : Everything you ever wanted to know

Updated on November 11, 2010

Birth of a Franchise

The Indianapolis Colts have a lot more roots than people may think, almost too many to name on one page, but I'm going to take a shot at it.

You may fall out of your seat when you read this, but the Indianapolis Colts original members actually started out as a basketball team who went by the name of the St. Mary Cadets. Just as the Colts of today, the Cadets went on to become World Basketball Champions. After 5 years of playing basketball, the members formed a Football team. The football team had a winning season each year and won a Championship also.

Entering the NFL

In 1920 the Cadets changed their name to the Dayton Triangles and became one of the charter members of what is now known as the NFL. They formed this name because of their home stadium, Triangle Park. The Triangles went on to become one of the longest tenured traveling teams in the NFL. While all of the other NFL teams were signing top college recruits, the Triangles continued to sign local players, thus limiting their athletic potential. This forced  the Triangles NFL record to decline leading them to only five wins out of fifty-one games.

From Triangles to Colts

In 1930 the Triangles were sold to a minor league organization owner, Bill Dwyer, who moved the team to New York and renamed them, ironically, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers later combined with another team, the Boston Yanks, to become the New York Bulldogs. In 1949 the Bulldogs were renamed the New York Yanks, but after proving they were a solid team were sold back to the NFL in 1952. The new team was moved to Texas and renamed the Dallas Texans. After the Texans were unproductive, they essentially went bankrupt and the team was awarded to the NFL. The NFL then placed a team in Baltimore, Maryland, where the Colts were born.

The Baltimore Colts

Led by coach, Keith Molesworth, it didn't take long for the Colts to rise to supremacy. In 1958 they won their first championship in historic fashion. They had the New York Giants down 14-3 going into halftime, but after the Giants resurged in the second half, the fourth quarter ended in a tie 17-17. This was the first recorded sudden death over time game, and what better stage than the NFL Championship game. After a long pass to Raymond Berry, the Colts were on the 1 yard line. Alan Ameche was able to punch it in for a touchdown, sealing the game for the Colts. This game has been dubbed as "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

The next year, 1959 , the Colts went on to face the Giants again in the Championship game, but this one was far less dramatic as the Colts won 31-16. The Colts would return to the NFL Championship game again in 1964, but lose to the Browns, 27-0.

Johnny Unitas
Johnny Unitas

The Baltimore Colts Super Bowls

In 1969 the Colts reached their first Super Bowl. While this was actually the first championship game deemed to be a Super Bowl, the previous two championship games were also categorized as Super Bowls because they were between an AFL and NFL team. The Colts were favored heavily to beat the AFL contender, Jets in Superbowl III, but a young man by the name of Joe Namath was not about to let that happen. Before the game Broadway Joe guaranteed a win and followed up on his guarantee.

In 1971, the Colts would advance to the Superbowl again to face the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys led the game all the way up to the final two minutes of the game until Dallas Running Back, Dan Reeves, would fumble the ball, turning it over to the Colts in Dallas territory. The Colts went on to win the game on a 32 yard field goal with 5 seconds left.

After Superbowl V, the Baltimore Colts would not be able to return to their Championship form and were moved to the city of Indianapolis in 1984.

How the Colts got to Indianapolis

After several losing seasons, a hold out and John Elway refusing to play for the Colts, Irsay, the Colts owner, began to seek other another venue for his team. Several teams were in the running for the Colts, but only two would appeal to Irsay. Two days before the 1984 Superbowl, it seemed as if the Colts would be moving to Phoenix, Arizona. For one reason or another, Irsay cancelled further negotiations. Whilst all of this was going on, the New Orleans Saints were also looking to relocate and had Indianapolis in mind. Irsay was still unsure about where he wanted to move his team, but all of a sudden, the state of Maryland chimed in. The city of Baltimore was being given the right to seize eminent domain on the Baltimore Colts. This gave Irsay very little time to make his decision. Irsay promptly called the Mayor of Indianapolis and agreed on a contract the next day. 15 trucks arrived at the Baltimore stadium to gather all of the Colt belongings to transport it to Indianapolis. Not long after all of the trucks departed, legislation was passed and Baltimore was awarded eminent domain, but by then the Colts franchise were on their way to Indianapolis. Each truck drove different routes in order to avoid being stopped by Maryland police. Upon their arrival to the Indiana state line, several Troopers met them and escorted them all the way to the Hoosier Dome.

Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh
Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning

Start of the Indianapolis Franchise

The Indianapolis Colts would only register 3 winning seasons in their first 11 years. After having two back to back winning seasons in 1995 and 1996, the Colts once again fell to a losing season in 1997. They did, however have some great young stars in Marshall Faulk and Marvin Harrison. It wasn't until the next season that they would snag their greatest player of all time, Peyton Manning. Bill Polian decided that they would rebuild their franchise via the Draft over the next few seasons, but it came a lot quicker than he expected. Even though the Colts had an identical season in Peyton's first year, their future was looking bright.

The next year they drafted Edgerrin James and turned their previous season numbers around, going 13-3. This was the largest turn around in the history of the NFL. After finally beating their rival, the New England Patriots, the Colts reached their first Superbowl in 2007, meeting the Chicago Bears in Superbowl XLI. They would end up defeating the Bears 29-17. In 2010 the Colts would return to the Superbowl, this time to face the lowly Superbowl virgin, New Orlean Saints in Superbowl XLIV. The Colts were unable to pull out a victory over the emotional Saints and fell 31-17, giving the Saints their first Superbowl win ever.

Since the 1998 season, the Colts have only had one losing season. They stand now as the only team to have 7 consecutive 12+ victory seasons.The Colts have started out the 2010 season weaker than the previous 10, but are still winning and should easily make the playoffs once again.

Who is the Greatest Colt of All Time?

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    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 6 years ago from Michigan

      Weeb Ewbank was Johnny U's coach. When Don Shula became coach I became a Packer fan.

    Indianapolis Colts 2010 Roster

    Special Teams
    Peyton Manning QB
    Dwight Freeney DE
    Pat McAfee P
    Curtis Painter QB
    Jerry Hughes DE
    Adam Vinatieri K
    Joseph Addai RB
    Eric Foster DE
    Justin Snow LS
    Donald Brown RB
    Keyunta Dawson DE
    Mike Hart RB
    Robert Mathis DE
    Javarris James RB
    Antonio Johnson DT
    Reggie Wayne WR
    Daniel Muir DT
    Austin Collie WR
    Fili Moala DT
    Pierre Garcon WR
    Ricardo Mathews DT
    Blair White WR
    Pat Angerer OLB
    Anthony Gonzalez WR
    Gary Brackett ILB
    Brody Eldridge FB
    Tyjuan Hagler OLB
    Gijon Robinson FB
    Phillip Weaver OLB
    Jacob Tamme TE
    Clint Session OLB
    Dallas Clark TE
    Cody Glenn ILB
    Tom Santi TE
    Kavell Conner OLB
    Kyle DeVan G
    Kelvin Hayden CB
    Jamey Richard G
    Jacob Lacey CB
    Jaimie Thomas G
    Cornelius Brown CB
    Mike Pollak G/C
    Jerraud Powers CB
    Jeff Saturday C
    Justin Tryon CB
    Ryan Diem T
    Bob Sander SS
    Charlie Johnson T
    Aaron Fancisco SS
    Jeff Linkenbach T
    Mike Newton SS
    Antoine Bethea FS
    Chip Vaughn FS

    Special Players

    1rst Round Picks
    Hall of Famers
    Retired Jersey #'s
    Ring of Honor Members
    1984 Leonard Coleman #4
    Johnny Unitas
    12th Man
    1984 Ron Solt #19
    Lenny Moore
    Bill Brooks
    1985 Duane Bickett #5
    Eric Dickerson
    Tony Dungy
    1986 Jon Hand #4
    Art Donovan
    Jim Harbaugh
    1987 Cornelius Bennett #2
    Jim Parker
    Chris Hinton
    1989 Andre Rison #22
    Raymond Berry
    Robert Irsay
    1990 Jeff George #1
    Ted Hendricks
    Ted Marchibroda
    1992 Steve Emtman #1
    John Mackey
    1992 Quentin Coryatt #2
    Gino Marchetti
    1993 Sean Dawkins #16
    Weeb Ewbank
    1994 Marshall Faulk #2
    Don Shula
    1994 Trev Alberts #5
    1995 Ellis Johnson #15
    1996 Marvin Harrison #19
    1997 Tarik Glenn #19
    1998 Peyton Manning #1
    1999 Edgerrin James #4
    2000 Rob Morris #28
    2001 Reggie Wayne #30
    2002 Dwight Freeney #11
    2003 Dallas Clark #24
    2005 Marlin Jackson #29
    2006 Joseph Addai #30
    2007 Anthony Gonzalez #32
    2009 Donald Brown #27
    2010 Jerry Hughes #31

    Former Colt Greats and Past Stars

    1. Joseph Addai
    2. Trev Alberts
    3. Ashley Ambrose
    4. Flipper Anderson
    5. Cornelius Bennett
    6. Donald Brown
    7. Dallas Clark
    8. Quentin Coryatt
    9. Sean Dawkins
    10. Richard Dent
    11. Tom Detwiler
    12. Eric Dickerson
    13. Mike Doss
    14. John Elway
    15. Marshall Faulk
    16. Justin Forsett
    17. Dwight Freeney
    18. Mike Furrey
    19. Jeff George
    20. Tarik Glenn
    21. Martin Gramatica
    22. Jon Hand
    23. Jim Harbaugh
    24. Marvin Harrison
    25. Ben Hartstock
    26. Jessie Hester
    27. Qadry Ismail
    28. Edgerrin James
    29. Bert Jones
    30. Don Majkowski
    31. Peyton Manning
    32. Robert Mathis
    33. Ron Mix
    34. Lenny Moore
    35. Rob Morris
    36. Browning Nagle
    37. Freddie Joe Nunn
    38. Jim Parker
    39. Roosevelt Potts
    40. Marcus Pollard
    41. Ricky Proehl
    42. Simeon Rice
    43. Andre Rison
    44. Sean Salisbury
    45. Bob Sanders
    46. Jeff Saturday
    47. George Shaw
    48. Corey Simon
    49. Tony Siragusa
    50. Bubba Smith
    51. Brandon Stokely
    52. Matt Stover
    53. Larry Tripplett
    54. Tom Tupa
    55. Floyd Turner
    56. Tony Ugoh
    57. Ben Utecht
    58. Mike Vanderjagt
    59. Adam Vinatieri
    60. Steve Walsh
    61. Reggie Wayne
    62. Doug Widell

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