Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Founded: 1953 after NFL gave Baltimore remains of the original Dallas Texans
- There had been a previous Colts team in the NFL in 1950, after joining the NFL from the All-American Football Conference
- Formerly known as: Baltimore Colts (1953-1983)
- Home field: RCA Dome
- Previous home field: Memorial Stadium (Baltimore) (1953-1983)
- Uniform colors: blue and white
- Helmet design: white background, blue horseshoe
- League championships won: NFL: 1958, 1959, 1968, 1970.
- Super Bowl appearances: World Championship Super Bowl III (lost), NFL Championship Super Bowl V (won)
There have been two unrelated NFL teams called the Baltimore Colts.
The team that is now currently the Indianapolis Colts can be said to have had a long trip to get to where they are today. Officially the NFL considers the Colts to have begun play in 1953 in Baltimore. It was created from the nucleus that had previously been the Boston Yanks 1944-48, New York Bulldogs 1949, New York Yanks 1950-51 and the Dallas Texans 1952.
Meanwhile, the first Colts team started in the All-America Football Conference in 1946 as the Miami Seahawks. They moved to Baltimore in 1947. In 1950, they joined the National Football League and finished the season with a record of 1 – 11. They folded after the 1950 season; however, supporting groups such as a fan club and a marching band reamined in operation and worked for the team's revival.
In 1953, Carroll Rosenbloom became the principal owner of the new NFL Baltimore Colts. In 1958, coached by Hall of Famer Weeb Ewbank, the Colts defeated the New York Giants 23-17 in the NFL championship game, an overtime contest sometimes called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The Colts repeated as NFL champions in 1959, beating the Giants again, 31-16. In the early 1960s the Colts continued as an elite NFL team although they lost the NFL championship game in 1964 to the Cleveland Browns, 27-0.
In 1968, after a 13-1 season, they gained a measure of revenge against the Browns, defeating them 34-0 in the NFL championship game. The 13-1 regular season and the trouncing of the Browns led NFL-based media to call the Colts "the greatest pro football team of all time". The Colts went into Super Bowl III (the first in the series to officially be called the Super Bowl) against the American Football League's New York Jets as 17-point favorites, with NFL icons like Pro Bowlers Bobby Boyd (db), Mike Curtis (lb), John Mackey (te), Tom Matte (rb), Fred Miller (dl), Earl Morrall (qb), Willie Richardson (wr), and Bob Vogel (ol).
The result of the game was one of the greatest upsets in sports history as Joe Namath and Matt Snell led the American Football League champion Jets to a World Championship over the NFL's Colts, 16-7. Ironically, the Jets were coached by Weeb Ewbank, who had previously led the Colts to two NFL titles.
Rosenbloom, Art Modell (Browns), and Art Rooney (Steelers) facilitated the NFL merger with the American Football League, by joining the ten AFL teams in the AFC. After the NFL merged with the AFL in 1970, the Colts moved to the American Football Conference (AFC) and won the AFC championship against the Oakland Raiders 27-17. Baltimore went on to win the first post-merger Super Bowl (Super Bowl V) against the NFC's Dallas Cowboys 16-13, on a Jim O'Brien field goal. Since there was only one league after 1969, the Colts' 1970 Super Bowl win was the NFL championship, as were all Super Bowls thereafter.
On July 13, 1972, Rosenbloom traded the Colts to Robert Irsay for the Los Angeles Rams, but the players remained in their same respective cities. The Colts made the playoffs four more times in the 1970s - a wild card in 1972 and three consecutive AFC East titles in 1975 through 1977 (led in these latter years by the NFL's best defensive line, known colloquially as the "Sack Pack"), but then endured nine consecutive losing seasons beginning in 1978, a year which saw the club get shut out in its first two games - a fate which has befallen no NFL team since. In 1981, the defense was the main problem: The Colts allowed an NFL-record 533 points, and also set an all-time record for fewest sacks (13) and a modern record for fewest punt returns (12). The following year the offense collapsed: On November 28, 1982, the Colts' offense did not cross mid-field in an entire game, played at Buffalo against the Bills; this would not happen again in an NFL game until 2000. The Colts also finished 0-8-1 in 1982, only nine games having been played that year due to a 57-day players' strike; no NFL team has since neglected to win a game in an entire season.
Faced with the aforementioned competitive difficulties and wanting a new stadium, team owner Robert Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis in Mayflower trucks in the middle of the night on March 29,1984, after the Maryland legislature threatened to give the city of Baltimore the right to seize the team by eminent domain. Since 1987, the Colts have had mixed success at best. They have appeared in the playoffs seven years since then, with their best advance to the AFC championship game in 1995, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16, and in 2003, when they won the AFC South Division title, defeated the Denver Broncos in the wild-card playoff, and advanced to play the Kansas City Chiefs in a divisional playoff, winning 38-31. In the AFC Championship game, they were defeated 24-14 by the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots; the defeat prevented Tony Dungy from becoming the first African American head coach ever to lead a team to the Super Bowl.
Players of note
- Dwight Freeney
- Marvin Harrison
- Edgerrin James
- Peyton Manning
- Brandon Stokley
- Mike Vanderjagt
- Reggie Wayne
Retired numbers: 19 Johnny Unitas 22 Buddy Young 24 Lenny Moore 70 Art Donovan 77 Jim Parker 82 Raymond Berry 89 Gino Marchetti
Not to be forgotten:
- Duane Bickett
- Marshall Faulk
- Jim Harbaugh
- Bert Jones
- Lydell Mitchell
- Earl Morrall
- Bubba Smith
- Weeb Ewbank (1907-1998) (Only man to coach teams to an NFL championship, an American Football League Championship, and a World Championship.)
- Carroll Rosenbloom
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