All-Time Teams: Indianapolis Colts



Introduction

In my endless research of all things football and through my passion for the history of the NFL, I have decided to try and compile an All-Time Team for all 32 current NFL franchises. By All-Time Team I mean a starting roster compiled of the very best players to ever put on each franchise’s jersey. I will be starting in alphabetical order by current franchise location, so Arizona Cardinals all the way to The Washington Football Team, with the goal of releasing one to two All-Time teams a week for the duration of the current NFL season. This is meant to be fun and cause some debate and is based on my opinion after all my research and deep dives into each franchise’s history. Of course, not everyone will agree with who I chose, and I’d love to hear from anyone who agrees or disagrees, but first, let’s lay out some ground rules for how I came up with each team.


1. Each team roster will consist of the following:

Offense - 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 OT, 2 OG, 1 C

Defense - 2 DE, 2 DT, 3 LB, 2 CB, 2 S

Special Teams - 1 K, 1 P, 1 Returner

Coach - 1 Head Coach


2. I only considered an individual’s stats and contributions with each specific franchise. For example, Peyton Manning’s years with the Broncos were not considered when deciding on the starting QB of the Colts All-Time Team. As a result, the stats and awards listed with each individual player are only those that were achieved with that specific franchise.


3. A player cannot represent two teams as the starter. Players who spent time with more than one team were considered for the franchise they spent the most time with or had the most impact on. This rule led to some interesting scenarios that I will discuss in detail with each specific article to try and clear up any confusion.


4. A player’s stats and impact were considered in context with their era. This won’t simply be a listing of who passed or ran for the most yards in franchise history.


5. All stats are from Pro-Football-Reference and through the 2021 season. I will also be counting sacks from 1960, though the NFL doesn't officially count sacks until 1982.


6. Players in the "Honorable Mentions" section are ordered by year. It's not an indication of where I believe they rank in franchise history.


Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!


Indianapolis Colts All-Time Team


Franchise Information

First Season: 1953

  1. Baltimore Colts (1953-1983)

  2. Indianapolis Colts (1984-Present)

Record: 543-481-7 (53.03 W-L%)

Playoff Record: 23-25

Super Bowls Won: 2 (1970 and 2006) (Lost in 1968 and 2009)

Pre-Super Bowl Championships Won: 3 (1958, 1959 and 1968) (Lost in 1964)

Passing Leader: Peyton Manning 4,682/7,210 | 54,828 Yds | 399 TD

Rushing Leader: Edgerrin James 2,188 Att | 9,226 Yds | 64 TD

Receiving Leader: Marvin Harrison 1,102 Rec | 14,580 Yds | 128 TD

Sack Leader: Robert Mathis 123 Sk

Interception Leader: Bobby Boyd 57 Int

Scoring Leader: Adam Vinatieri 1,515 Points

Winningest Coach: Tony Dungy 85-27


QB: Peyton Manning (1998-2010)

Record: 141-67 | 64.9 Cmp% | 54,828 Yds | 399 TD | 198 Int | 722 Rush Yds | 17 TD | Led League in Cmp 2000, 2003 and 2010 (357, 379, 450) | Led League in Cmp% 2003 (67%) | Led League in Yds 2000 and 2003 (4,413, 4,267) | Led League in TD 2000, 2004 and 2006 (33, 49, 31) | Led League in Yds/A 2003 (9.2) | Led League in Yds/G 2003 (266.7) | Led League in QB Rating 2004, 2005 and 2006 (121.1, 104.1, 101) | 11x Pro-Bowl (99, 00, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10) | 5x All-Pro (03, 04, 05, 08, 09) | 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 MVP | 2004 Offensive Player of the Year | 2003 and 2004 Bert Bell | 2005 Walter Payton Man of the Year | 2006 Super Bowl Champion | 2009 AFC Champion | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2021


This spot was obviously between Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas and I'm going with Peyton Manning. They both revolutionized the position, set countless records and won championships, but I personally think Manning is the second greatest quarterback ever, behind only Tom Brady. Manning was maybe the most dominant quarterback in the history of the NFL, he could single handedly run an offense and turn a team around. He never missed a game in his 13 seasons in Indianapolis and won at least 10 games in 11 of them. Manning took the Colts to the playoffs 11 times and the Super Bowl twice, winning in 2006. He led the league in completions three times, in completion percentage once, in yards twice, in touchdowns three times, yards per attempt once, yards per game once and quarterback rating three times. Manning was named to 11 Pro-Bowls and five All-Pro Teams as well as being named the league MVP in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009. If you include his seasons with the Broncos, theirs a case to be made that he's the greatest regular season quarterback of all time. At retirement, he held the NFL record in virtually every passing category. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-2000s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021.

It's worth mentioning that Johnny Unitas would be the starting quarterback on almost every other team. He completely revolutionized the position and was unanimously considered the GOAT when he retired. He led the league in every major passing category multiple times and was named to 10 Pro-Bowls and five All-Pro Teams as well as being named the MVP three different times. His stats and awards can be seen in more detail below.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Johnny Unitas (1956-1972) | Record: 117-60-4 | 54.7 Cmp% | 39,768 Yds | 287 TD | 246 Int | 1,777 Rush Yds | 13 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp 1959, 1960 and 1963 (193, 190, 237) | Led League in Cmp% 1967 (58.5%) | Led League in Yds 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1963 (2,550, 2,899, 3,099, 3,481) | Led League in TD 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960 (24, 19, 32, 25) | Led League in Yds/A 1957, 1964 and 1965 (8.5, 9.3, 9.0) | Led League in Yds/G 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1963 (212.5, 241.6, 258.3) | Led League in QB Rating 1957, 1958 and 1965 (88, 90, 97.4) | 10x Pro-Bowl (57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67) | 5x All-Pro (58, 59, 64, 65, 67) | 1959, 1964 and 1967 MVP | 1959, 1964 and 1967 Bert Bell | 1970 Walter Payton Man of the Year | 1958, 1959 and 1968 NFL Champion | 1964 NFL Championship Appearance | 1970 Super Bowl Champion | Hall of Fame All-1960s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1979

  2. Earl Morrall (1968-1971) | Record: 22-3-1 | 53.7 Cmp% | 5,666 Yds | 47 TD | 40 Int | 37 Rush Yds | 1 Rush TD | Led League in TD 1968 (26) | Led League in Yds/A 1968 (9.2) | 1x Pro-Bowl (68) | 1x All-Pro (68) | 1968 MVP | 1968 NFL Champion | 1970 Super Bowl Champion

  3. Bert Jones (1973-1981) | Record: 46-46 | 56.1 Cmp% | 17,663 Yds | 122 TD | 97 Int | 1,356 Yds | 14 TD | Led League in Cmp 1977 (224) | Led League in Yds 1976 (3,104) | 1x Pro-Bowl (76) | 1x All-Pro (76) | 1976 MVP | 1976 Offensive Player of the Year

  4. Jim Harbaugh (1994-1997) | Record: 20-26 | 60.7 Cmp% | 8,705 Yds | 49 TD | 26 Int | 856 Rush Yds | 3 Rush TD | Led League in Yds/A 1995 (8.2) | Led League in QB Rating 1995 (100.7) | 1x Pro-Bowl (95) | 1995 Comeback Player of the Year

  5. Andrew Luck (2012-2018) | Record: 53-33 | 60.8 Cmp% | 23,671 Yds | 171 TD | 83 Int | 1,590 Rush Yds | 14 Rush TD | Led League in TD 2014 (40) | 4x Pro-Bowl (12, 13, 14, 18) | 2018 Comeback Player of the Year


RB: Edgerrin James (1999-2005)

4.2 Yds/A | 9,226 Yds | 64 TD | 356 Rec | 2,839 Rec Yds | 11 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1999 and 2000 (1,553, 1,709) | Led League in YScm 2000 (2,303) | Led League in RRTD 1999 (17) | 4x Pro-Bowl (99, 00, 04, 05) | 1x All-Pro (99) | 1999 Offensive Rookie of the Year | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2020


Manning's long-time teammate, Edgerrin James gets the first spot at running back for the All-Time Colts. James spent seven seasons in Indianapolis, rushing for over 1,000 yards in five of them, including leading the league twice. He also led the league in yards from scrimmage once and combined rushing and receiving touchdowns once. His best season was 2000, when he had 1,700 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. James is the franchise leader in yards and touchdowns and was named to four Pro-Bowls and the 1999 All-Pro Team. He was the 1999 Offensive Rookie of the Year, named to the Hall of Fame All-2000s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020.

RB: Lenny Moore (1956-1967)

4.8 Yds/A | 5,174 Yds | 63 TD | 363 Rec | 6,039 Rec Yds | 48 Rec TD | Led League in TD 1964 (16) | Led League in Yds/A 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1961 (7.5, 5, 7.3, 7) | Led League in Yds/Touch 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961 (7.7, 8.5, 11.6, 9.1, 9.6, 9.8) | Led League in YScm 1957 (1,175) | Led League in RRTD 1957 and 1964 (10, 19) | 7x Pro-Bowl (56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64) | 5x All-Pro (58, 59, 60, 61, 64) | Hall of Fame All-1950s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1975


The next running back for the All-Time Colts is Lenny Moore. Moore may be the best dual threat running back in NFL history. He spent 12 seasons with the Colts, racking up over 5,000 yards rushing and 6,000 yards receiving. Moore led the league in rushing touchdowns once, yards per attempt four times, yards per touch six times, yards from scrimmage once and combined rushing and receiving touchdowns twice. He was named to seven Pro-Bowls and five All-Pro Teams. Moore was named to the Hall of Fame All-1950s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975. Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson surprisingly spent some great seasons with the Colts, although they are both more remembered for their years with the Rams.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Alan Ameche (1955-1960) | 4.2 Yds/A | 4,045 Yds | 40 TD | 101 Rec | 733 Rec Yds | 4 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1955 (961) | Led League in TD 1955 (9) | Led League in YScm 1955 (1,102) | Led League RRTD 1955 (9) | 4x Pro-Bowl (55, 56, 57, 58) | 1x All-Pro (55) | Hall of Fame All-1950s Team

  2. Jerry Hill (1961-1970) | 3.8 Yds/A | 2,668 Yds | 22 TD | 117 Rec | 970 Rec Yds | 3 Rec TD

  3. Tom Matte (1961-1972) | 3.9 Yds/A | 4,646 Yds | 45 TD | 249 Rec | 2,869 Rec Yds | 12 Rec TD | Led League in TD 1969 (11) | Led League in YScm 1969 (1,422) | Led League in RRTD 1969 (13) | 2x Pro-Bowl (68, 69) | 1x All-Pro (69)

  4. Don McCauley (1971-1981) | 3.4 Yds/A | 2,627 Yds | 40 TD | 333 Rec | 3,026 Rec Yds | 17 Rec TD

  5. Lydell Mitchell (1972-1977) | 3.9 Yds/A | 5,487 Yds | 27 TD | 298 Rec | 2,523 Rec Yds | 14 Rec TD | Led League in Rec 1974 and 1977 (72, 71) | 3x Pro-Bowl (75, 76, 77)

  6. Eric Dickerson (1987-1991) | 4.1 Yds/A | 5,194 Yds | 32 TD | 138 Rec | 1,082 Rec Yds | 3 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1988 (1,659) | Led League in Yds/G 1988 (103.7) | Led League in YScm 1988 (2,036) | 3x Pro-Bowl (87, 88, 89) | 2x All-Pro (87, 88) | Hall of Fame All-1980s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1999

  7. Marshall Faulk (1994-1998) | 3.8 Yds/A | 5,320 Yds | 42 TD | 297 Rec | 2,804 Rec Yds | 9 Rec TD | Led League in YScm 1998 (2,227) | 3x Pro-Bowl (94, 95, 98) | 1994 Offensive Rookie of the Year | Hall of Fame Class 2011

  8. Joseph Addai (2006-2011) | 4.1 Yds/A | 4,453 Yds | 39 TD | 191 Rec | 1,448 Rec Yds | 9 Rec TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (07)

  9. Jonathan Taylor (2020-Present) | 5.3 Yds/A | 2,980 Yds | 29 TD | 76 Rec | 659 Rec Yds | 3 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 2021 (1,811) | Led League in TD 2021 (18) | Led League in Yds/G 2021 (106.5) | Led League in YScm 2021 (2,171) | Led League in RRTD 2021 (20) | 1x Pro-Bowl (21) | 1x All-Pro (21)


WR: Marvin Harrison (1996-2008)

1,102 Rec | 14,580 Yds | 128 TD | Led League in Rec 2000 and 2002 (102, 143) | Led League in Yds 1999 and 2002 (1,663, 1,722) | Led League in TD 2005 (12) | Led League in Yds/G 1999 and 2002 (103.9, 107.6) 8x Pro-Bowl (99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06) | 3x All-Pro (99, 02, 06) | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2016


Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning made the greatest quarterback to wide receiver duo in NFL history, so it's no surprise to see Harrison here. He had at least 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight different seasons, including leading the league in yards twice, receptions twice, and touchdowns once. Harrison is the franchise leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He was voted to eight Pro-Bowls and three All-Pro Teams. Harrison currently ranks fifth all time in receptions, ninth all time in yards and fifth all time in touchdowns in NFL history. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-2000s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.


WR: Raymond Berry (1955-1967)

631 Rec | 9,275 Yds | 68 TD | Led League in Rec 1958, 1959 and 1960 (56, 66, 74) | Led League in Yds 1957, 1959 and 1960 (800, 959, 1,298) | Led League in TD 1958 and 1959 (9, 14) | Led League in Yds/G 1959 and 1960 (79.9, 108.2) | Led League in RRTD 1959 (14) | 6x Pro-Bowl (58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64) | 3x All-Pro (58, 59, 60) | Hall of Fame All-1950s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1973


Before Manning to Harrison, there was Unitas to Berry. Raymond Berry was one of the greatest wide receivers of his era, leading the league in receptions three times, yards three times, touchdowns twice, yards per game twice and combined rushing and receiving touchdowns once. Berry had at least 600 yards in 11 seasons and had at least 10 touchdowns twice. His best season came in 1960 when he had 74 receptions for 1,298 yards and 10 touchdowns. At retirement he was