Pro Football Teams


Indianapolis Colts:

Colts have the Edge and the right Manning to get into the Super Bowl

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the franchises that help set the standard of success for lesser organizations. The team has had many great players on their team that did it the “right way” while it was popular to be the anti-hero or the rebel. This was most apparent during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Those were the days that players like the New York Jets’ over the top quarterback Joe Namath was out living it up on the town in New York City. During this same period the Colts, then in Baltimore, were led by the traditional type of leader, quarterback Johnny Unitas. Unitas was stoic, modest, and hard-working, everything the United States had symbolized itself to be. He led the right way without partying, without herds of women following him, without being out on the town every night. He did it with a level of class that is hard to find now a days. The Colts hope they have found it in their new franchise leader quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning seems to have modeled himself after the late great quarterback Unitas. He’s very soft-spoken almost to the point of a fault, well at least to a sound byte hungry media it’s a fault. Manning is just the kind of “aww shucks” kind of guy that a great deal of the country can get along with and tolerate on national ad campaigns without questioning his lifestyle. Since the 1999 season the Peyton-led Colts have averaged 10 wins a year and have made four postseason appearances.

Last year the Colts were one of the best teams in the National Football League. They finished out the year with a very above average 12-4 record and their first divisional title since 1999. The team had a number of exciting games but none of them quite measured up to their week 5 Monday Night Football match up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Colts found themselves down 21 points with less than seven minutes left in the game after a Tampa defender picked off a Manning pass and scored. That’s when the fun started. On the ensuing kickoff, the Colts took it back to the 12 yard line and set up a James Mungro three yard run. The Colts then converted an onside kick and scored on a 28 yard pass from Manning to wide receiver Marvin Harrison. The Indianapolis defense held the Bucs on their next possession and they got the ball back with 1:41 left in the game. Manning and Harrison hooked up once again this time for 52 yards and was stopped at the six yard line. Running back Ricky Williams then ran in a one yard touchdown to tie up the game and send it into overtime. In overtime the Bucs got the ball first and punted to the Colts who were able to kick a field goal and win the game 38-35 in one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.

In the off-season the Colts looked to build on last season's success and to keep Colts tickets a hot buy in Indianapolis. The Colts elected to build their team through the draft and it showed when they didn’t sign a single free agent before the draft. With their first pick, which was in the second round, the Colts selected Iowa safety Bob Sanders. The only real knock on this kid is that he isn’t the prototypical safety. At 5’8” and 204 pounds he isn’t the biggest guy on the field but he hits like a linebacker and still runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. With their second pick of the draft the Colts nabbed Ohio State tight end Ben Heartstock. Heartstock is a big blocking tight end that also happens to be a good receiver. He doesn’t possess the speed that most NFL tight ends have, but he makes up for it by punishing defenders with his size and strength.

On the offensive side of the ball the Colts are one of the scarier teams to line up against. They, like the Cowboys dynasty of the ‘90s, have built their team around three All-Pro guys, quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Edgerrin James, and wide receiver Marvin Harrison. All three of them are arguably the best at each of their positions. In 2002, Harrison set the single season record for catches in a season with a mind boggling 143 catches or 8.9 catches a game. Manning is the only quarterback in the NFL that will run the no huddle in non-two minute drill situations. He will call the plays form the line of scrimmage which is amazing in this day in age with such complex defenses.

The defensive side of the team has been much improved in the last couple of seasons. They finished 10 th overall in total defense but only managed to finish 20 th against the rush. Defensive guru and head coach Tony Dungy knows that the defense will have to be able to stop the run to get to the Super Bowl.


All Images, Content and Design © 2004