The Colts began in Baltimore, Md. as an expansion team. As with most expansion teams, they struggled their first few seasons. But with quarterback Johnny Unitas, that wouldn’t last long. In 1958 and 1959 they won back-to-back NFL championships. After four seasons following without a championship, Don Shula was hired.
Shula had the team back in the championship game in his second season, although they lost to the Browns. In 1968 they would appear in Super Bowl 3. Then came the AFL-NFL merger of 1970, and the Colts were determined to make their mark on the newly reshaped league. They dominated in 1970 and won the Super Bowl. Johnny Unitas was traded in 1972, but the team continued to play well and stayed in the playoff picture behind the strength of their defense, the Sack Pack.
Starting in 1978, it would be nine long years of losing seasons. In the meantime, trouble was brewing in Baltimore. The Colts wanted upgrades to Memorial Stadium. The city didn’t want to pay due in part to low fan attendance. This situation became so tense that the state General Assembly introduced a bill that would allow them to take ownership of the team under eminent domain. In a move never seen before in the NFL, moving vans showed up at Memorial Stadium in the middle of the night, and before noon, the team was off to Indianapolis.
Even though they were a losing team, fans welcomed them with huge ticket sales. But it wasn’t until 1987 that the team made the playoffs and after, seven more years without post-season play. But fans stuck behind the team and in the mid-90’s, they were rewarded. The Colts returned to the playoffs in 1995 and 1996.
After Tony Dungy took over, he and Peyton Manning made history. They went to the playoffs eight consecutive years, winning the Super Bowl in 2006. During this run, they lost in the playoffs to the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. This started a massive rivalry that is still raging to this day. Dungy retired after the 2008 season and Jim Caldwell was brought in.
Back in the Super Bowl in 2009, they would fall to the Saints and lose the wild card the following year. a poor season after meant the release of both Manning and Caldwell. Chuck Pagano was Caldwells replacement. Andrew Luck was drafted. Luck and the Colts were playoff contenders again in 2012, ’13, and ’14. But then came three consecutive seasons at or below .500, and Pagano’s time was done there.
Everything seemed back to normal after the hiring of Frank Reich, but following the retirement of Luck, it’s been a little rocky. But with two winning seasons, including one in the playoffs, to go with their two below .500 seasons, the team has shown they are still a threat to be taken seriously in the league. But anything but the best just won’t do for the Colts, and that was shown with the hiring of new coach Shane Steichen, who has a long and successful history on coaching staffs in the league and is expected to get the Colts back to championship form.
The Colts could be riding high in 2023, and you can ride right along with them on NFL Webcast! This is your place to watch as they look to add to their impressive 29 playoff appearances. Let the world hear you from the Crossroads of America as you cheer your team on in the live chat.
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