Rex Grossman

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Posted by kaori 05/02/2009 @ 22:12

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News headlines
Rex Grossman begins anew with Texans - Chicago Tribune
1 quarterbacks who have not won as many games as a starter as Rex Grossman. So the question isn't why the Houston Texans signed Grossman to a no-risk, low-cost, one-year contract worth the veteran's minimum of $620000 to compete for a backup role....
This is a TIVID test story - Fox 31
Former Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, whose penchant to attempt to make the big play was his biggest strength and weakness in Chicago, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Houston Texans worth the veteran's minimum $620000....
NEWS AND VIEWS: Grossman's another in long line of Gators QBs that ... - Montgomery Advertiser
N ews: Former University of Florida quarterback Rex Grossman has signed with the Houston Texans in an attempt to resurrect his NFL career. Grossman led the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006 when he threw for 3193 yards and 23 touchdowns....
Rex Grossman, Owen Daniels Add Drama To Texans Minicamp - Bleacher Report
Dan Orlovsky and Rex Grossman, castoffs from the Lions and Bears, respectively, will battle for the right to be Matt Schaub's backup. The question is which is the lesser of two evils? You can give Orlovsky a mulligan for playing on a really bad Detroit...
Joyner: Cutler will make fans remember Grossman quite fondly - Chicago Sun-Times
"Regarding Cutler, I've said many times and I'll say it again, he'll make Bears fans remember Rex Grossman quite fondly,'' Joyner said Thursday in an online chat on He bases this opinion on what he calls the "bad decision rate" Cutler has in...
Report: Vikings reps to visit Favre...Texans ink Grossman ... - KXMC
HOUSTON (AP) Released by the Chicago Bears, free-agent quarterback Rex Grossman has signed on with the Houston Texans. The 28-year-old will compete with Alex Brink to be Houston's third quarterback behind starter Matt Schaub (shawb) and Dan Orlovsky....
NightLink: Grossman, Orton, Forte - Windy City Gridiron
CHICAGO—Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, responding to being benched following his three-interception performance in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, had to stop speaking in order to wrestle with his emotions at a post-game press conference Tuesday in...
Rex Grossman puts Lake Forest abode up for sale - Blockshopper
by Shania Sampson, published Jun 09, 2009 · Former Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman has listed for sale his three-bedroom, 3.1-bath townhome at 115 S. Newport Court in Lake Forest for $899000. Grossman paid $797275 for the townhome in May 2005,...
Bad rap keeps tough Grossman on unemployment line -
By Pete Prisco I remember the first time I saw Rex Grossman play quarterback live at a stadium. It came at the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville during his junior year at Florida in 2002. Sure, I had watched him play on television before,...
Rex Grossman Is Still Looking for Work - FanHouse
Rex Grossman seems nice enough. But the NFL scrap heap is littered with swell guys who couldn't keep their jobs. There are worse fates -- like being David Carr, the former first-overall pick with a ridiculous nickname, who is just passable enough to...

Rex Grossman

Rex Grossman.jpg

Rex Daniel Grossman III (born August 23, 1980 in Bloomington, Indiana) is an American football quarterback of the National Football League, who is currently an NFL free agent. He graduated from Bloomington High School South and attended the University of Florida on an athletic scholarship. Grossman led the Florida Gators to the 2000 SEC Championship, the 2001 Sugar Bowl, the 2002 Orange Bowl and the 2003 Outback Bowl. He was the runner-up for the 2001 Heisman Trophy. Grossman began his professional career with the Chicago Bears as the twenty-second overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, but spent most of his first three seasons sidelined with injuries. He completed his first full season in 2006, leading the Bears to a National Football Conference Championship, and helping the team score the second most points in the league. He eventually lost his starting job three weeks into the 2007 season, and primarily served as the team's backup quarterback.

Rex Grossman was born to Daniel and Maureen Grossman in Bloomington, Indiana. Under the motivation and guidance of his father, Daniel, Grossman began playing football at an early age in grade school. He originally started his football career as a running back. Despite his success as a running back, Grossman’s mother, Maureen, asked his coach to convert him to a quarterback while he was in the sixth grade.

He attended Bloomington South High School, where he threw 97 touchdowns for 7,518 yards. Grossman threw 44 touchdown passes during his senior year, including a game where he threw six and two games where he threw four. His senior season reached its pinnacle on November 28, 1998, when he led his team to a 35-14 5A championship title over Homestead High School. Grossman threw five touchdowns for 216 yards, setting a state record for most touchdowns thrown in a championship game.

Grossman received national recognition as the 1998 Indiana Player-of-the-Year by USA Today, and was ranked among the top fifteen players in the nation by the National Recruiting Advisor. Parade Magazine also named him to their "All-America team". He received state-wide honors when he was named "Indiana's Mr. Football" later that year. Residents of his hometown community still remember his accomplishments and passing records. Grossman’s high school retired his jersey in the summer of 2007 to commemorate his initial return and success during the 2006 season.

After completing high school, Grossman elected to attend the University of Florida, instead of Indiana University, where his father and grandfather played football. After redshirting his freshman year, Grossman became Florida’s third string quarterback, behind Jesse Palmer and Brock Berlin. Grossman struggled during his first game as the Gators' starting quarterback. After being called to fill in for the injured Palmer, Grossman threw three interceptions against the University of Georgia, prompting coach Steve Spurrier to bench him in favor of Berlin. Grossman rebounded during the following week by completing 21 of 34 passes for 334 yards and two touchdowns.

Grossman continued his success by leading the Gators to a 10-2 season in 2001. He came in second to University of Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch in one of the closest votes in Heisman Trophy history, losing only by 62 votes. He also earned accolades as the AP National Player-of-the-Year, and finalist for other awards, including the Walter Camp National Player-of-the-Year Award, Maxwell College Player-of-the-Year Award and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback-of-the-Year Award. Grossman played in the famed "Slingin' in the Rain" game against Louisiana State University, where he threw 22 completions in 32 attempts, for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns, en route to a 44-15 victory over the Tigers. In 2006, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Grossman claimed the victory to be his most memorable game at the University of Florida. He ended his sophomore season with a 56-23 victory over the University of Maryland in the 2002 Orange Bowl.

Grossman completed his junior year by leading the Gators to the 2003 Outback Bowl, where they lost to University of Michigan 38-30 despite his completing 21 of 41 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns. Under the helm of Ron Zook, Grossman decided to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility and declared for the NFL Draft. Grossman achieved many feats during his collegiate career, including either breaking or approaching many of the records set by Danny Wuerffel, and earned a 146.77 passer rating, becoming the third most efficient passer in the Southeastern Conference's history. He also threw 77 touchdowns for 9,164 yards.

The Chicago Bears selected Grossman during the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Under the leadership of coach Dick Jauron, Grossman was sidelined in favor of veteran quarterbacks Chris Chandler and Kordell Stewart. Grossman only saw playing time during the later portion of the season after the Bears had been eliminated from playoff contention. His season ended when he was forced to leave the final game with a broken finger. Prior to the start of the 2004 NFL season, the Bears fired Jauron and hired Lovie Smith, who declared Grossman the team's starting quarterback. Grossman was criticized when he threw a game-ending interception against the Detroit Lions on opening day. Criticism of his durability intensified when he damaged his knee ligaments while scrambling for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. The injury forced Grossman to spend the remainder of the season recuperating.

Grossman missed most of the 2005 season after breaking his ankle in a preseason game. Grossman appeared in a press conference after the game, where he remarked “Shit happens” to a crowd of spectators. On December 18, 2005, Grossman returned to the field, leading the Bears to a 16-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. In the following game against the Green Bay Packers, he completed eleven of sixteen passes for 166 yards for a touchdown and one interception in a 24-17 victory. Grossman’s victory enabled the Bears to clinch a playoff berth and the National Football Conference's second playoff seed. In his first playoff game, Grossman struggled to anchor the Bears’ offense, throwing 17 of 41 passes for 192 yards for one touchdown and an interception in a 29-21 loss against the Carolina Panthers.

During the 2006 Chicago Bears season, Grossman became the first Bears quarterback to start sixteen games since Erik Kramer in 1995. In a season dubbed as a "roller coaster ride" by Grossman himself, the fourth-year quarterback had several productive performances, which were seemingly diluted by a handful of turnover-ridden games. While earning a passer rating of at least 100 in seven games, he earned a sub 50 rating in five games during the latter portion of the season. Grossman, who was named as the “NFC Offensive Player of the Month” in September, concluded the season’s final month with a 64.4 passer rating, including a zero rating during the season’s finale game against the Packers. Grossman’s work ethic drew criticism, when he admitted that he was not adequately prepared to play, and later claimed the game to be "meaningless". After noticing that his words had been misinterpreted, he rationalized his statement days later. His inconsistent performance drew criticism, and calls for Smith to bench Grossman in favor of the veteran Brian Griese.

Nevertheless, Smith, who supported Grossman throughout the season, declared that Grossman would remain the Bears’ starting quarterback throughout the playoffs, causing much skepticism within the Chicago area. He temporarily silenced his critics by leading the Bears to a 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, completing 21 of 38 passes for 282 yards and one interception, fumble, and touchdown. The following week, he led the Bears to 39-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints, which allowed the Bears to claim the NFC Championship and advance to Super Bowl XLI. Grossman completed 20 of 28 passes, including a one-yard touchdown pass. However, in this game he threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown, and fumbled twice due to miscues between him and center Olin Kreutz. Despite additional criticism from his detractors, Grossman received the Ed Block Courage Award after the season ended. The award is awarded to one player from every team, who possesses ideal characteristics of sportsmanship, spirituality, and professionalism, and is believed to be positive role models to their community.

Before the 2007 season, Grossman vowed that he would improve his performance by simply “protecting the ball." Smith named him as the team’s starting quarterback for the 2007 season, despite inconsistent and lackluster play throughout the preseason. Grossman struggled in his first three outings of the season, and committed ten turnovers with a 45.2 passer rating. After week three, several news sources reported that Smith demoted him in favor of Brian Griese. The official announcement came the next day, when Smith announced that Griese would start in the team's next game. On November 11, 2007, Grossman reclaimed his first-string role after a shoulder injury sidelined Griese. Though Grossman only played for roughly one half, he led the Bears to a 17-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders with a 59-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian.

After reclaiming his starting role, Grossman threw three touchdowns and one interception over the course of three and a half games. He sustained a knee injury during his fifth consecutive start, and was replaced once again by Griese. Grossman was forced to relinquish his starting position to Kyle Orton, who had previously temporarily relieved him after his 2005 preseason injury.

Grossman became an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season, but said he wished to return to the Bears. Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said, "We would like to have Rex back in the mix." He added that Grossman will face additional competition if he returns, emphasizing the team’s need for a stable passing game. Smith has also voiced similar opinions. Grossman signed a new one-year contract with the Bears on February 23, 2008. Under terms of the deal, Grossman will have a $3 million base salary. He can make close to $2 million in incentives as long as he's the starting quarterback. The Bears also granted Orton a contract extension, and planned to have the two compete for a starting position. Smith believed that Orton had bested Grossman over two games in the preseason, and named him the team's starting quarterback for the 2008 season on August 18, 2008.

Grossman remained the team's back-up quarterback until week nine, when he was called to replace Orton, who left the game with an injury. Grossman completed nine of nineteen passes for 58 yards, including a touchdown and interception. He also scored the game's winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak. During the course of the game, Grossman was repeatedly jeered by Bears fans. After the game, Brian Urlacher defended Grossman, commenting, "We’ve got a quarterback who comes in off the bench and leads us to a victory, and they boo him right out of the gate. Poor guy. Lucky for him he’s resilient and he came back and led us to two scoring drives. But man, it’s tough." Lovie Smith named Grossman the team's starting quarterback for the Bears next contest against the Tennessee Titans. Grossman threw one touchdown and interception, and also scored a one yard rushing touchdown, en route to a 21-14 loss. Grossman received his final snaps of the season in the following week, when he was called to relieve Orton in a 37-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Grossman became a free agent on March 1, 2009. Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith said that Grossman is not in the team's plans for the 2009 season.

Grossman’s Gunslinger attitude is illustrated in his desire to throw long passes, similar to his youth idol, Brett Favre. During the 2006 season, Grossman had an above average completion rate when throwing passes worth twenty or more yards, but struggled to complete shorter passes. According to columnist Paul Attner of Sporting News, this attitude attributed to Grossman's inconsistent play. During week twelve of the 2006 season, Grossman threw a game-ending interception while attempting a deep pass to Rashied Davis. However, during the divisional game in the 2006 playoffs, he threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Berrian on the opening play of the Bears’ second drive.

Additionally, Grossman’s ability to elude pursuers and scramble has significantly decreased since his season ending leg injury in 2004. Although he only played three games in 2004, Grossman amassed more rushing yards than he did in sixteen games in 2006. However, he showed his potential to scramble during a game against the St. Louis Rams, after he converted a third and long with a twenty-two yard run. Though the run was the longest of Grossman’s career, it only gave him five net yards for the season at that point.

Grossman's family has a long football history. His father and grandfather were football players for Indiana University. His grandfather, Rex, also played for the Baltimore Colts (1948-50) and Detroit Lions (1950) but only played 12 games. He resides in Bloomington, Indiana during the offseason with his wife Alison Miska, to whom he has been married since July 9, 2005. Grossman also has a sister and nephew who live in Lincolnwood, Illinois, and his parents are friends with Archie Manning.

Despite the bitter Bears-Packers rivalry, Grossman has been a longtime admirer of Favre, and former Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Grossman was also an avid Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers fan during his youth. Outside of football, he enjoys playing basketball and watching movies. Additionally, he was a regular guest on FOX News Chicago’s The Final Word, a Sunday night sports show that is co-hosted by former Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle. He also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids' February 2007 issue. The cover featured Grossman with teammates Devin Hester and Tommie Harris posing with bears in a museum exhibit.

Grossman has also earned several nicknames over the course of his football career. While at the University of Florida, Spurrier dubbed him “Sexy Rexy." The nickname earned national recognition when teammate Muhsin Muhammad used the nickname while introducing Grossman during a starting line-up segment on Monday Night Football. Grossman was also infamously known as "Rex Glassman" and "Wrecks Grossman" due to his injury-prone years. After the mid-point of the 2006 season, commentators and fans would refer to Grossman as either "Good Rex" or "Bad Rex" depending on how he performed in a game.

On June 28, 2007, Grossman's hometown of Bloomington, Indiana declared the day "Rex Grossman Day" for his accomplishments in football and the community. For the past four years, Grossman has held a charity golfing event for the Boys and Girls Club of America, raising over $100,000 for them.

The following is a list of Grossman's statistics from his regular and postseason games. Grossman has occasionally recorded notable statistics; among all quarterbacks during the 2006 season, Grossman ranked tenth in number of pass attempts, seventh in touchdowns thrown, and third in interceptions. He completed his first full season with a relatively low 73.9 quarterback rating. This was better than quarterback ratings of Favre, Peyton Manning, and Terry Bradshaw during their first full seasons; however, many quarterbacks with relatively undistinguished careers have performed similarly or better in their first years, including Grossman's former backup Brian Griese. His twenty-three touchdowns in one season rank Grossman among the best Bears quarterbacks in the franchise’s history. However, his twenty interceptions in one season are among the most thrown by any Bears’ quarterback in almost two decades. The unusual combination ranked Grossman as statistically the most inconsistent quarterback in almost a decade, just ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, in 2006.

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Muhsin Muhammad


Muhsin Muhammad II (pronounced /Moo-SIN/) (born Melvin Campbell on May 5, 1973) is an American football wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. He was originally drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He played college football at Michigan State.

Muhammad was a Pro Bowl selection for the Panthers in 1999 and 2004. He returned to Carolina in 2008 after playing three seasons for the Chicago Bears. He is also known for his signature touchdown dance, which was featured in one of the opening cameos of Madden NFL 2006.

Muhammad’s nickname is “Moose”, and fans in the crowd often wear moose antlers in support of him. Additionally, fans will often yell "Moooose!" when Muhammad makes a catch, first down or touchdown pass, much like fans did when Daryl "Moose" Johnston touched the ball. People unfamiliar with this tradition often assume that the crowd is booing him.

Muhammad was born in Lansing, Michigan. His birth name was Melvin Campbell, but it was changed after his father converted to Islam when Muhsin was four years old. He was mainly a soccer player in elementary school, but eventually started to play football due to peer pressure . He attended Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan. While there, he excelled in athletics, earning three letters in football, and an additional two in basketball and track. Furthermore, he not only defined himself as a threat as receiver, but also as an all-state linebacker and running back.

After graduating from high school, Muhammad enrolled into Michigan State University.

Muhammad was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. After two mediocre seasons, Muhammad earned his fulltime starting spot in 1998 by leading the Panthers with 68 receptions, 6 TDs, and almost 1000 yards. Muhammad exploded onto the NFL scene in 1999 under new coach George Seifert, earning his first Pro Bowl bid with 96 receptions, 8 TD, and 1253 yards, and followed it by co-leading the NFL in receptions in 2000 with 102. Muhammad averaged nearly 1000 yards each season from the 1998 to 2000 NFL season. During the 2001 NFL season, Muhammad was plagued by injuries, but he managed to recover his form the following season. He would later play a leading role in the Carolina Panthers' run to Super Bowl XXXVIII during 2003 NFL season. The Panthers lost to the AFC Champion New England Patriots 29-32, while Muhammad recorded the second longest touchdown reception (85 yards) in Super Bowl history.

Muhammad would go on to have an excellent 2004 season, leading the NFL with a career high 1,405 receiving yards, and 16 receiving touchdowns. To complement this he would earn his 2nd Pro Bowl invitation. By the end of the 2004 season, Muhammad held all of the Panthers' receiving records, including catches (578), receiving yards (7,751), 100-yard games (26), the top three single-game yardage totals (192, 189, 179) and was tied with Wesley Walls at 44 touchdown receptions.

Following the 2004 season, Muhammad, who was due a $10 million roster bonus, could not come to contract terms with Panthers, and was released in February 2005. Hours after his release, Muhammad received a call from the Chicago Bears, who offered the 32-year old veteran a six year contract. Muhammad agreed, and left Charlotte for Chicago.

Muhammad's first stint with the Panthers was plagued with several negative experiences. During his time there, he was the target of a racial slur from his quarterback, Kerry Collins, testified at murder hearings for Rae Carruth and Deidra Lane (wife of Fred Lane), and was arrested in 2003 on misdemeanor drug and weapon offenses.

Muhammad established himself as one of the main receiving threat for the Bears during his first year with the Bears. He has been credited for encouraging a stronger work ethic within the Bears receiving corps. Also, Muhammad shared his sagacious advice to young wide receivers Bernard Berrian, Mark Bradley, and Rashied Davis. Despite failing to catch several poorly thrown passes from the rookie quarterback, Kyle Orton, Muhammad held himself accountable for the mistakes, and promised reporters he would work to improve his game. However, it should be noted that Muhammad would later be seen complaining to Orton during a Sunday night match up against the Atlanta Falcons. Following Muhammad's criticism, coach Lovie Smith benched Orton in favor of a fully recovered Rex Grossman.

Muhammad’s statistics improved with Rex Grossman at quarterback in the 2006 season. He had his first one hundred-yard day with the Bears in their season opener against the Green Bay Packers, and later another against the Minnesota Vikings during week three. However, he to see less action as Grossman began to play inconsistently after the season’s midway point. Muhammad defended Grossman from criticism, and often publicly voiced his support for Grossman at press conferences. Muhammad’s finished the regular season as the team’s leading wide receiver for the second consecutive time. His lone post-season touchdown came at Super Bowl XLI, en route to a 29-17 loss.

Muhammad had a down year in 2007, as did the entire Bears offense. However, he has stated that he was not worried by this recent lack of productivity.

On February 18, 2008 the Bears released him.

Muhammad’s age has seemingly played an effect on his endurance. Although he played all sixteen games, Muhammad was often listed as probable or questionable days prior to many games. Before the start of the 2006 season, he revealed that he had played through the 2005 season with a broken hand.

Months after leaving the Bears, Muhammad told Sports Illustrated that Chicago is "where wide receivers go to die." The remark caught the attention of Darryl Drake, the team's wide receiver coach. While Drake stated he was unfazed by Muhammad's remark, he argued that former Bears wide receivers Bernard Berrian, Justin Gage, and Bobby Wade were able to develop in Chicago, and later lead successful careers after leaving.

Just nine days after being released by the Bears, Muhammad re-signed with his former team, the Carolina Panthers, in the form of a two-year deal. On September 14, playing against the Bears, he became the 29th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards.

During the 2002 and 2003 off-season, Muhammad became a color commentator for NFL Europe on behalf of FOX television. Furthermore, he was a post-season correspondent for NFL Network in 2004.

Muhammad won a Chicago Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs for his segment, Hanging with the Moose, which aired on Comcast SportsNet 's "SportsNite" in 2005.

Despite his father's conversion to Islam, Muhammad himself is a Christian.He is currently married to Christa. They have four daughters and two sons: (oldest to youngest) Jordan, Chase, Journey, Muhsin, Maddon and Kennedy. Madden and Journey were adopted from Ethiopia in 2007.The family resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, where all six children attend Charlotte Preparatory School.

In February 2009 Muhammad was sued by Wachovia Bank for allegedly failing to pay a $24,603.24 credit card bill for a credit card belonging to Muhammed's entertainment company, Baylo Entertainment. A month later, Muhammed put one of his Charlotte homes up for auction on eBay. The house was originally listed at $2.7 million.

Muhammad has created his own charity foundation called, “The M2 Foundation for Kids”, which is dedicated to enhancing the educational, mental, and physical development of children. He is also a supporter of the "Back to Nature" program, a special camping trip which encouraged children to spend more time with nature by taking them on various nature hikes throughout the Great Smokey Mountains and numerous nature preserves in Tennessee; the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he worked with several of his teammates to raise funds and awareness for the group by organizing Christmas toy drives and a special football camp; furthermore, Muhammad serves as a spokesperson for the Men For Change organization, a group which helps generate money for impoverished women’s shelters. On February 28, 2007, Muhammad’s high school alma mater gave him a special award for donating $50,000 worth of equipment to school’s fitness center, which was also renamed in his honor.

Because of his hours of volunteer work with various charity groups the Carolina Panthers presented Muhammad with the organization's “Man of the Year” award in 1999.

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2006 Chicago Bears season

The two lions outside of the Art Institute of Chicago were decorated to show support for the Bears

The 2006 Chicago Bears season was their 87th regular season and 25th post-season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 13-3 regular season record, the best in the NFC, improving on their previous year’s record of 11-5. The Bears retained their NFC North divisional title, and won the National Football Conference Championship title against the New Orleans Saints, on January 21, 2007. The Bears played the Indianapolis Colts at Super Bowl XLI, where they lost 29-17. They finished the 2006 NFL season tied for second in points scored, and third in points allowed.

Due to the NFL's scheduling formula the Bears played 6 inter-division games, posting a record of 5-1. Because of rotating cycle scheduling, the Bears matched up against all four teams in the AFC East (going 2-2) and NFC West (going 4-0). In the remaining games, the Bears played the NFC's other reigning division winners, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants, posting a record of 2-0. During the entire season, the Bears played 10 games at home, 8 games on the road, and 1 game at a neutral field for the Super Bowl. Including the playoffs and Super Bowl, the Bears finished with a record of 15-4.

The Chicago Bears’ 2006 NFL Draft picks drew much criticism from various Bears’ fans and local sports critics. After injuries plagued the Bears’ offensive depth chart, the team finished the 2005 NFL season ranked 31st in passing yardage per game. Many fans assumed that the Bears would draft a tight end or wide receiver to improve the offense. However, Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith surprised the media by trading away the Bears’ first round draft pick, and drafting five defensive players. Devin Hester was drafted to fill the void left by former cornerback Jerry Azumah and punt returner Bobby Wade, while Danieal Manning could provide additional depth to the Bears’ secondary while also being potentially available for punt and kick returns, as his highest prospect grade came in kick returning. Additionally, Anderson and Dvoracek were drafted to add depth to the Bears’ defensive line.

The preseason featured a brewing quarterback controversy when Rex Grossman struggled in his exhibition appearances and newly-signed veteran back-up Brian Griese moved the second team offense freely.

The competition for the starting running back position went to Thomas Jones by default after sophomore running back Cedric Benson missed every preseason game with a shoulder injury inflicted in practice by Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown.

During the 2006 season, the Bears reintroduced three combinations of jerseys. During their week eight game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Bears wore special orange jerseys in the spirit of Halloween. They also wore all-white uniforms during their final two away games. Additionally, the Bears wore all-blue uniforms during their season finale against the Green Bay Packers.

The Bears began their season on a victorious note by defeating the Green Bay Packers. Widely considered one of the league’s most storied rivalrys, the Bears and Packers had previously met 28 times at Lambeau Field for a season opener. Notably, this was the first shutout ever for the Packers with quarterback Brett Favre at the helm.

The Bears began a winning streak by defeating the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. The game drew more media attention than usual when Roy Williams of the Detroit Lions guaranteed a victory against the Bears.

The Bears offense was limited by a resurgent Minnesota Vikings defense, but fourth-quarter heroics from both the offense and defense resulted in a 19-16 victory.

Taking advantage of an injured Shaun Alexander, who did not play, and playing very well on both sides of the ball, the Bears defeated the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field by a score of 37-6 on the Bears' first night game of the year.

Week five marked the return of former Bears head coach Dick Jauron to Soldier Field. It would also be the second straight week in which the Bears defeated their opponent by more than 30 points.

The Bears traveled to the newly opened University of Phoenix Stadium to play the Arizona Cardinals, their former cross-town rivals. While many expected the game a lop-sided affair in favor of the 5-0 Bears, the Cardinals led the Bears before stumbling in the game’s last quarter. The game marked the Bears’ first Monday Night Football appearance since the 2003 NFL season, and second overall prime-time appearance of the season. The game started on an auspicious note for the Bears, as Rex Grossman faced a quick three and out after failing to connect to Bernard Berrian on a deep pass. The Cardinals responded offensively when rookie quarterback Matt Leinart threw two touchdowns in the first quarter. As Neil Rackers helped bolster the Cardinals lead with a set of field goals, Grossman continued to struggle and committed four turnovers in the first half alone. By half time, the Cardinals were leading the Bears by a score of 20-0, which was the largest deficit they had faced all season at that point.

The Bears finally got on the score board in the third quarter when Robbie Gould kicked a 23-yard field goal. However, Rackers responded again to keep the Bears within twenty points. By the game’s third quarter, many had assumed the Cardinals had grasped their second win of the season, and the undefeated Bears would be forced to face defeat. However, in the dying minutes of the third quarter, the Bears’ defense made a series of staunch defensive plays that allowed them to rally back.

First, rookie defensive end Mark Anderson sacked Leinart, causing him to fumble. The loose ball was picked up by Mike Brown, who returned it for a 3-yard touchdown. Later, Brian Urlacher stripped the ball from running back Edgerrin James, and Charles Tillman recovered the football and returned it for another touchdown. The Bears, now only trailing by six points, took the lead when rookie punt returner Devin Hester returned a punt for an 83-yard touchdown. The Cardinals had one final attempt to win the game, but Rackers missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, allowing the Bears to kneel the clock out. After the game's conclusion, Dennis Green, who was the Cardinal's coach at the time, threw a fit in a post conference. The rant became so popular, that it was featured in a Coors Light commercial the next season.

Celebration of the Bears' improbable win over Arizona was tempered by the news that starting safety Mike Brown was lost for the season with torn ligaments in his foot. The rest of the team was able to work toward renewed good health for the San Francisco game.

Week 8 saw the Bears return to Soldier Field to play the San Francisco 49ers. Prior to the game, Lovie Smith announced that the Bears would don their alternative orange jerseys to commemorate the upcoming Halloween holiday, and asked Bear fans to wear orange clothing to create an “orange swarm” at Soldier Field. The Bears' 41 point first half tied the franchise record for most points scored in one half, the other game being the 1940 NFL Championship, where the Bears defeated the Washington Redskins 73-0.

Week 8 saw the Bears take on the Miami Dolphins. In a fashion reminiscent of the 1985 NFL season, the Dolphins win over the Bears by a score of 31-13.

For week eleven, the Chicago Bears returned to Giants Stadium to play the New York Jets. While the Bears managed to record their second shut-out win of the year, their offense struggled throughout the first half the game, and managed only ten points in the second half. The victory over the Jets marked the first time in two games that the Bears did not turn over the ball, and Robbie Gould had not failed to convert a field goal or extra point on the year.

Following two consecutive wins at Giants Stadium, the Bears were to finish a three game road trip at Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots. Similar to the week ten confrontation with the Miami Dolphins, turnovers contributed to the Bears’ 17-13 loss against the Patriots.

After the loss to New England, the Bears returned to Soldier Field to play the Minnesota Vikings. The weather conditions were harsh throughout the game; the below-freezing temperatures and swirling winds provided a clichéd background for a rivalry game in the "Black and Blue Division". Despite a marginal offensive performance, the Bears managed to defeat the Vikings 23-13.

With their tenth win of the season, the Bears secured their second consecutive NFC North Title. Additionally, the Bears became the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff berth, and remained tied for the NFL's best record.

For week 14, the Bears traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to play the St. Louis Rams. Prior to the game, a quarterback controversy arose between Rex Grossman and Brian Griese regarding the Bears’ starting quarterback position. Grossman, who finished the preceding game with a quarterback rating of 1.3, was eager to make a statement, and rebound against the same team which injured him during the previous year's preseason. Grossman rose to the occasion, and spearheaded the Bears to a 42-27 victory over the Rams, while rookie CB Devin Hester had a record-breaking performance. Also, many spectators of the Monday night game may remember Senator Barack Obama's humorous television introduction before kickoff.

During the course of the game, Hester broke the NFL record for combined return touchdowns in a single season with six. He also became the sixth player in NFL history to return two kicks for touchdowns in a single game. For his performance, he earned the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award. On a low note, kicker Robbie Gould uncharacteristically missed two field goal attempts, and the Bears announced that defensive tackle Tommie Harris would miss the remainder of the season with a severe hamstring injury.

The Bears improved to 12-2 and secured home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with an overtime victory over their former division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears entered the game without Pro Bowlers Mike Brown, Nathan Vasher and Tommie Harris. Additionally, Lovie Smith deactivated defensive tackle Tank Johnson due to his legal issues.

The Bears traveled to Detroit, Michigan in hopes of another victory over the Detroit Lions on Christmas Eve. However, the game was essentially meaningless, as the Bears had already clinched the NFC’s top playoff seed in the previous week. Therefore, the Bears experimented with different defensive and offensive plans en route to a victory over the Lions.

After their road victory against the Detroit Lions, the Bears returned home to finish their season against the archenemy Green Bay Packers. On December 24, the NFL announced that they would move to game to a primetime slot, making it the final game of the 2006 regular season. The loss marked the Bears second consecutive loss in a regular season finale. Brett Favre appeared at the end of the game, and gave a tearful interview with an NBC Sports correspondent, where he admitted his future as professional was still questionable (he ultimately returned for 2007). Additionally, Grossman’s four turnovers, zero passer rating, and press conference comments (where he admitted to being underprepared) drew criticism both from fans and the media as the Bears' regular season came to an end.

The Bears clinched a playoff berth after defeating the Minnesota Vikings during week thirteen. They obtained a first round bye the following week, and later secured the NFC's first playoff seed. This ensured the Bears home field advantage for the NFC's Divisional and Conference games.

The Bears advanced to the NFC Championship game by defeating the Seattle Seahawks on January 14, 2007. In a hard-fought battle, the Bears had to rely on all “four phases” of the game (offense, defense, special teams, and crowd noise) to win 27-24 in overtime.

The Chicago Bears returned to Soldier Field to play the second-seeded New Orleans Saints for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLI. On a cold field with unsure footing, and eventually falling snow, the Bears defeated the Saints 39-14 to claim their first NFC Championship since the 1985 Season. After the game, Bears owner Virginia McCaskey was presented the George Halas Trophy, named after her late father, "Papa Bear" George Halas. With the win, Lovie Smith became the first African American coach to achieve a Super Bowl berth. In Super Bowl XLI, The Bears would match up against the Indianapolis Colts, and Smith would face his mentor, Tony Dungy.

Super Bowl XLI, the first Super Bowl to be played entirely in intemperate weather, saw the Bears take on the Indianapolis Colts at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

Eight members of the Chicago Bears were selected to play in the 2007 Pro Bowl. Olin Kreutz, Tommie Harris, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Robbie Gould, Devin Hester, and Brendon Ayanbadejo were selected by NFL fans through out the nation to represent the Bears. The eight selections were the most from any team in the NFC. The Bears had not sent that many players to Honolulu since the 1986 Pro Bowl, which succeeded the 1985 NFL season, when they sent nine. On January 25, Bears' left guard Ruben Brown was named to his ninth Pro Bowl, taking the spot of injured Shawn Andrews of the Philadelphia Eagles. However, Harris, Urlacher, Kreutz, and Briggs missed the Pro Bowl on the account of injuries.

Perhaps the most prevalent off-field occurrences were the actions taken by and against Tank Johnson and Ricky Manning, Jr. On December 14, 2006, Lake County police officers searched Johnson's home in Gurnee, Illinois, and discovered that he possessed six firearms, including two assault rifles. Johnson was charged with violation of probation and possessing unlicensed weapons. A Chicago media storm erupted shortly after when Johnson's bodyguard was shot and killed December 16, after attending a club with him. Bears coach Lovie Smith deactivated Johnson for the following game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers based on the incidents. Speculation arose in Chicago that the Bears' defensive tackle would not be allowed either legally or by the team to travel to Miami to play in the Super Bowl, but he was ultimately allowed to play. Johnson eventually served 60 days in a Cook County jail because of the charges. Manning Jr. faced a similar situation that cost him a one game suspension. On April 23, 2006, two days after receiving an offer sheet from the Bears, Manning Jr. attacked a man in a Denny's restaurant after teasing him for working on a laptop computer. In September 2006, Manning pled no contest to felony assault in exchange for another probation deal, though later he proclaimed his innocence.

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Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts helmet

The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team is part of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). While in Baltimore, the Colts won four NFL Championships, including Super Bowl V. In Indianapolis, the Colts won Super Bow XLI in 2006 against the Chicago Bears.

In December 28, 1946, the bankrupt Miami Seahawks of the All-America Football Conference were purchased and relocated in Baltimore by a group headed by Bob Rodenberg. As the result of a contest in Baltimore, won by Charles Evans of Middle River, Md., the team was renamed the “Colts.” On September 7, 1947, wearing the green and silver uniforms, the Colts, under Head Coach Cecil Isbell, won their initial AAFC game, 16-7, over the Brooklyn Dodgers. The team concluded its inaugural season before a record Baltimore crowd of 51,583 by losing to the New York Yankees, 21-7. The Colts finished with a 2-11-1 record, good for a fourth place finish in the Eastern Division. The Colts completed the 1948 season with a 7-8 record, tying the Buffalo Bills for the division title. The Colts compiled a 1-11 mark in 1949. Y. A. Tittle was the Colts starting quarterback.

The AAFC and NFL merged in 1950, and the Colts joined the NFL. After posting a 1-11 record for the second consecutive year, the franchise was dissolved by the league on January 18, 1951, because of its failing financial condition. But many Baltimore fans protested the loss of their team and continued to support the marching band (the second in professional football, after that of the Washington Redskins) and fan club, both of which remained in operation and worked for the team's revival.

After two seasons without professional football, NFL Commissioner Bert Bell challenged Baltimore in December 1952 to sell 15,000 season tickets within six weeks in order to re-enter the NFL. That 15,000-ticket quota was reached in four weeks and three days. On January 23, 1953, under the principal ownership of Carroll Rosenbloom, the NFL’s Dallas Texans franchise was moved to Baltimore where, keeping the “Colts” nickname, the Texans team colors of blue and white were inherited. This is the franchise that exists today in Indianapolis.

The Texans had a long and winding history; they started as the Boston Yanks in 1944 and merged with the Brooklyn Tigers (previously known as the Dayton Triangles, an original NFL team established in the 1910s) for the 1945 season before moving to New York as the Bulldogs in 1949. The team then became the Yanks in 1950, and many of the players from the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference were added to the team. The Yanks moved to Dallas after the 1951 season, but played their final two "home" games of the 1952 season at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio.

Although debatable from an historical perspective, neither the Colts Franchise or the National Football League consider the 1953-present Colts to be an official continuation of the Triangles/Dodgers/Tigers/Seahawks/Yanks/Bulldogs/Yankees/Texans franchise.

The Colts began the season with a blockbuster trade, swapping five Baltimore players for 10 Cleveland Browns. Among the players who came over were future coach Don Shula; Bert Rechichar, Carl Taseff and Art Spinney, among others. The 2nd incarnation of the Baltimore Colts first took the field at Memorial Stadium on September 27, with Coach Keith Molesworth. The Colts would stun the Bears that day 13-9 to get the new franchise off on the right foot. However, the Colts struggled to a 3-9 season in their inaugural year.

The young Colts continued to struggle in their first season under Coach Weeb Ewbank, duplicating their 3-9 inaugural season record.

The team got off to a 3-0 start. However, the team would only win 2 more games the rest of the season finishing with a 5-6-1 record.

QB George Shaw was lost to injury in the 4th game of the season. The backup named Johnny Unitas took his place. The Colts split the 8 remaining games to finish with a 5-7 record.

Johnny Unitas' first full season as starting QB, the Colts began with a 3-0 start. After losing 3 in a row, then winning 4 in a row, the Colts at 7-3 would lose their final 2 games of the season and finish 7-5.

Winning their first 6 games; on the way to a 9-1 start Baltimore won the Western Division Title. However the Colts lost their final 2 games of the season.

On December 28 Baltimore faced the New York Giants in the NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium. The Colts went to halftime with a 14-3 lead after scoring 2 TDs in the 2nd Quarter. The 4th Quarter would end tied a 17, meaning the NFL would have to use overtime for the first time ever. The rule was simple who scored first won. Unitas hit WR Raymond Berry with a clutch pass that gave the Colts a 1st down in Giants territory. Baltimore continued to drive down to the 1-yard line, with first and goal. Unitas handed off to Alan Ameche who dove across the goal line to give Baltimore a 23-17 win, in what many call the greatest game ever played. The game would serve as a launching point for the NFL's remarkable boom in popularity.

The Colts used a season ending 5-game winning streak to win their 2nd straight Western Division Championship with a 9-3 record.

Baltimore had a Championship Game rematch with the New York Giants, with the game this time being played at Memorial Stadium. For the first 3 quarters the Colts fell behind 9-7. Johnny Unitas led the Colts back in the 4th Quarter scoring 24 unanswered points, and Baltimore to claim their 2nd straight NFL Championship with a 31-16 victory.

The Colts were a strong contender for the Western Division Title again with a 6-2 start. However, the Colts would drop their final 4 games as their season ended with a disappointing 6-6- record.

The Colts finishing with an 8-6 record.

The Colts struggled finishing with a 7-7 record. Following the season Coach Weeb Ewbank would be fired, and replaced by Don Shula who had played with the Colts in their inaugural season of 1953.

The Colts struggled early in their first season under Coach Don Shula. However they would end the season strong by winning their final 3 games to finish with an 8-6 record.

After losing the first game of the season to the Vikings the Colts went on a 10-game winning streak on the way to winning the Western Division Championship with a 12-2 record. Johnny Unitas wins the NFL MVP after amassing 2,824 yards passing.

The Colts faced the Cleveland Browns. However, nothing would go right in Cleveland as the Colts are whitewashed 27-0.

The Colts appear to be a strong contender for the Western Division Championship again. However injuries to QB Johnny Unitas and back up Gary Cuzzo, forced the Colts to turn to Tom Matte in a must win season ending game in Los Angeles against the Rams. Wearing a plastic wrist brace that carried the team's list of plays, Matte led Baltimore to a 20-17 victory that gave the Colts a share of the Western Division Title at 10-3-1 with the Green Bay Packers. The Colts and Packers would battle into overtime with the game tied at 10. However, there was no magic for the Colts this time as the Packers won the game on a FG a little over a minute into the 2nd overtime period.

The Colts finished 9-5.

Led by Johnny Unitas who wins the NFL MVP with 3,428 yards passing the Colts tear through the NFL going undefeated through the first 13 games of the season with a record of 11-0-2. However, the Colts still needed to beat the Rams in Los Angeles to claim the Coastal Division Championship. Unfortunately for the Colts the Rams would win the game 34-10 to win the Division title and advance to the postseason, as the Colts went home despite an 11-1-2 record.

Johnny Unitas misses most of the season with an elbow injury. The Colts backup QB Earl Morrall steps in and wins the NFL MVP award, while leading the Colts on a record breaking 13-1 season. While Morrall led the offense, the Colts defense shut out 3 opponents while allowing a record low 144 points. In the Divisional Playoff round the Colts beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-14 before a sold out crowd at Memorial Stadium.

Going into Super Bowl III the Colts were favored by 18 points. They faced the New York Jets who were coached by their former head coach Weeb Ewbank. The Jets came in confident as QB Joe Namath guaranteed a victory. The first half was a defensive struggle as the Jets had a 16-0 lead early in the 4th Quarter. Desperate to make a comeback the Colts put Johnny Unitas into the game, and he would get the Colts on the board with a long touchdown drive. With less than 4 minutes to go, the Colts recovered an on-side kick to keep their hopes alive. However, the Jets completed the biggest upset in NFL history 16-7.

Still suffering from a Super Bowl hangover the Colts stumble out of the gates losing their first 2 games, including a 52-14 humiliation by the Minnesota Vikings in which Joe Kapp tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes. The Colts struggled to finish with an 8-5-1 record, well behind the Rams, who started 11-0. Following the season Coach Don Shula who fell out of favor with Owner Carroll Rosenbloom was allowed to resign and he took the coaching job with Miami Dolphins. Assistant Coach Don McCafferty would replace Shula.

Prior to the 1970 season, Rosenbloom, Art Modell of the Browns, and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to have their teams join the ten AFL teams in the AFC as part of the AFL-NFL merger giving each conference an equal amount of teams, and divisions. The Colts win the Eastern Division while posting an 11-2-1 record. During the season the Colts would get revenge for Super Bowl III, by beating the New York Jets, who are now a division rival. In the Divisional Playoffs the Colts defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 17-0 before a rockus crowd at Memorial Stadium. The Colts then defeated the Raiders 27-17 to advance to the Super Bowl.

Baltimore returned to the Super Bowl and their opponents were the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys jumped out to a 6-0 lead on 2 FGs before the Colts tied it on a 75-yard pass form Johnny Unitas to John Mackey. However the Colts had the PAT blocked and the game remained tied. The Cowboys would jump out in front again and went into the 4th Quarter holding a 13-6 lead into halftime. Earl Morrall relieved an injured Unitas in the 2nd half the game as the two teams kept fumbling the ball back-and-forth in a game that got the nickname blunder bowl as both teams combined had 11 turnovers. Baltimore would tie the game midway through the final period on a 2-yard plunge by RB Tom Nowatzke. With less then 2 minutes left Cowboys RB Dan Reeves fumbled the ball setting up the Colts in Dallas territory. Baltimore would win the game on a 32-yard FG from Jim O'Brien with 5 seconds left.

The Colts settled for the Wild Card after finishing the season at 10-4. In the Divisional Round the Colts would defeat the Browns in Cleveland 20-3 to advance to the AFC Championship Game. The Dolphins coached by Don Shula shut out the Colts 21-0 ending the Colts hopes for a 2nd straight Super Bowl.

The Colts got off to a 1-4 start and Coach Don McCafferty was fired. The Colts would go 4-5 in their final 9 games under John Sandusky to finish with a 5-9 record, their first losing mark in 16 years. Following the season the Colts Johnny Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers. However, Unitas would not leave without coming off the bench his final game at Memorial Stadium. Leading the Colts on a 55-yard Touchdown pass late in the 4th Quarter to help beat the Buffalo Bills 35-7. Memorial Stadium gave the legend a standing ovation as a small plane flying overhead carried a banner reading "Unitas We Stand".

Howard Schnellenberger becomes the Colts head coach. The young Colts struggled early with QB Marty Domres during a 2-10 start. However, in the final games of the season the rookie Bert Jones replaced Domres, and led the Colts to a stunning upset of the Miami Dolphins as the Colts won their final 2 games to end the season at 4-10.

The Colts would get off to a 0-3 start when Coach Howard Schnellenberger is fired and replaced by Joe Thomas, the Colts would not perform any better under Thomas compiling a miserable 2-12 season.

Under new coach Ted Marchibroda the Colts would get off to a 1-4 start. However, the Colts would start winning as QB Bert Jones, and RB Lydell Mitchell came of age and led the Colts on a 7 game winning streak. The Colts would go on to win their last game of the season to claim the AFC East with a 10-4 record. However, in the Divisional Playoffs the young Colts were no match for the Steelers in Pittsburgh, suffering a season ending 28-10 loss.

Ted Marchibroda resigned as head coach. However, after players threatened mutiny Marchibroda was rehired. The Colts would go on to have a stellar season led by QB Bert Jones who wins the NFL MVP, by passing for 3,104 yards. The Colts put together a solid season and win the AFC East with an 11-3 record. However in the Divisional Playoffs the Colts are defeated again by the Pittsburgh Steelers 40-29.

After a 9-1 start the Colts lose 3 straight and face a must win game for the AFC East title in the final game of the year at Memorial Stadium against the New England Patriots. The game would be a shoot out as the Colts won their 3rd straight Division Title with a 30-24 victory to finish with a 10-4 record. In the Divisional Playoff the Colts would host the Oakland Raiders in a back and forth battle that went into double overtime. However, the Colts would lose to the Raiders 37-31.

The Colts march to a 4th straight AFC East Title was over before it began as QB Bert Jones was injured and the Colts lost their first 2 games by a combined 80-0 score. Jones would return but would be injured again as the Colts defense gave up 421 points in a disappointing 5-11 season.

Veteran QB Greg Landry replaces Bert Jones as starter, as the Colts continue to struggle finishing with another 5-11 record. Following the season Coach Ted Marchibroda would be fired, and replaced by Mike McCormick.

Bert Jones regains the starting job at Quarterback, and has a solid 3,134 yard passing season. However the Colts would play inconsistant football as the defense struggle during an unrewarding 7-9 season.

The Colts started the season on the right foot winning their first game of the season in New England 29-28 over the Patriots. However, the Colts would not win again until they played the Patriots at home in the final game of the season compiling a miserable 2-14 season, in which the Colts allowed 533 points. Following the season QB Bert Jones is traded to the Los Angeles Rams despite a strong 3,094-yard season. In addition Coach Mike McCormick is fired and replaced by Frank Kush.

Attendance begins to dwindle at Memorial Stadium as the Colts struggle during a season interrupted by a 2-month strike. Actually the strike provided relief for the Colts, as they possibly avoided one of the worst seasons in NFL history. The Colts would go winless while tying 1 game in a 9-game season.

With the number 1 pick in the NFL Draft the Colts select QB John Elway from Stanford. However, Elway refused to play for Irsay and threatened to play minor league baseball or in the newly formed USFL. Fearful the Colts would get nothing for his rights the Colts trade John Elway to the Denver Broncos. After starting the season with an overtime win in New England over the Patriots the Colts faced the Broncos in the home opener as Baltimore fans are hostile to Elway. However, fans get to see what they missed when Elway leads a game winning drive in the 4th. Despite losing out on Elway, and 1-year suspension for gambling to QB Art Schlichter, the Colts play solid football compiling a 7-9 record. On December 18, 1983, unbeknownst to the team or fans, the Colts played their final home game (against the then Houston Oilers) in the city of Baltimore. 27,934 fans showed up, 516 more fans than the crowd that had turned out for their first home game in 1947.

As far back as November 1971, Carroll Rosenbloom announced that the Colts would not return to Memorial Stadium when their lease ran out following the 1972 season and that he was not interested in negotiating with the city anymore. He wanted out of Baltimore for a few reasons — money, problems with Baltimore Orioles ownership, a running feud with the Baltimore press, and his new wife's desire to move to the West Coast. Will Keland, a real estate investor was originally slated to buy the Colts from Rosenbloom. However, Keland could not generate enough funds necessary to purchase the team. His golfing buddy, Robert Irsay who was originally slated to own 1 percent of the team, did have the money available and he realized that he didn't need Keland. On July 13, 1972, Robert Irsay became the owner of the Colts. Under the terms of the arrangement, Irsay bought the Los Angeles Rams for $19 million, then traded them to Rosenbloom for the Colts and $3 million in cash. The players for each team remained in their respective cities.

In 1971, Baltimore mayor William Donald Schaefer and the state's governor, Marvin Mandel, created a stadium committee to examine the city's stadium needs. Their report was a blow to Memorial Stadium. Some of the problems mentioned: 10,000 stadium's seats had views that were "less than desirable"; 20,000 seats were out-dated bench seats that had no back support; 7,000 so called seats were actually poorly-constructed temporary bleachers that were installed for football games only. Also, there was not enough office space adequate enough for the front offices of either the Orioles or Colts, much less both teams combined. Both teams had to share locker rooms, the upper deck of Memorial Stadium did not circle the field, ending instead at the 50-yard line, thousands of potential seats (and added revenue) were missing. Any expansion plans for the stadium had usually mentioned less attractive (and less expensive) end-zone seats, not upper deck seating. And the number of bathroom facilities in Memorial Stadium was deemed inadequate.

Maryland's planners came up with an ambitious project. Nicknamed the "Baltodome", the original plan was to create a facility near the city's Inner Harbor known as Camden Yards. The new stadium would host 70,000 fans for football games, 55,000 for baseball and 20,000 as an arena for hockey or basketball. For an estimated $78 million, the city would build a facility that would have kept all parties; Orioles owner Hoffberger, Colts owner Irsay, the Stadium Complex Authority, Baltimore Mayor Schaefer and the state's governor, Marvin Mandel happy.

But Hyman Pressman, Baltimore's comptroller, was against the use of public funds to build a new complex. During the 1974 elections, Pressman had an amendment to the city's charter placed on the fall ballot. Known as Question P, the amendment called for declaring "the 33rd Street stadium as a memorial to war veterans and prohibiting use of city funds for construction of any other stadium." The measure passed 56 percent to 44 percent, and the same jingoistic ideas that had been used to upgrade the then Baltimore Stadium (Originally built in 1922) in the late 40s and rename it Memorial Stadium, effectively destroyed any chance of a new, modern sports complex being built in Baltimore.

Although the Colts made the playoffs for three straight years from 1975-77, there had still been no progress made on a new park for the team. Robert Irsay first spoke with Phoenix, Arizona in 1976 and then Indianapolis, Indiana in 1977 about the possibility of relocating his team to one of those cities. In 1979 Irsay began shopping the Colts around in earnest, talking first to officials from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, Memphis, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida where he visited the Gator Bowl packed with 50,000 cheering fans trying to convince him that Jacksonville would be the best home for the Colts. That same year Irsay presented Maryland's Governor Harry Hughes with a request for $25 million in renovation to the dilapidated 64,124 seat Memorial Stadium. Irsay's request for $25 million in improvements was decreased to $23 million by the Maryland legislature. The plan added more seats (but none of the revenue-generating skyboxes), improving the plumbing and would've given both teams better office space. The plans approval was contingent on both the Colts and Baltimore Orioles signing long term leases. The Orioles challenged the requested football improvements and refused to sign anything more than a one year lease. Irsay also refused to sign long term. As a result, the funds and improvements never came.

Under the administration of mayor Richard Lugar and then continuing with William Hudnut, Indianapolis was making a serious effort to reinvent itself into a 'Great American City'. In 1979, Indianapolis community leaders created the Indiana Sports Corp. in order to attract major sports events to central Indiana. The next year, Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut appointed a committee to study the feasibility of building a new stadium that could serve primarily as a boon to the city's convention business and, secondarily, as a lure for an NFL team . In 1982 construction on the Hoosier Dome (later renamed the RCA Dome) began. Deputy Mayor David Frick, who would later lead the negotiations with the Colts and then go on to become chairman of the Indiana state commission that would oversee construction of the RCA Dome's replacement; Lucas Oil Stadium, would say that the RCA Dome was a key to changing the city's image. "Sports was an element in our game plan to change the image of the city back in the late 1970s, early 1980s,". In February 1983, after relations between Irsay and the city of Baltimore had deteriorated significantly, Baltimore Mayor Schaefer asked the Maryland General Assembly to approve $15 million for renovation to Memorial Stadium. The legislature did not approve the request until the following spring, after the Colts' lease had expired, and only half of that $15 million would go towards improvements that the Colts were seeking (The other half for the Orioles'). However, Baltimore reportedly did offer Irsay a generous $15 million loan at 6.5%, a guarantee of at least 43,000 tickets sold per game for six years, and the purchase of the team's Owings Mills training facility for $4 million. Despite numerous public reassurances that Irsay's ultimate desire was to remain in Baltimore, he nevertheless continued discussions with several cities hungry for an NFL franchise (New York, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Jacksonville and Memphis) eventually narrowing the list of cities to two, Phoenix and Indianapolis. A real estate group in Phoenix, Arizona along with Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt and other top Arizona officials, had secretly met with Irsay early in January. Preliminary talks seemed promising, another meeting was scheduled. But when word of a second scheduled meeting leaked out and was reported by the Baltimore media on the Friday before the Super Bowl, Irsay canceled. Meanwhile, Indianapolis and local real estate developer Robert Welch, were lobbying the NFL to bring an expansion team to the city, with Welch as team owner. Welch had also had personal discussions with New Orleans Saints owner John Mecom about buying the team and moving it to Indianapolis. In January 1984, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced that expansion had been put on hold. As a result of that announcement, Indiana Pacers' owner Herb Simon contacted Colts officials in order to take negotiations between the club and Indianapolis to the next level. Mayor Hudnut then assigned deputy mayor David Frick to begin secret negotiations with Colts counsel Michael Chernoff. On February 13, Colts representatives came to town to look at the Hoosier Dome construction. Colts owner Robert Irsay visited on February 23.

Baltimore Mayor Schaefer, who was promised a call by Irsay but never received one if the team was to move, appeared on the front page of the Baltimore Sun in tears. After the Colts left, he placed the building of a new stadium at the top of his legislative agenda.

Indianapolis Mayor Hudnut held a press conference March 29 to announce an agreement had been reached and the team was on its way to Indianapolis. The deal was sealed March 30 with approval by the Capital Improvement Board, which operated the Hoosier Dome. Two days later, 20,000 new Colts fans cheered as Mayor Hudnut Proclaimed March 29, 1984, "one of the greatest days in the history of this city.".

Understandably, fans in Baltimore were heartbroken. In elections that year, city voters repealed Question P by a measure of 62 percent to 38 percent. However, the amendment's author Hyman Pressman remained as an elected City Comptroller for 28 years (7 terms in a row) until retiring in 1991. The team's move triggered a flurry of legal activity, which ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and bills were filed in both the U.S. House and Senate seeking to block the move. In December 1985, a U.S. District Court judge threw out the lawsuit which sought to return the team to Maryland. Later, representatives of Baltimore and the Colts organization reached a settlement in March 1986 in which all lawsuits regarding the relocation were dismissed, and the Colts would endorse a new NFL team for Baltimore. Nonetheless, many of the prominent old-time Colts (many of whom had settled in the Baltimore area) were bitter and chose to cut all ties to the relocated Colts team. Most notable and vocal among them was Johnny Unitas, who recognized himself solely as a player for the Baltimore Colts until the day he died, with his estate defending that stand to this day. However, the NFL officially recognizes his achievements and records as the history of the Colts organization and as such are attributed to the current Colts organization and not the Ravens Organization.

On November 6, 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to move Cleveland's team to Baltimore. The decision also triggered a flurry of legal activity. On February 9, 1996, representatives of Cleveland and Baltimore and the NFL reached a settlement. It stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland. Modell took his players and organization to Baltimore, but it would be technically regarded as an expansion team. A fan vote was held and Baltimore's NFL franchise was named the Ravens.

This was the Colts' first season in Indianapolis. Jim Irsay was named general manager of the team. Frank Kush was head coach - until the final game when he was replaced by Hal Hunter. Prior to the start of the season the team received 143,000 requests in two weeks for season tickets. The Colts had two first-round draft picks in 1984. They chose Leonard Coleman and Ron Solt. Coleman could not reach an agreement with the Colts until early in 1985, and spent 1984 playing in the U.S. Football League. Other notable picks that year included Kevin Call in the 5th round and Eugene Daniel in the 8th. The Colts finished the 1984 season with 4 wins and 12 losses.

Rod Dowhower was named head coach in January 1985. The Colts' first-round draft pick was linebacker Duane Bickett. Their record was 5-11 but they finished the season strong, winning their last two games and averaging 5.0 yards per attempt to lead the NFL. Rohn Stark won his second NFL punting title.

The Colts drafted Jon Hand in the first round, Jack Trudeau in the 2nd and Bill Brooks in the 4th round. More than 10,000 fans visited the new Colts Complex during an open house. The team had a terrible season, losing the first 13 games before winning the last 3. Dowhower was replaced by Ron Meyer on Dec. 1.

The Colts' number one draft pick was Cornelius Bennett. Two weeks into the regular season the players went on a 24-day strike. One week of games was cancelled, and for three weeks the teams played with replacement players. On Oct. 31 the Colts obtained Eric Dickerson from the L.A. Rams for six draft picks and two players. The deal also involved Buffalo, sending Cornelius Bennett from the Colts to the Bills and Chuck Banks came over from the Houston Oilers. The Colts finished the season 9-6 and clinched the AFC East title but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the divisional playoff game.

Due to the Dickerson trade the Colts had no draft pick until the third round when they took quarterback Chris Chandler. In the Colts' first Monday Night Football appearance they defeated Denver 55-23 before an ecstatic Halloween night crowd. Dickerson became the first Colt since Alan Ameche in 1955 to win the NFL rushing title. The Colts finished the season 9-7, and did not make the playoffs.

Andre Rison was the Colts' first-round draft pick. On Sept. 10 Dickerson surpassed the 10,000 rushing yards mark in his 91st career game - the quickest pace ever. The team again finished the season 9-7 but did not make the playoffs because of a 41-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the last game.

The Colts traded Chris Hinton, Andre Rison and draft picks to the Atlanta Falcons for the first pick of the 1990 draft so they could choose Indianapolis native and quarterback Jeff George. Eric Dickerson, after boycotting training camp and refusing to take physicals, was placed on the non-football injury list for six weeks. He was subsequently suspended four weeks for conduct detrimental to the team and forfeited $750,000 in wages and fines. The team finished the season 7-9.

Indianapolis had no first-round draft pick, but chose Shane Curry in Round-Two. Rick Venturi succeeded Ron Meyer as coach on Oct. 1. The team finished the season an NFL-worst 1-15. This record would not be broken until 2008 when the Detroit Lions went 0-16.

Ted Marchibroda was, once again, named head coach of the Colts on Jan. 28. For the second time he led the Colts to an NFL-best eight-game, one-season turnaround. The Colts had two first-round draft picks and chose Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt. In April, the Colts traded Eric Dickerson to the Los Angeles Raiders, ending his sometimes rocky 4 1/2 years with the team. On May 3, 1992, second-year defensive end Shane Curry was shot to death outside a Cincinnati nightclub in a dispute over a car blocking the nightclub's driveway. Then, in a disastrous public relations move, the Colts cut Mark Herrmann the day after he led a season-opening victory at home over Cleveland - and one week after another popular player, Albert Bentley, had been let go. The Colts finished the season 9-7.

Sean Dawkins was the Colts' first-round pick. They suffered all year from the lack of a running game, a passing game (20 quarters without a touchdown) or an effective defense. Amid dwindling crowds, the Colts wobbled into the offseason with a 4–12 record. They ended the year with a four-game losing streak, and had eight losses in their last nine games.

Running Back Marshall Faulk was drafted 2nd overall and Linebacker Trev Alberts was drafted 5th overall in the NFL Draft. The Colts brought in Bill Tobin as 'Vice President of All Football Operations'. In March, Jeff George was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Despite going undefeated in the preseason the Colts opened the regular season with an all-time low attendance of 47,372. The Colts finished 8-8 - out of the playoffs.

The Colts' first-round draft pick was Ellis Johnson; and in the second round, Ken Dilger. The Colts entered the season with high hopes. "Captain Comeback" Jim Harbaugh became the starting quarterback in Week Three and ended the season as the NFL's top-rated passer. He led the "Cardiac Colts" to a 9-7 season and a trip to the playoffs. In the playoffs, the underdog Colts defeated the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. But, in the AFC championship game, they lost a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16 when a last-second Hail-Mary pass was dropped in the end-zone by Aaron Bailey.

Syracuse Wide Receiver Marvin Harrison was selected by the Colts with the 19th pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, a pick that was obtained in a trade that sent Jeff George to the Atlanta Falcons. In February, in another unpopular move, and despite the success of the 1995 season, the Colts offered head coach Ted Marchibroda only a one-year contract deal which he turned down. Marchibroda, whose 73 career victories with the Colts tied Shula, was replaced by Lindy Infante. Also in February, Robert Irsay's wife, Nancy, and his son, Jim, filed petitions seeking guardianship of his estate while he remained incapacitated from a stroke he had suffered the previous November. The Colts finished 9-7, despite being plagued with injuries, and again made the playoffs. They lost, again to Pittsburgh, in a 42-14 thrashing.

The first-round draft pick was Tarik Glenn. Adam Meadows was acquired in the second round. Indicative of the ongoing frustration and futility of the team, was a confrontation between Jim Harbaugh and Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly during which Harbaugh broke his hand. The injury-plagued Colts did not win a game until the 11th game of the season, and finished the year 3-13. Assuming responsibility for his team, Jim Irsay cleaned house in December, firing both coach Linde Infante and director of football operations Bill Tobin. He then named Bill Polian president of the team.

On December 21, 1997, the Colts lost to the Vikings and finishing the season 3-13. The very next day, Bill Polian was hired as President to try and turn the team around. Polian was General Manager of the Buffalo Bills from 1986-1993. "When Bill Polian was promoted to the GM position, the Bills were suffering from back to back 2-14 seasons and fan interest was at an all-time low. Polian had expertly put the pieces together that would make the Bills a "championship caliber team," appearing in an NFL record, 4 straight Super Bowls. Because of his accomplishments, Bill Polian won the NFL Executive of the Year Award twice, in 1988 and in 1991. Polian then became General Manager of the Carolina Panthers from 1994-1996. He tried to create the quickest Super Bowl winner in history, and nearly did so, building a team that went to the NFC Championship game in only its second year of existence.

As the Colts GM and President, Polian opted not to keep QB Jim Harbaugh, who had led the team to the AFC Championship game following the 1995 season. Instead, he decided to build through the draft as the Colts would have the number 1 overall pick for 1998, and 2 of the most hyped quarterbacks would be coming out of college (Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning). Polian chose Manning. The San Diego Chargers would take Ryan Leaf second; Leaf's abbreviated career appears to have shown the wisdom of Polian's choice.

Jim Irsay began to shape the Colts one year after assuming control from his father by firing Coach Lindy Infante and hiring Bill Polian to run the organization. Polian in turn hired Jim Mora to coach the team and drafted University of Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Peyton Manning, the son of New Orleans Saints legend Archie Manning, with the first pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.

In January, Jim Irsay and the city agreed to a revised lease at the RCA Dome which provided the Colts with $8 million a year in dome-generated revenues and assured the city the team will be here at least 10 more years. The Colts were 3-13 in 1998. RB-Marshall Faulk’s 2,227 scrimmage yards set a club seasonal mark, while QB-Peyton Manning (326-575-3,739, 26 TDs) set NFL rookie records in every passing category.

The Colts' first-round draft pick was running back Edgerrin James, a surprise to many who thought they would take Ricky Williams, the Heisman Trophy winner. Two days before the draft, Marshall Faulk was traded to the St. Louis Rams. Third-round pick, Brandon Burlsworth, was killed in an automobile accident in Arkansas April 28. James caught on quickly and Manning and Marvin Harrison clicked as a potent passing combination. In October, Steve Muhammad's wife died as did the baby she was carrying when she went into premature labor following a car accident. After her death it was revealed that 10 days before the accident Muhammad had been arrested for battery on his pregnant wife. The Colts finished the season 13-3 - in what was the greatest one-year turnaround in NFL history - and won the AFC East. They hosted Indianapolis' first ever playoff game but were defeated by the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans 19-16. At 13-3 In winning the division title, Manning, RB-Edgerrin James and WR-Marvin Harrison earned Pro Bowl honors, while K-Mike Vanderjagt won the NFL scoring title.

The Colts drafted BYU Linebacker Rob Morris in the first round (28th overall) of the NFL Draft. Both the team and their fans entered the 2000 season with high expectations. After winning the AFC East with a 13-3 record in 1999, and with young stars Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James just hitting their strides many predicted this would be the year the Colts would do even better and march straight to the Super Bowl. Jim Irsay even talked about winning three Super Bowls in a row. But things didn't quite turn out that way. The Colts' offense had impressive moments, sprinting through defenders with a no-huddle offense that left their opponents little time to catch their breath. But the Indianapolis defense was erratic - sometimes performing well but more often seeming unable to do what had to be done at crucial moments. Eight games into the season the Colts were 6-2, though some of the wins had been heart-stoppers with last-minute heroics overcoming earlier mistakes. Then they lost four of the next five games, and suddenly even making it into playoffs was in doubt. With three games left in the season the Colts only chance was to win all three - and they did. The back-to-back 10+-victory seasons were a first for the club since 1976-77. Manning (4,413) and James (1,709, 2,303) won the NFL passing, rushing and scrimmage yards titles. They earned a wildcard spot in the playoffs, but lost the game 23-17 to the Miami Dolphins. The organization entered the off-season knowing the area most in need of attention was the defense.

Reggie Wayne was selected with the 30th pick in the NFL Draft. The 2001 season was a major disappointment. However, Manning (4,131) and Harrison (109) had outstanding yardage and reception seasons. The team finished 6-10, managing only two wins in its last nine games. And, as in 2000, the defense took the brunt of the criticism. It ranked No. 30 in total yards allowed, tied for No. 26 in generating takeaways and No. 31 in points allowed. But the defense wasn't the only problem. The special teams' performance was often really bad and Peyton Manning was plagued by turnovers. The team was also hurt by injuries throughout the season, the most serious occurring on Oct. 25, when running back Edgerrin James tore his ACL in the sixth game of the 2001 season, and while backup Dominic Rhodes proved a capable starter in becoming the first undrafted rookie to rush for over 1000 yards, the loss of James and a defense that gave up the most points in a season of any NFL team since 1981 proved too much to overcome. Coach Jim Mora was fired with one year remaining on his contract, reportedly due to a disagreement with general manager Bill Polian over defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Tony Dungy, who had been fired as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was given a five-year contract to coach the Colts on Jan. 22, 2002.

The firing of Mora led to the hiring of head coach Tony Dungy, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Colts owner Jim Irsay was so committed to bringing Tony Dungy aboard that he, not Colts GM Bill Polian, initiated the contact. Late on January 19 2002, Irsay phoned Dungy at his home in Tampa. "I just wanted him to know from the start that there was no other coach on the planet I wanted to coach my football team," Irsay said. "Not Steve Spurrier. Not Bill Parcells." Dungy became the 35th coach in NFL history to earn 100 career victories (including playoffs) with a 38-20 win at Houston on Oct. 23, 2005. Dungy is only the sixth coach to win 100-plus regular-season games in the first 10 years as a head coach (113, George Seifert; 105, Don Shula; 103, John Madden; 102, Dungy; 101, Joe Gibbs; 101, Mike Ditka).

He is the NFL's winningest head coach from 1999-2005 with a mark of 78-34 (30-18 with Tampa Bay, 48-16 with Colts), and his .638 winning percentage ranks second among active head coaches. He has directed the Colts to 10-6, 12-4, 12-4 and 14-2 records, becoming the only coach in club history to produce 10-plus victories and playoff berths in the first four seasons with the team.

Dungy has seven career double-digit victory seasons and stands as the only NFL head coach to defeat all 32 NFL teams.

Dwight Freeney was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 11th selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. The Colts finished the season with a 10-6 record, earning a wild-card slot in the playoffs. In that game however, the Colts were humiliated with a 41-0 shutout at the hands of the New York Jets. Marvin Harrison had a stellar year, breaking several club and NFL records, but running back Edgerrin James was hampered by injuries most of the season. Peyton Manning was often brilliant but threw 19 interceptions, most of them in games the Colts went on to lose. In a troubling pattern, the Colts repeatedly squandered the first half of a game, often falling so far behind that despite second half rallies, they could not overcome the deficit. Freeney set an NFL rookie record in 2002 with 9 forced fumbles, three of which occurred in a single game against former Syracuse football teammate, Donovan McNabb. Freeney was the runner up for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The Colts finished the season 14–5 - and won the AFC South with a regular season record of 12-4. Peyton Manning was named co-MVP of the NFL, along with Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair, and In the playoffs, Manning and the Colts put an emphatic halt to talk they could not win the "big one," rolling over the Denver Broncos 41–10. They then defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, at Kansas City, 38–31. However, in the AFC title game at New England, the Patriots defense was all over the Colts. Manning threw only one touchdown pass and was intercepted four times. The Patriots won the game 24–14 putting an end to the hopes of the team and the fans that this was the season the Colts would go all the way.

Safety Bob Sanders was selected in the 2nd round (44th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. The 2004 season ended almost exactly the way the 2003 season had, with the New England Patriots pummeling the Colts, in the cold at Foxboro, and knocking them out of the playoffs. After a year in which the offense broke numerous team and league records, the Colts could manage to score only one field goal in their final game, losing 20-3. For the second year in a row, Peyton Manning was named the league's Most Valuable Player and his 49 regular-season touchdowns broke a record that Dan Marino had held since 1984. The wide receiving trio of Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley each had at least 10 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards for the season - also a league first. Edgerrin James ended the season ranked fourth in the NFL with 1,548 yards, an average of 4.6 yards per carry. And although questions continued to surround the defense, Dwight Freeney led the league with 16 sacks.

University of Michigan Cornerback Marlin Jackson was selected with the 29th overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. Dungy led the Colts to a franchise-record 14 wins and a third consecutive divisional title, the fifth for the club in its 22-year Indianapolis era. The Colts became the 4th team in league history to win their first 13 games, but the season ended with a loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Manning and Marvin Harrison broke Steve Young and Jerry Rice's NFL record for most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver tandem, notching their 86th in a Monday Night home game against St. Louis Rams in week 6. Two weeks later Peyton Manning logged his first victory at New England against the Patriots, ending a six game New England win streak. After defeating Jacksonville in week 14 they became only the fourth team in NFL history to reach a record of 13–0 and clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The dream of a perfect record for the Colts ended the next week however as the San Diego Chargers defeated the Colts 26–17.

In week 16, the Colts played without coach Tony Dungy following the suicide of his son James earlier in the week. With the team resting most of their key players, the Colts lost their second straight to the eventual NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. Dungy returned to the sidelines for the last regular season game as the Colts beat the Arizona Cardinals 17–13 while resting most of the team's usual starters. The team's final record of 14–2 marked the best 16-game season in the franchise's history.

On January 15, 2006, the Colts were eliminated in the divisional round by the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, 21–18. Trailing 21–10 late in the game, the Colts regained possession and put 8 points on the board to make it 21–18. After a Jerome Bettis fumble on the goal line, Nick Harper picked up the fumble and almost ran it back, but was tackled at the 40 yard line by Ben Roethlisberger. The Colts then drove down the field, only to have Mike Vanderjagt miss a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right.

Runningback Joseph Addai was selected in the first round (30th overall pick) of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State University. After becoming the first team in NFL history to begin two consecutive seasons by winning nine games, the Colts proceeded to lose three of the next four, largely due to the league's worst run defense. However, they still captured their fourth consecutive AFC South title by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in Week 15 of the season with, ironically, a strong showing from their defense. The Colts finished the season with a 12–4 record, giving them the number three seed in the playoffs. The record also marked their fifth consecutive season with ten victories or more. In week 13 against the Titans, the quarterback-wide receiver combination of Manning to Harrison became the all time leader in touchdowns in NFL History.

In the Colts' first-round playoff game, they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 23-8, despite Peyton Manning throwing three interceptions. The Colts defense managed to hold the Chiefs to 44 yards on the ground and 2 yards passing in the first half. The Chiefs did not earn a first down until 3:33 remained in the third quarter.

The Colts defeated the Baltimore Ravens 15-6 in the division playoff round, thanks to kicker Adam Vinatieri's five field goals and another impressive defensive showing. They played the New England Patriots at home in the AFC title game for the rights to the Super Bowl; it was the Colts' third conference championship game in the Indianapolis era. The game marked the first time that the AFC title game was played in a domed stadium. After trailing at the end of the first half, 21–3, the Colts stormed back, defeating the arch-rival Patriots for the third consecutive time. With a final score of 38–34, the 18-point comeback was the largest ever in an NFL conference championship game, and tied the record for the fourth largest NFL postseason comeback.

The Colts defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17 on February 4, 2007 in Dolphin Stadium, after overcoming a rocky start that saw the Bears' Devin Hester return the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and the Colts' Peyton Manning throw an early interception. Rain fell throughout the game, for the first time in Super Bowl history, significantly contributing to the six turnovers committed by both teams in the first half. Peyton Manning was awarded the MVP after completing 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, caught by Reggie Wayne.

Colts' running backs Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai combined for 190 rushing yards and a touchdown, while kicker Adam Vinatieri converted 3 of his 4 field goal attempts. Defensively, safety Bob Sanders and cornerback Kelvin Hayden each intercepted Bears' quarterback Rex Grossman late in the game, with Hayden returning his for 56 yards and a touchdown, essentially sealing the Colts' victory.

Indianapolis became the first "dome team" to win a Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium, the first to win in the rain, and the first to win after having the statistically worst rushing defense in the league during the regular season. Tony Dungy became only the third man to have won the Super Bowl as both a head coach {XLI} and a player {XIII} (along with Tom Flores {IV-player, XV and XVIII-coach} and Mike Ditka {VI-player, XX-coach}), as well as the first African-American Head Coach to win a Super Bowl (a distinction that would have occurred regardless of which team won, as the Bears were coached by another African-American coach, Lovie Smith). With the win the Colts became the only team to date to win a Super Bowl from the AFC South. Also the Colts have made it to the Super Bowl three times, all three in Miami.

Ohio State Wide Receiver Anthony Gonzalez was selected with the 32nd pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Earlier on February 19, 2007, the Colts placed the franchise tag on Freeney following the expiration of his rookie contract. This move allowed Bill Polian and the Colts front office time to work on a long term contract. On July 13, 2007 Dwight Freeney signed a six-year, $72 million contract with $30 million in guarantees making Freeney the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. In 2007, the Colts finished 13-3, winning a club-record fifth straight division title and becoming the first NFL team with five consecutive seasons with 12+ victories and became one of four NFL teams to open three consecutive seasons with 5-0 starts in topping Tampa Bay, 33-14. Indianapolis joined Green Bay (1929-31), Minnesota (1973-75) and St. Louis (1999-2001) with three straight 5-0 starts. And then becoming the first team in 76 years to start three consecutive seasons with 7-0 starts. Peyton Manning (288) broke the club record for career touchdown passes held by Johnny Unitas (287), while Tony Dungy notched his 74th win to break the franchise record he had shared with Don Shula (73) and Ted Marchibroda (73). The club fell in the Divisional Playoffs to San Diego, 28-24. Dungy became the only coach in Colts history to post 10+ wins and earn playoff appearances in six straight seasons.

Arizona State Offensive Guard Mike Pollak was taken with the Colts second round selection (59th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. On January 21, 2008 Tony Dungy announced he would return for at least one more season. The Colts also announced that Assistant Head Coach Jim Caldwell would be promoted to Associate Head Coach and would assume the position of Colts Head Coach whenever Tony Dungy decided to retire. The 2008 season was the Colts' inaugural season playing at the newly completed Lucas Oil Stadium. 2008 was the first season that the Colts did not win the AFC South title. After a 3-4 start on the season, the Colts went on a nine-game winning streak and finished the season at 12-4 and earned a wild card berth in the playoffs. They extended their league mark with six consecutive 12+ victory seasons. The club became the first in NFL history to win at least seven consecutive games in five consecutive seasons. QB Peyton Manning won his third AP NFL MVP award. Indianapolis fell in the Wild Card Playoffs in overtime at San Diego, 23-17.

Tony Dungy retired on January 12, 2009 and On January 13, Jim Caldwell who had been named his successor previously, was formally announced as the new Head Coach. Making the Colts franchise the first in NFL league history to hire more than one minority Head Coach.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay has tapped Colts Vice President of Football Operations Chris Polian to replace his father Bill Polian when he retires. Irsay has also said multiple times that when Peyton Manning retires, his daughter, Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations division, Casey Irsay, will take over his seat as CEO.

After 24 years of playing at the RCA Dome, the Colts moved to their new home Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts began playing in Lucas Oil Stadium in the fall of 2008. In December 2004, the City of Indianapolis and Jim Irsay agreed to a new stadium deal that would benefit both the city and the team at an estimated cost of $675 million. In a deal estimated at $122 million, Lucas Oil Products won the naming rights to the stadium for 20 years.

It is a seven-level stadium with a retractable roof seating 63,000 for football. It can be reconfigured to seat 70,000 or more for NCAA basketball and football and concerts. It will cover 1,800,000 square feet (167,000 m2). The stadium features a retractable roof allowing the Colts to play home games outdoors for the first time since arriving in Indianapolis. Using FieldTurf, the playing surface will be roughly 25 ft (7.6 m) below ground level. The new stadium will be bigger and better than the RCA Dome in many ways, including: 58 permanent concession stands, 90 portable concession stands, 13 escalators, 11 passenger elevators, 800 restrooms, high definition scoreboards and replay monitors and 142 luxury suites. Other than being the home of the Colts, the stadium will host games in both the Men's and Women's NCAA Basketball Tournaments and will serve as the back up host for all NCAA Final Four Tournaments. It will also host numerous events and conventions. The stadium will host the Super Bowl for the 2012 season (Super Bowl XLVI) and has a potential economic impact estimated at $286,000,001.

In an ironic twist, a company based near Baltimore, "Controlled Demolition", oversaw the demolition of the RCA Dome. "It's a little ironic that a demolition company from Baltimore had the opportunity to take down the stadium to where the Colts fled when they left Baltimore," said Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition and a Baltimore Ravens fan.

The Colts' logo and uniforms have basically remained the same since the team's debut in 1953. The helmet is white with a speed blue horseshoe logo. The blue jerseys have white shoulder stripes while the white jerseys have blue stripes. The team also wears white pants with blue stripes along 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 light blue to speed blue, as well as adding two white stripes to the socks. In 2006, the stripes were removed from the socks.

In the early 2000s, 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 reduction of the sleeve length had no impact on the stripes of the Colts jerseys. 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), the Colts and most college teams with this striping pattern (most notably the LSU Tigers football team) didn't make this adjustment. Replica jerseys sold for retail still have the original striping pattern, though authentic "game-day worn" jerseys do have the partial striping pattern of the current jerseys.

Colts logo (1978-present).

The Colts' flagship station from 1984-1998 and again starting in the 2007 season is WIBC 1070AM (renamed WFNI as of December 26, 2007); under the new contract, games are simulcast on WLHK 97.1 FM. From 1998 through 2006, the Colts' flagship station was WFBQ 94.7FM (with additional programming on WNDE 1260AM). Bob Lamey is the team's play-by-play announcer, holding that title from 1984 to 1991 and again since 1995. Former Colts offensive lineman Will Wolford serves as color commentator. Former head coach Ted Marchibroda of both Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts franchises, who served as color commentator from 1999 to 2006, serves as an analyst on their pre-game show. Mike Jansen serves as the public address announcer at all Colts home games. Mike has been the public address announcer since the 1998 season.

Preseason games not shown on national television are seen locally on WTTV-4, "Indiana's 4." Indiana Hoosiers announcer Don Fischer provides play-by-play. Regular-season Monday Night and NFL Network games are simulcast on WNDY-23 and WTHR-13, respectively.

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Devin Hester

Devin Hester.jpg

Devin Hester (born November 4, 1982) is an American football wide receiver and return specialist for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He is an alumnus of the University of Miami, where he became the first person in the university’s recent history to play on all three teams of American football (offense, defense, special teams). Hester began his professional career with the Bears in 2006, and quickly made an impact as a kick returner. Dubbed the "Windy City Flyer" and "Anytime", Hester holds the league's all-time record for most kicks returned for a touchdown in a season.

Hester attended Suncoast High School, where he played football as a cornerback, wide receiver, return specialist, and running back. He earned recognition from as the top high school prospect in Florida, and Parade, who named Hester onto their All-American team. Hester also participated in the 2002 CaliFlorida Bowl, where he returned a kick for an 80-yard touchdown. His success prompted his teammates to nickname him "Sugar Foot".

During his youth, Hester enjoyed following the Dallas Cowboys. He especially idolized Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. He was also a fan of the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson era. Fred Taylor of the University of Florida was Hester's favorite athlete. In addition to football, he also enjoyed playing soccer and following baseball.

After completing high school, Hester enrolled into the University of Miami. As a sophomore, he earned national recognition after being named onto the "Walter Camp All-America Team" and “The Sporting News' All-America team”. Hester’s recognition was influenced by his prodigious success as a kick returner. His ability to thrust laterally and breakaway from pursuers made him one of the nation’s most dangerous return specialists. During his freshman year, Hester returned an opening kick for a 97-yard touchdown against the University of Florida. In a game against Duke University in 2005, Hester broke six tackles while returning an 81-yard punt. Ultimately, Hester completed his college career with a total of six touchdowns from kick returns, including one blocked field goal return. He also scored one rushing and receiving touchdown, and recorded five interceptions as a defensive back.

Hester became the first football player in Miami Hurricanes' recent history to play as member of the special, offensive, and defensive teams. He was known as "Hurricane Hester" by his fans and teammates. During his productive tenure at the University of Miami, Hester befriended Deion Sanders through Ed Reed, one of Sanders’ teammates who was an alumnus of the University of Miami. Deion Sanders counseled, advised, and encouraged Hester. Hester was also known as “Anytime” in college, which is a tribute to Sanders’ nickname, “Prime Time”. He also adopted Sanders’ signature touchdown dance, and showboating maneuvers, which he carried to his future NFL career.

Hester began his professional career in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears, who selected him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. The team originally drafted Hester as a cornerback, but they intended to play him as a return specialist, following the retirement of Jerry Azumah, and departure of Bobby Wade. The team's decision to draft Hester was initially criticized by fans and sports analysts, who believed the Bears should have spent their early picks on offensive prospects.

In thirteen weeks as a professional football player, Hester recorded six return touchdowns, including a punt return in his NFL debut, and a then-record tying 108-yard touchdown from a missed field goal against the New York Giants. He also returned a punt for a clutch 83-yard game-winning touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals, and two kickoff returns in one game against the St. Louis Rams. Following his record-breaking game during week fourteen, opposing teams exercised additional caution when allowing Hester to return kicks. During the postseason Hester ran back a punt at a critical moment against the Seattle Seahawks, but it was called back on a blocking penalty. Regardless, the Bears won both NFC playoffs rounds, and advanced to Super Bowl XLI to play the Indianapolis Colts. He started the game on a high note for the Bears by returning the game’s opening kick for a touchdown. The feat was the first touchdown return in an opening kickoff in Super Bowl history. It also marked the quickest lead ever taken by any team. Following the kick, the Colts did not kick the ball directly to Hester, significantly limiting the Bears’ return efforts.

Hester's feats in 2006 earned him three NFC Special Teams Player of the week Awards, and a trip to the 2007 Pro Bowl. After the 2006 season ended, he was named as the "NFC’s Player of the Month" for December, and was a finalist in the 2006 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year voting. He was also voted onto the Associated Press’s 2006 All-Pro team with 48 and a half votes, finishing fourth behind LaDainian Tomlinson, Champ Bailey, and Jason Taylor who all received 50 votes. He finished the 2006 season by accumulating three touchdowns for 600 yards on 47 punt returns, and two touchdowns for 528 yards on 20 kick returns, thus making him one of the league’s most productive kick and punt returners. Even without taking an offensive snap prior to week fourteen, Hester was the Bears' second leading scorer, behind kicker Robbie Gould. On a negative note, Hester struggled to control the football at times, having games with multiple fumbles on at least two separate occasions.

Many fans speculated that Hester’s speed and prior experience as a wide receiver would earn him a spot on the Bears' offense, similar to teammate Rashied Davis. While Lovie Smith dismissed the speculation, he played Hester as a wide receiver for one play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 17, 2006. Hester attributes his talent to his mentor, Deion Sanders, whom Hester claims helped him perfect his return game. Sanders, a former cornerback and kick returner, compliments Hester after every productive performance. However, Sanders also berated Hester for taunting another player en route to his second touchdown return against the St. Louis Rams. His teammates and coaches have also praised Hester. After the 2006 season, he was voted to receive the team's Brian Piccolo Award, which is given to a player who possesses a good character and work ethic.

Shortly after losing Super Bowl XLI, Hester and special teams coach Dave Toub spent a significant amount of time working on new return strategies and formations. Ultimately, Lovie Smith converted Hester into a wide receiver, in order to increase the amount of opportunities he would receive during a game. Hester, who originally played as a wide receiver at the University of Miami, was initially hesitant about making the switch to offense, as he wished to follow in the footsteps of Deion Sanders. However, the Bears’ coaching staff eventually persuaded Hester to make the transition over the summer. During the 2007 off-season, Hester won the Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY Award.

Before the Bears’ week twelve match-up against the Denver Broncos, Todd Sauerbrun infamously stated that he would kick the ball to Hester. Hester, who had not returned a kick for a touchdown in almost a month, responded by returning a punt and kick-off for touchdowns. Keith Olbermann, a commentator for NBC Sunday Night Football, awarded Sauerbrun with the dubious “Worst Person in the NFL Award” for kicking the ball to Hester, and failing to tackle him. The two touchdowns gave Hester the most kick returns for touchdowns in the Bears’ franchise history. Hester concluded the season with 64-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 55-yard touchdown reception against the New Orleans Saints. He was even given the opportunity to throw a pass on a variation of a wide receiver reverse, but he was sacked while motioning to Bernard Berrian.

Hester finished the season with six kicks returned for touchdowns, which set a League record. He finished the season ranking fourth on the League’s all-time combined kick return list, behind Brian Mitchell (13), Eric Metcalf (12), and Dante Hall (12). Additionally, he amassed 299 yards on twenty receptions as a receiver, though he was often used as a decoy. His play on offense received mix commentary. While the Bears’ coaching staff believed Hester showed enough progress to become one of the teams top receivers in 2008, Hester was prone to making small errors, including running routes incorrectly or dropping catches. He drew a fifteen-yard face-mask penalty whilst attempting to fend off a would-be tackler in a game against the Saints, and received a $5,000 dollar fine. Nevertheless, Hester concluded the season with four Player of the Week Awards, giving him a franchise high seven total in his career, and an invitation to the 2008 Pro Bowl.

Prior to the beginning of the 2008 season, Hester stated that he would not attend the Bears' summer camp unless the team offered him a new contract. He further voiced his displeasure in a phone interview with the Chicago Tribune, with his current contract, commenting, "I can’t go out and play this year making $445,000. Come on, man." Adam Schefter believes that the Bears are puzzled over how Hester should be classified (as a wide receiver or a return specialist of such a star caliber), and be offered a contract accordingly. After receiving a $30,000 fine for not attending two days of training, Hester returned to the team's camp. The team later offered him a new four-year contract extension, which is reportedly worth up to $40-million dollars.

Hester missed the third game of the season after tearing cartilage in his ribs during the previous week. He returned to the field in the team's week four contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, where he caught his first touchdown of the season. Lovie Smith gave Hester his first starting job as a wide receiver the next week, in place of the injured Brandon Lloyd. Hester went on to catch five passes for 66 yards and one touchdown. In the following week, Hester totaled 87 yards on 6 receptions.

After a week eight bye week, Hester caught 4 passes for 42 yards and had an 11-yard run against the Detroit Lions. He eventually lost his kick return duties to Danieal Manning, but began receiving more playtime as a wide receiver. Between weeks 12 and 15, Hester caught 17 passes for 250 yards, and one touchdown. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune regarded Hester as the team's “biggest threat in the passing game.“ He concluded the season by catching 51 passes for a team high 665 yards. Unlike his previous two seasons in the NFL, Hester did not record a single touchdown return, and only averaged 6.2 yards per punt return. Lovie Smith commented on Hester at the end of the season by saying, "I know his returns dropped off a little bit this year, but his plate was full there for a while. We think we have a happy medium now for him as a punt returner and continuing to develop as a receiver.” Hester was also selected to play in the 2009 Pro Bowl as a third alternate.

Hester is in a relationship with Tamara James, a women's basketball player he met at the University of Miami. James currently plays professionally for the Washington Mystics. In an interview with the Black Sports Network in 2005, Hester revealed that he was engaged to James, but the couple had not yet set a date for their marriage ceremony. A later article by the Chicago Tribune confirmed that he had proposed to James on June 6, 2005 at a Miami Heat basketball game. Hester’s family resides in Florida and was struck by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Hester has assisted his family financially in helping them rebuild their home. His brother Lenorris Jr., resides with Hester during the regular season in their Chicago area home. Raised in a Christian household, Hester brings a Bible to every game he plays.

Hester’s successful rookie year drew him much publicity and popularity. Ever since his record-breaking performance against the Rams, Hester has been offered marketing opportunities from Nike, soft drink, and cell phone companies. There has also been a surge in the demand for Hester’s jerseys within the Chicago area sporting stores. Also, Hester was invited to throw the ceremonial opening pitch and sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game at the Chicago Cubs' 2007 home opener. Along with teammates Rex Grossman and Tommie Harris, Hester appeared on the February 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids. His reputation has also been bolstered by EA Sports' Madden NFL 08, where Hester's perfect 100 speed rating made him the fastest player in the game's history. Hester also appeared in a promotional video for the game.

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Source : Wikipedia