Established.... January 23, 1953
First Season.... 1953 with National Football League Westers / Costal Div.
Stadium..... Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana
Conference..... American Football Conerence East 1970-2001 / South 2002-present
Team Nicknames..... Dolts, Indianapolis .500, Ponies, Dolts, Geldings, Mules, Wild Horses
1st Game Against BUCS..... Sunday, October 03, 1976
The Buccaneers scored their first-ever regulation touchdown four games into the 1976 season and it was against the Colts. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers game debut against the Indianapolis Colts was on Sunday, October 03, 1976 during an away game in Memorial Stadium, losing 17-42. The Buuccaneers play the Colts once every four seasons as part of the NFL's inter-conference division.
The Buccaneers first victory against the Colts was at Memorial Stadium Sunday, September 09, 1979 in overtime via a 31 yard field goal by O'Donoghue.
Below click on ANY date to view extensive details of all gameday encounters. We have featured details of each opponent, highlights of each games statistics, players, scoring details, media coverage, photographs with a detailed game report. Below the listed dates we also include full details of the Opponent.
|ALL GAMES vs. COLTS (H=home @=away)
|Oct. 03, 1976
|Sep. 09, 1979
|Dec. 15, 1985
|Dec. 27, 1987
|Oct. 16, 1988
|Dec. 22, 1991
|Oct. 04, 1992
|Sep. 11, 1994
|Nov. 02, 1997
|Oct. 06, 2003
|Oct. 07, 2007
|Oct. 03, 2011
|Nov. 29, 2015
|* Dec. 08, 2019
|PLAYOFF GAMES vs. COLTS (H=home @=away)
The Indianapolis Colts are based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) South division. Since the 2008 season.
The Colts have been a member club of the NFL since their founding in 1953 in Baltimore. The Colts were one of three NFL teams to join the teams of the American Football League (AFL) to form the AFC following the 1970 merger. While in Baltimore, the team advanced to the playoffs 10 times and won three NFL Championship games: in 1958, 1959, and 1968. The Colts played in two Super Bowl games while it was based in Baltimore, losing to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, while defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. The Colts relocated to Indianapolis in 1984 and have since appeared in the playoffs 16 times, won two conference championships, and won one Super Bowl, defeating the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
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Mascot, Cheerleaders, Theme Song & Community
Blue is the official mascot of the Indianapolis Colts. He is an anthropomorphic blue horse who wears a white Colts jersey with a horseshoe on the front. He was first introduced on September 17, 2006 in the Colts' first home regular season game against the Houston Texans at the RCA Dome, in which they won 43-24. Indianapolis's victory over the Texans that day proved to be a sign of good things to come, both for Blue and for the team. That season, the Colts won Super Bowl XLI, defeating the Chicago Bears and winning their first Super Bowl since arriving in Indianapolis (second Super Bowl title overall). Since joining the Colts, Blue has served a valuable good luck charm for the team while also entertaining Colts fans.
The Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders are the official cheerleading squad of the Indianapolis Colts. The cheerleaders perform various dances at the Colts stadium Lucas Oil Stadium, and also performed at Super Bowl XLI and Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium. The squad currently has 28 members. The squad was the first cheerleading squad in the NFL, being formed in the same year as the team's inception (1954) by two women. The squad originally consisted of ten girls with white boots, crew-neck sweaters, blue scarves and a blue skirt with grey kick-pleats as uniforms.
The squad had a horse as a mascot, and often marched with the Baltimore Colts Marching Band, which was left behind in 1984 when the Colts moved to Indianapolis. The squad's annual auditions feature hundreds of women, with the group's "Audition Showcase" taking place at venues around Indianapolis. The squad has a show troupe, which travels to various cities to entertain fans. The Colts Cheerleaders release an annual swimsuit calendar. The team has a "Junior Cheerleaders" program, in which a team of 300 girls aged 7 to 14 perform at Lucas Oil Stadium and various appearances.
The Colts cheerleading squad achieved greater fame when several of them shaved their heads bald in 2012 in tribute to coach Chuck Pagano and his successful battle with leukemia.
Community outreach by the Indianapolis Colts is primarily operated by the Indianapolis Colts Foundation, who works with multiple community partners. The Indianapolis Colts organization is also a supporter of the character education program, Heart of a Champion. In 2017, the 15th annual Indianapolis Colts Charity Golf Classic raised more than $380,000 for the Foundation. More than $27.2 million has been raised for the Foundation since its creation in 2002.
The Colts' helmets in 1953 were white with a blue stripe. In 1954–55 they were blue with a white stripe and a pair of horseshoes at the rear of the helmet. For 1956 the colors were reversed. white helmet, blue stripe and horseshoes at the rear. In 1957 the horseshoes moved to their current location, one per side The blue jerseys have white shoulder stripes while the white jerseys have blue stripes. The team also wears white pants with blue stripes down the sides.
From 1982 through 1986, the Colts wore gray pants with their blue jerseys. The gray pants featured a horseshoe on the top of the sides with the player's number inside the horseshoe. The Colts continued to wear white pants with their white jerseys throughout this period, and in 1987, the gray pants were retired.
The Colts wore blue pants with their white jerseys for the first three games of the 1995 season, but then returned to white pants with both the blue and white jerseys. The team made some minor uniform adjustments before the start of the 2004 season, including reverting from blue to the traditional gray face masks, darkening their blue colors from a royal blue to speed blue, as well as adding two white stripes to the socks. In 2006, the stripes were removed from the socks.
In 2002, the Colts made a minor striping pattern change on their jerseys, having the stripes only on top of the shoulders then stop completely. Previously, the stripes used to go around to underneath the jersey sleeves. This was done because the Colts, like many other football teams, were beginning to manufacture the jerseys to be tighter to reduce holding calls and reduce the size of the sleeves. Although the white jerseys of the Minnesota Vikings at the time also had a similar striping pattern and continued as such (as well as the throwbacks the New England Patriots wore in the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions in 2002, though the Patriots later wore the same throwbacks in 2009 with truncated stripes and in 2010 became their official alternate uniform), the Colts and most college teams with this striping pattern did not make this adjustment.
Memorial Stadium was a sports stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, that formerly stood on 33rd Street (aka 33rd Street Boulevard or renamed "Babe Ruth Plaza") on an oversized block (officially designated as Venable Park, a former city park from the 1920s) also bounded by Ellerslie Avenue (west), 36th Street (north), and Ednor Road (east). Two different stadiums were located here, a 1922 version known as "Baltimore Stadium", or "Municipal Stadium", or sometimes 'Venable Stadium', and, for a time, "Babe Ruth Stadium" in reference to the then-recently deceased Baltimore native. The rebuilt multi-sport stadium, when reconstruction (expansion to an upper deck) was completed in the summer of 1954, would become known as "Memorial Stadium". The stadium was also known as "The Old Gray Lady of 33rd Street", and also (for Colts games) as "The World's Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum."
The RCA Dome (originally Hoosier Dome) was a domed stadium in Indianapolis. It was the home of the Indianapolis Colts NFL franchise for 24 seasons. It was completed at a cost of $77.5 million, as part of the Indiana Convention Center, with the costs split between private and public money. The largest crowd to attend an event at the dome was 62,167 for WrestleMania VIII in 1992. It was demolished in December 2008, as part of a project to expand the attached convention center.
On September 24, 2008, the roof of the Dome was deflated, which took about 45 minutes. The demolition of the RCA Dome was featured on the second series premiere of the National Geographic show, Blowdown.
Lucas Oil Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Indianapolis. It replaced the RCA Dome as the home field of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. The stadium also hosted Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. The stadium had its ribbon-cutting ceremony August 16, 2008, and then officially opened to the public eight days later on August 24, 2008. The stadium was constructed to allow the removal of the RCA Dome and expansion of the Indiana Convention Center on its site.
In addition to serving as a football stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium is also the well-known site for two famous music competitions in the United States: the Bands of America Grand National Championships, which feature some of the highest achieving high school marching bands, and the Drum Corps International World Championships. The field surface is FieldTurf.
Lucas Oil Stadium and the city of Indianapolis made a bid to host Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. On May 20, 2008, the bid was successful, defeating Houston, Texas and Glendale, Arizona for that right. In July 2012, Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard announced that the city was intending on hosting another Super Bowl in 2018. The stadium is also host to the annual NFL Scouting Combine in February.
The 2008 NFL season featured the first NBC Sunday Night Football game of the season in the stadium, as the Colts faced the Chicago Bears in a rematch of Super Bowl XLI. The Colts lost the game 29-13. Indianapolis won its first 2 NFL playoff games held at Lucas Oil Stadium, beating the Baltimore Ravens 20-3 in a 2009 AFC divisional playoff and the New York Jets 30-17 in the 2009 AFC Championship Game to reach Super Bowl XLIV, which the Colts lost 31-17 to the New Orleans Saints.
Baltimore Colts vs. Indianapolis Colts
The NFL treats the Baltimore Colts and the Indianapolis Colts (including logos, history, and records) as one continuous franchise from 1953 to the present. Despite this, some former Baltimore Colts players, led by Johnny Unitas, disowned the Colts franchise after the move to Indianapolis, instead choosing to remain loyal to the City of Baltimore. These former players embraced the new Baltimore Ravens franchise when it arrived in Baltimore in 1996. The Ravens responded by adding some of these players to the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor. The Ravens officially have no retired numbers, but out of respect for Unitas, only quarterback Scott Mitchell has worn the number 19, which he did in his lone season in Baltimore in 1999. The Baltimore Colts Marching Band, which continued to operate after the Colts moved, became Baltimore's Marching Ravens.
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On the other hand, there have been many former Baltimore Colts players who have embraced the franchise as continuous, from Baltimore to Indianapolis. In 2009, Jim Irsay held a reunion of his favorite Colts team ever, the 1975 AFC East champions. 39 of the 50 players on that roster attended the reunion at Lucas Oil Stadium, including quarterback Bert Jones and running back Lydell Mitchell. Also, On February 5, 2012, at Super Bowl XLVI, Hall-of-Fame Baltimore Colts wide receiver Raymond Berry carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy to midfield to present it to the New York Giants, who had just defeated the New England Patriots. He was given the honor due the game being played at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home stadium of his former team, the Colts, who had moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
Although the retired numbers of the Indianapolis Colts officially includes Unitas and others dating back to the Baltimore days, the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor currently only includes players who have played in Indianapolis, with the exception of Chris Hinton, who played for the Baltimore Colts in his rookie season in 1983.
Following World War II, a competing professional football league was organized known as the All America Football Conference which began play in the 1946 season. In its second year the franchise assigned to the Miami Seahawks was relocated to Maryland's major commercial and manufacturing city of Baltimore, which after a fan contest was renamed the Baltimore Colts and used the team colors of silver and green. These Colts played for the next three seasons in the old AAFC. until it agreed to merge with the old National Football League (of 1920–1922 to 1950), bringing into the merger of the new reorganized NFL of three former AAFC powerhouse teams: the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts (known by the designation of "AAFC" or "1947–50"). This new Colts team, now in the "big league" of professional American football for the first time, although with shaky financing and ownership however, played only one season of 1950 in the new reorganized "third" NFL, and was later disbanded and moved.Embed from Getty Images
Two years later, in 1953, a new Baltimore-based group, heavily supported by the City's municipal government and with a large subscription-base of fan-purchased season tickets, led by local owner Carroll Rosenbloom won the rights to a new Baltimore NFL franchise. Rosenbloom was awarded the remains of the former Dallas Texans team, who themselves had a long and winding history starting as the Boston Yanks in 1944, merging later with the Brooklyn Tigers, and who were previously known as the Dayton Triangles, one of the original old NFL teams established even before the League itself, in 1913. With the organization in 1920 of the original "American Professional Football Conference" "APFC", (soon renamed the "American Professional Football Association", "APF", then two years later in 1922, renamed a second time, now permanently as the "National Football League". That team later became the New York Yanks in 1950, and many of the players from the New York Yankees of the former competing All-America Football Conference (1946–49), were added to the team to begin playing in the newly merged League for the 1950 season. The Yanks then moved to Dallas in Texas after the 1951 season having competed for two seasons, but played their final two "home" games of the 1952 season as a so-called "road team" at the Rubber Bowl football stadium in Akron, Ohio. The NFL considers the Texans and Colts to be separate teams, although many of the earlier teams shared the same colors of blue and white. Thus, the Indianapolis Colts are legally considered to be a 1953 expansion team.
The third and current version of the Colts football team played their first season in Baltimore in 1953, where the team compiled a 3–9 record under first year head coach Keith Molesworth. The franchise struggled during the first few years in Baltimore, with the team not achieving their first winning record until the 1957 season. However, under head coach Weeb Ewbank and the leadership of quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts went on to a 9–3 record during the 1958 season and reached the NFL Championship Game for the first time in their history by winning the NFL Western Conference. The Colts faced the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game in what is considered to be among the greatest contests in professional football history. The Colts defeated the Giants 23–17 in the first game ever to utilize the overtime rule, a game seen by 45 million people.
Following the Colts first NFL championship, the team once again posted a 9–3 record during the 1959 season and once again defeated the Giants in the NFL Championship Game to claim their second title in back to back fashion. Following the two championships in 1958 and 1959, the Colts did not return to the NFL Championship for four seasons and saw a transition from head coach Ewbank to a young Don Shula in 1963. In Shula's second season the Colts compiled a 12–2 record, but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship. However, in 1968 the Colts returned with the continued leadership of Unitas and Shula and went on to win the Colts' third NFL Championship and made an appearance in Super Bowl III.
Leading up to the Super Bowl and following the 34–0 trouncing of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship, many were calling the 1968 Colts team one of the "greatest pro football teams of all time" and were favored by 18 points against their counterparts from the American Football League, the New York Jets. The Colts, however, were stunned by the Jets, who won the game 16–7 in the first Super Bowl victory for the young AFL. The result of the game surprised many in the sports media as Joe Namath and Matt Snell led the Jets to the Super Bowl victory under head coach Weeb Ewbank, who had previously won two NFL Championships with the Colts.
Rosenbloom of the Colts, Art Modell of the Browns, and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to have their teams join the ten AFL teams in the American Football Conference as part of the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. The Colts immediately went on a rampage in the new league, as new head coach Don McCafferty led the 1970 team to an 11–2–1 regular season record, winning the AFC East title. In the first round of the NFL Playoffs, the Colts beat the Cincinnati Bengals 17–0; one week later in the first ever AFC Championship Game, they beat the Oakland Raiders 27–17. Baltimore went on to win the first post-merger Super Bowl (Super Bowl V), defeating the National Football Conference's Dallas Cowboys 16–13 on a Jim O'Brien field goal with five seconds left to play. The victory gave the Colts their fourth NFL championship and first Super Bowl victory. Following the championship, the Colts returned to the playoffs in 1971 and defeated the Cleveland Browns in the first round, but lost to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship.
Citing friction with the City of Baltimore and the local press, Rosenbloom traded the Colts franchise to Robert Irsay on July 13, 1972 and received the Los Angeles Rams in return. Under the new ownership, the Colts did not reach the postseason for three consecutive seasons after 1971, and after the 1972 season, starting quarterback and legend Johnny Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers. Following Unitas' departure, the Colts made the playoffs three consecutive seasons from 1975 to 1977, losing in the divisional round each time. The Colts 1977 playoff loss in double overtime against the Oakland Raiders was famous for the fact that it was the last playoff game for the Colts in Baltimore and is also known for the Ghost to the Post play. These consecutive championship teams featured 1976 NFL Most Valuable Player Bert Jones at quarterback and an outstanding defensive line, nicknamed the "Sack Pack."
Following the 1970s success, the team endured nine consecutive losing seasons beginning in 1978. In 1981, the Colts defense allowed an NFL-record 533 points, set an all-time record for fewest sacks (13), and also set a modern record for fewest punt returns (12).The following year, the offense collapsed, including a game against the Buffalo Bills where the Colts' offense did not cross mid-field the entire game. The Colts finished 0–8–1 in the strike-shortened 1982 season, thereby earning the right to select Stanford quarterback John Elway with the first overall pick. Elway, however, refused to play for Baltimore, and using leverage as a draftee of the New York Yankees baseball club, forced a trade to Denver. Behind an improved defense the team finished 7–9 in 1983, but that would be their last season in Baltimore.
The Baltimore Colts played their final home game in Baltimore on December 18, 1983, against the then Houston Oilers. Irsay continued to request upgrades to Memorial Stadium or construction of a new stadium. As a result of the poor performance on the field and the stadium issues, fan attendance and team revenue continued to dwindle. City officials were precluded from using tax-payer funds for the building of a new stadium, and the modest proposals that were offered by the city were not acceptable to either the Colts or the city's MLB franchise the Orioles. However, all sides continued to negotiate. Relations between Irsay and the city of Baltimore deteriorated. While Irsay assured fans that his ultimate desire was to stay in Baltimore, he nevertheless began discussions with several other cities willing to build new football stadiums, eventually narrowing the list of cities to two: Phoenix and Indianapolis. Under the administration of mayors Richard Lugar and then William Hudnut, Indianapolis had undertaken an ambitious effort to reinvent itself into a 'Great American City'. The Hoosier Dome, which was later renamed the RCA Dome, had been built specifically for, and was ready to host, an NFL expansion team.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the situation worsened. The Maryland General Assembly intervened when a bill was introduced to give the city of Baltimore the right to seize ownership of the team by eminent domain. As a result, Irsay began serious negotiations with Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut in order to move the team before the Maryland legislature could pass the law. Indianapolis offered loans as well as the Hoosier Dome and a training complex. After the deal was reached, moving vans from Indianapolis-based Mayflower Transit were dispatched overnight to the team's Maryland training complex, arriving on the morning of March 29, 1984. Once in Maryland, workers loaded all of the team's belongings, and by midday the trucks departed for Indianapolis, leaving nothing of the Colts organization that could be seized by Baltimore. The Baltimore Colts' Marching Band had to scramble to retrieve their equipment and uniforms before they were shipped to Indianapolis as well.
The move triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of the city of Baltimore and the Colts organization reached a settlement in March 1986. Under the agreement, all lawsuits regarding the relocation were dismissed, and the Colts agreed to endorse a new NFL team for Baltimore.
Upon the Colts' arrival in Indianapolis over 143,000 requests for season tickets were received in just two weeks. The move to Indianapolis, however, did not change the recent fortune of the Colts, with the team appearing in the postseason only once in the first eleven seasons in Indianapolis. During the 1984 season, the first in Indianapolis, the team went 4–12 and accounted for the lowest offensive yardage in the league that season. The 1985 and 1986 teams combined for only eight wins, including an 0–13 start in 1986 which prompted the firing of head coach Rod Dowhower, who was replaced by Ron Meyer. The Colts, however, did receive eventual Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson as a result of a trade during the 1987 season, and went on to compile a 9–6 record, thereby winning the AFC East and advancing to the postseason for the first time in Indianapolis; they lost that game to the Cleveland Browns.
Following 1987, the Colts did not see any real success for quite some time, with the team missing the postseason for seven consecutive seasons. The struggles came to a climax in 1991 when the team went 1–15 and was just one point away from the first "imperfect" season in the history of a 16-game schedule. The season resulted in the firing of head coach Ron Meyer and the return of former head coach Ted Marchibroda to the organization in 1992; he had coached the team from 1975 to 1979. The team continued to struggle under Marchibroda and Jim Irsay, son of Robert Irsay and general manager at the time. It was in 1994 that Robert Irsay brought in Bill Tobin to become the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts.
Under Tobin, the Colts drafted running back Marshall Faulk with the second overall pick in the 1994 and acquired quarterback Jim Harbaugh as well. These moves along with others saw the Colts begin to turn their fortunes around with playoff appearances in 1995 and 1996. The Colts won their first postseason game as the Indianapolis Colts in 1995 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, coming just a Hail Mary pass reception away from a trip to Super Bowl XXX.
Marchibroda retired following the 1995 season and was replaced by Lindy Infante in 1996. After two consecutive playoff appearances, the Colts regressed and went 3–13 during the 1997 season. Along with the disappointing season, the principal owner and man who moved the team to Indianapolis, Robert Irsay, died in January 1997 after years of declining health. Jim Irsay, Robert Irsay's son, entered the role of principal owner following his father's death and quickly began to change the organization. Irsay replaced general manager Tobin with Bill Polian in 1997 as the team decided to build through their number one overall pick in the 1998 draft.
Jim Irsay began to shape the Colts one year after assuming control from his father by firing head coach Lindy Infante and hiring Bill Polian as the general manager of the organization. Polian in turn hired Jim Mora to become the next head coach of the team and drafted Tennessee Volunteer quarterback Peyton Manning, the son of New Orleans Saints legend Archie Manning, with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
The team and Manning struggled during the 1998 season, winning only three games; Manning threw a league high 28 interceptions. However, Manning did pass for 3,739 yards and threw 26 touchdown passes while also being named to the NFL All-Rookie First Team. The Colts began to improve towards the end of the 1998 season and showed continued growth in 1999. Indianapolis drafted Edgerrin James in 1999 and continued to improve their roster heading into the upcoming season. The Colts went 13–3 in 1999 and finished first in the AFC East, their first division title since 1987. Indianapolis lost to the eventual AFC champion Tennessee Titans in the divisional playoffs.
The 2000 and 2001 Colts teams were considerably less successful compared to the 1999 team, and pressure began to mount on team administration and the coaching staff following a 6–10 season in 2001. Head coach Jim Mora was fired at the end of the season and was replaced by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy. Dungy and the team quickly changed the atmosphere of the organization and returned to the playoffs in 2002 with a 10–6 record. The Colts also returned to the playoffs in 2003 and 2004 with 12–4 records and AFC South championships. The Colts lost to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in the 2003 AFC Championship Game and in the 2004 divisional playoffs, thereby beginning a rivalry between the two teams, and between Manning and Brady. Following two consecutive playoff losses to the Patriots, the Colts began the 2005 season with a 13–0 record, including a regular season victory over the Patriots, the first in the Manning era. During the season Manning and Marvin Harrison broke the NFL record for touchdowns by a quarterback and receiver tandem. Indianapolis finished the 2005 season with a 14–2 record, the best record in the league that year and the best in a 16 games season for the franchise, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round, a disappointing end to the season.
Indianapolis entered the 2006 season with a veteran quarterback, receivers, and defenders, and chose running back Joseph Addai in the 2006 draft. As in the previous season, the Colts began the season undefeated and went 9–0 before losing their first game against the Dallas Cowboys. Indianapolis finished the season with a 12–4 record and entered the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, this time as the number three seed in the AFC. The Colts won their first two playoff games against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens to return to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2003 playoffs, where they faced their rivals, the New England Patriots. In a classic game, the Colts overcame a 21–3 first half deficit to win the game 38–34 and earned a trip to Super Bowl XLI, the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance since 1970 and for the first as Indianapolis. The Colts faced the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl, winning the game 29–17 and giving Manning, Polian, Irsay, and Dungy, as well as the city of Indianapolis, their first Super Bowl title.
Following their Super Bowl championship, the Colts compiled a 13–3 record during the 2007 season; they lost to the San Diego Chargers in the divisional playoffs, in what was the final game the Colts played at the RCA Dome before moving into Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008. The 2008 season began with Manning being sidelined for most of the pre-season due to surgery. Indianapolis began the season with a 3–4 record, but then won nine consecutive games to end the season at 12–4 and make in into the playoffs as a wild card team, eventually losing to the Chargers in the wild card round. Following the season, Tony Dungy announced his retirement after seven seasons as head coach, having compiled an overall record of 92–33 with the team.
Jim Caldwell was hired as head coach of the team following Dungy, and led the team during the 2009 season. The Colts went 14–0 during the season to finish with an overall record of 14–2 after controversially benching their starters during the last two games. The Colts for the second time in the Manning era entered the playoffs with the best record in the AFC. The Colts managed victories over the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets to advance to Super Bowl XLIV against the New Orleans Saints, but lost to the Saints 31–17 to end the season in disappointment.
At the completion of the 2009 season, the Colts had finished the first decade of the 2000s (2000–2009) with the most regular season wins (115) and highest winning percentage (.719) of any team in the NFL during that span.
The 2010 team compiled a 10–6 record, the first time the Colts did not win 12 games since 2002, and lost to the New York Jets in the wild card round of the playoffs. The loss to the Jets was the last game for Peyton Manning as a Colt.
After missing the preseason, Manning was ruled out for the Colts' opening game in Houston and eventually the entire 2011 season. Taking over as starter was veteran quarterback Kerry Collins, who had been signed to the team after dissatisfaction with backup quarterback Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky. However, even with a veteran quarterback, the Colts lost their first 13 games and finished the season with a 2–14 record, enough to receive the first overall pick in the 2012 draft. Immediately following the season, team president Bill Polian was fired, ending his 14-year tenure with the team. The change built the anticipation of the organization's decision regarding Manning's future with the team. The Peyton Manning era came to an end on March 8, 2012 when Jim Irsay announced that Manning was being released from the roster after 13 seasons.
During the 2012 off-season owner Jim Irsay hired Ryan Grigson to be the General Manager. Grigson decided to let Head Coach Jim Caldwell go and Chuck Pagano was hired as the new Head Coach shortly thereafter. The Colts also began to release some higher paid and oft-injured veteran players, including Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, and Gary Brackett. The Colts used their number one overall draft pick in 2012 to draft Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck and also drafted his teammate Coby Fleener in the second round. The team also switched to a 3–4 defensive scheme.
With productive seasons from both Luck and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne, the Colts rebounded from the 2–14 season of 2011 with a 2012 season record of 11–5. The franchise, team, and fan base rallied behind Head Coach Chuck Pagano during his fight with leukemia. Clinching an unexpected playoff spot in the 2012–13 NFL playoffs, the 14th playoff berth for the club since 1995. The season ended in a 24–9 playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
Two weeks into the 2013 season, the Colts traded their first round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson. In week 7, Luck led the Colts to a 39–33 win over his predecessor, Peyton Manning, and the undefeated Broncos. Luck went on to lead the Colts to a 15th division championship later that season. In the first round of the 2013 NFL playoffs, Andrew Luck led the Colts to a 45–44 victory over Kansas City, outscoring the Chiefs 35–13 in the second half in the 2nd biggest comeback in NFL playoff history.
During the 2014 season, Luck led the Colts to the AFC Championship game for the first time in his career after breaking the Colts' single season passing yardage record previously held by Manning.
After finishing 8-8 in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons and missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98, Grigson was fired as general manager. Just three of his previous 18 draft picks remained on the team at the time of his firing. On January 30, 2017 the team hired Chris Ballard, who served as the Kansas City Chiefs Director of Football Operations, to replace Grigson.
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