Indianapolis Colts Information
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They currently belong to the Southern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team began play in 1953 as a second incarnation of the previous Baltimore Colts team in the NFL. The original Colts team began play in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference and joined the NFL in 1950 after the AAFC merged into the older league, but folded after the season. After fans in Baltimore, Maryland protested, the NFL formed this newer Colts team. While in Baltimore, the club won four NFL Championships, including one Super Bowl.
Prior to the 1984 season, the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, highlighted by an infamous incident in which they packed all of their belongings into Mayflower Transit trucks in the middle of a snowy night on March 28. The move angered many Baltimore fans and former players so much that they completely disassociated themselves from the relocated Indianapolis team. Meanwhile, the Colts have not returned to the Super Bowl since then.
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There have been two unrelated NFL teams called the Baltimore Colts. 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 remained in operation and worked for the team's revival.
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The team that is currently the Indianapolis Colts has taken a long trip to get to where they are today. Officially the NFL considers the Colts to have begun play in 1953 in Baltimore, but it was created from the nucleus that had previously been the Boston Yanks 1944-1948, New York Bulldogs 1949, New York Yanks 1950-1951 and the Dallas Texans 1952.
In 1953, Carroll Rosenbloom became the principal owner of the new NFL Baltimore Colts. In 1958, coached by Hall of Famer Weeb Ewbank and led by Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts defeated the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium 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.
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The 1967 Colts entered the final week of the regular season undefeated, but then a 34-10 loss to the Rams at Los Angeles kept them out of the playoffs as the result gave both teams a final record of 11-1-2, with the Rams being awarded first place in the Western Conference's Coastal Division because they won the head-to-head series (the first meeting between the two teams, at Baltimore, ended in a 24-24 tie).
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..
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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. In 1971, the Colts made it back to the NFL Playoffs, they defeated the Cleveland Browns in the first round, but lost to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship on January 2, 1972 21-0.
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 1971 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. 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.
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By early 1984, team owner Robert Irsay threatened to move the team unless Baltimore city officials helped pay for a new stadium and other concessions. Despite numerous public announcements that he would not move the Colts out of Baltimore, and the Maryland legislature threatening to give the city of Baltimore the right to seize the team by eminent domain, Irsay secretly negotiated with Indianapolis to move the team. The Indiana capital agreed to give the team a $12.5 million loan, a $4 million training complex, and the use of the Hoosier Dome 1. After signing the agreement, Mayflower Transit trucks rolled into the team's training complex in the wee hours of March 28. Workers then packed and shipped the team's offices and equipment to Indianapolis. The moved triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of Baltimore and the Colts organization reached a settlement on March 1986 in which all lawsuits regarding the relocation would be dismissed, and the Colts would endorse a new NFL team for Baltimore.
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Several years later on November 6, 1995, then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to move his Browns team to Baltimore. The decision also triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of both cities and the NFL reached a settlement on February 9, 1996. It stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland. A reactivated Cleveland Browns team would then begin play in 1999, while the relocated club would technically be a new expansion team. However, the Irsay family refused to turn over the Baltimore Colts name, colors, and history. Therefore the new team was named the Baltimore Ravens after a fan vote.
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In the 2004 season, the Colts hoped to make another trip to the postseason. After losing in Week 1 to the defending champion New England Patriots 27-24 in Foxboro, they won four straight games before their week 6 bye. During that streak, they beat the Tennessee Titans in Nashville 31-17, won in the week 3 home opener against the Green Bay Packers 45-31, and then tied for the AFC South with a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium 24-17. They won at home against the Oakland Raiders 35-14 but coming off of their bye week, the Colts lost the next 2 games.
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