Whenever you’re at a football stadium, eating a hot dog loaded with ketchup and mustard while watching a live match… you may wonder about the best coaches to figure in Indianapolis Colts’ history.
Well, who are really the best Indianapolis Colts coaches for you? Check out this list and see if you will agree with it (which include the honorable mentions).
First, though, these are the three best-known Indianapolis Colts coaches with illustrious careers:
1) Tony Dungy
Tony Dungy is considered one of the best Indianapolis Colts coaches of all time. He was a former pro football player himself, having suited for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants in the National Football League (NFL), mostly as a defensive reserve. He later began to hone his coaching prowess, first becoming as an assistant coach of his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, in 1980.
In 1996 he was appointed as head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, transforming the underdogs into serious contenders. Under Dungy’s tutelage, the Buccaneers ended up second in the National Football Conference – Northern Division, their best finish in many years.
From 2002 to 2008, Dungy became head coach for the Colts. He became the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl when the Colts edged the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl XLI.
As head coach, he placed a new record for straight playoffs appearances when he clinched his tenth appearance versus the Jacksonville Jaguars (the Colts won in that match). He retired from active coaching in 2009, and since then he has had stints as an announcer on Football Night in America (NBC). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
2) Don Shula
Don Shula is now a retired football coach and player. While he may be better known as a former head coach of the Miami Dolphins (whom he led to two Super Bowl championships), he also worked as a head coach for Baltimore Colts – Indianapolis Colts’ former name – from 1963 to 1969. Under his direction, the Colts won a championship during the 1968 NFL season. He had also
In his entire 36-year career as a coach, Shula had only two losing seasons. He still holds the record of having the highest wins as head coach, with 347. Shula was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
3) Weeb Ewbank
Wilbur Charles “Weeb” Ewbank was primarily known as a head coach for the Baltimore Colts as well as the New York Jets, among other teams he had mentored.
In 1954 he became head coach of young and struggling Baltimore Colts. Then he did what was to become a turnaround for the team – bringing in quarterback Johnny Unitas. Unitas quickly became a star and would become a record-holder for the next 52 years for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He played for the Colts until 1972.
Under Ewbank’s direction and the powered-up offense led by Unitas, the Colts waltzed their way to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959.
Ewbank was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.
The honorable mentions:
1) Keith Mollesworth – The former halfback/quarterback later held a coaching career during the 1950s. He became head coach of the Baltimore Colts in 1953, during the franchise’s very first season in the league.
2) Ted Morchibroda
The former quarterback mentored several teams, including the two Colts in different decades and cities: the Baltimore Colts from 1975 to 1979, and the Indianapolis Colts from 1992 to 1995. He turned the fates of the two separate Colts around from their dismal win-loss cards with amazing, if not spectacular, finishes. The Indiana Colts fell one game shy away from the Super Bowl XXX when it lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1995.
3) Howard Schnellenberger
Schnellenberger is a retired football coach who spent only one season with the Baltimore Colts (1973-1974). However, during his short tenure as head coach, the Colts managed to defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins.