The Indianapolis Colts have been around in the National Football League (NFL) for a long time. But compared to the other football teams, the Colts might be considered one of the younger teams in the league.
The Colts’ history traces way back to the mid-1940s but in a different city and state – Baltimore, Maryland, as the Baltimore Colts. The Baltimore Colts team was founded in the All-America Football (AAFC) in 1947. In 1950, the Colts became an NFL team as part of the negotiations between the NFL and the AAFC. However, this venture fizzled and the franchise was dissolved after the 1950 season.
However, the Baltimore Colts seemed to find luck on their side. In 1953, the Dallas Texans franchise was disbanded, giving the Baltimore Colts another chance to become an NFL team once again. The league’s commissioner at that time, Bert Bell, presented a challenge to the city of Baltimore: to sell 15,000 season tickets in the span of six weeks. The challenge was met successfully, as tickets became sold out in just over four weeks. A businessman named Carroll Rosenbloom brought the NFL franchise to the team in January 1953, which made him its principal owner.
For the next 14 years, the Baltimore Colts enjoyed a generally good run, never experiencing a losing season. It went on to win the NFL championships in 1958, 1959 and 1968, thanks to the its powerful roster led by the star quarterback Johnny Unitas and his able-bodied support such as Artie Donovan, Raymond Berry, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore and others.
Rosenbloom went on to own the Baltimore Colts until 1972, after he traded the franchise to Robert Irsay (who owned the Los Angeles Rams at that time). About a year later, Unitas left the Colts and was traded to the San Diego Chargers. It seems that the magic had left the Colts after some of its remarkable figures, who had built the team over the years, moved out. Since the changes, the Colts were experiencing one loss after another and were also suffering dismal fan attendance.
For this reason, the Colts said goodbye to Baltimore and moved to Indiana in 1984, becoming the Indianapolis Colts. The move was met with so much fuss and fanfare. But it wasn’t a good start either, as the now-Indianapolis Colts were struggling in their new turf. During that time the team was experiencing frequent changes in their coaching staff. They also tried with seventeen different starting quarterbacks.
The Indianapolis Colts began to enjoy moderate successes, making a total of three postseason appearance in the next thirteen seasons. They met with most successes in 1995-1996. In 1995 they almost won the American Championship Game, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Colts’ fate began to change remarkably with the arrival of quarterback Peyton Manning in 1998. With his skills and leadership, the Colts became one of the teams to reckon with. For the first time in 36 seasons, Manning led the Colts to the Super Bowl championship in 2006.
If you are new Colts fan — or a football fan in general — this article is quite informative and fun to read at the same time: “Interesting Facts about the NFL.”