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The History of the Colts: Discover Stats of Past Players

The Indianapolis Colts is an NFL franchise with a very interesting history. The franchise, originally known as the Baltimore Colts (1953–84), has won three NFL championships (1958, 1959, 1968) and two Super Bowls (1971, 2007). There had been two professional football teams with the name Baltimore Colts before 1953, and continued fan support in the Baltimore area led the NFL to approve the purchase and relocation of a franchise by Baltimore-based owners.

These current Indianapolis Colts originated from the dissolved Dallas Texans NFL team in 1953. The new Baltimore Colts were the first NFL team to have cheerleaders in 1954 and won back-to-back NFL Championships in 1958 and 1959, both beating the New York Giants. The first contest was dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and was likely the most critical moment in the popularization of professional football in the latter half of the 20th century.

In 1970 the Baltimore Colts became one of three NFL teams to join the incoming AFL teams in the newly formed American Football Conference. The Colts were paid 3 million dollars for volunteering to change conferences. A year after, in 1971, the Colts won their first Super Bowl, a 16–13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The franchise suffered many mediocre seasons and no playoff victories for the remainder of the team’s tenure in Baltimore.

Which lasted until 1984 when owner Robert Irsay, after failing to get local government funding for a new stadium, relocated the team to Indianapolis. Where the relocated Colts initially struggled, qualifying for postseason play only once in their first 11 seasons in Indianapolis. That was until the Colts drafted Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning, and Edgerrin James in the space of 4 years, completely revitalizing a previously stagnant offense into one of the NFL’s best in the 2000s. The team finally won their second Super Bowl in 2007, beating the Chicago Bears.

After a 14 – 2 record in 2009 and a Super Bowl appearance – where they lost to New Orleans Saints – the Indianapolis Colts had to revamp their squad after the retirements or departures of Harrison, Manning, and James. After an uncharacteristic down season, ending the team’s streak of nine consecutive seasons of at least 10 victories (which also included an NFL-record seven straight 12-win campaigns 2003–09), the Indianapolis Colts earned the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft, which they spent on quarterback Andrew Luck. This move launched another period of success for the franchise. The Colts got to a surprising 11–5 season that culminated in a first-round playoff loss in Andrew’s first season with the team.

Indianapolis Colts won their division in both 2013 and 2014 and had a streak of three straight division titles before it was broken in 2015 when they only could manage an 8 – 8 record. Andrew underwent shoulder surgery after the 2016 season. Still, complications during his recovery kept him out of the entirety of the following season and even though he made a triumphant return to the team in 2018. Where he played the full season leading the Colts to the playoffs and a 10 win season after starting 1 – 5, Andrew shocked the sports world by suddenly retiring days before the start of the 2019 season.

In the Colts 69 years of existence, they have had some of the most important, influential, talented players ever to represent the NFL shield. What follows is a quick recap of highlights from the careers of some of those greats.

Best Players Who Have Played For The Colts

  • Andrew Luck – Sadly, we start with the last or projected great quarterback the Colts franchise had on their books. Andrew Luck only had six seasons in the NFL but he certainly made use of his short time, he had four seasons with over 4,000 yards: 2012 (4,374), 2014 (4761), 2016 (4,240) and 2018 (4,593), and retired with the second most passing touchdowns in a player’s first six seasons in the NFL (171) trailing only Hall of Famer Dan Marino.


  • Eric Dickerson – Eric finished with 1,659 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading the league in rushing in 1988. He ended his career with the Colts with three Pro Bowls and over 5,000 rushing yards.


  • Marshall Faulk – Marshall finished with 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning the Rookie of the Year award and a Pro Bowl selection in 1994. He went to three Pro Bowls as a member of the Colts and had 5,320 yards and 42 touchdowns.


  • John Unitas – Between ’56 and ’72, Unitas helped to popularize the forward pass-happy offense. He threw 287 touchdown passes in his career and gained 14.2 yards-per-completion, impressive statistics, especially for those times.


  • Raymond Berry – Three straight times, Raymond led the league in receptions and caught a then-record 631 passes for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns in his 13-year career. He was selected to play in six Pro Bowl games during his career and was a first- or second-team All-Pro choice in 1957 through 1961 and again in 1965.


  • Edgerrin James – During his first two seasons with the Colts, Edgerrin was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year, went to two Pro Bowls, and held the rushing title in the 1999 and 2000 seasons. He finished his time in Indianapolis as the all-time leading rusher for the franchise with 9,226 yards and appeared in four Pro Bowls.


  • Marvin Harrison – Marvin had 1102 receptions in a 13-year career. He scored 128 touchdowns and caught 14,580 yards at 13.2 yards-per-catch. Marvin also had the single-season record for catches with 143, which he set in 2002. He was invited to the Pro Bowl 8 times and was a First-team All-Pro 3 times and a Second All-Pro 5 times.


  • Peyton Manning – While Peyton was with the Indianapolis Colts, he was a 12-time Pro Bowler, four-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and the team’s all-time leader in wins (141), passing touchdowns (399), passing yards (54828), and completions (4682).
The insane history of Indianapolis Colts is breathtaking

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