The club was officially founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1953, but can trace its history to the Dayton Triangles, a founding member of the NFL that was originally created in 1913. After a series of changes, it assumed the "Baltimore Colts" name, replacing a previous team that folded in 1950. Playing at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, the Colts became the first NFL team to have cheerleaders. The team then relocated to Indianapolis in 1984, first playing at the Hoosier Dome, which was then renamed the RCA Dome before moving to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008.
The Colts won four NFL championships (three NFL Championships in 1958, 1959, 1968; and Super Bowl V in 1971) while in Baltimore. Since moving to Indianapolis, they won Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Also since 1998, the team has become the first in league history to win 12 games or more in five consecutive seasons—extending this record to seven after the 2009 season. The team headquarters and practice facilities are also located in Indianapolis.
The Colts franchise was officially created in 1953, but its been debated the franchise can trace its history much earlier than that, to before the NFL actually began as the Dayton Triangles, a founding member of the NFL that was originally created in 1913.
In 1946, the bankrupt Miami Seahawks of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) were purchased and relocated in Baltimore. As the result of a fan contest in Baltimore, the team was renamed the Baltimore Colts. The AAFC and NFL merged in 1950, and the Colts joined the NFL. However, the franchise folded after one NFL season. After fans in Baltimore protested, the NFL formed another Colts team out of the failed Dallas Texans for the 1953 season. Although debatable from a historical perspective, neither the Colts franchise or the National Football League consider the various incarnations as part of the modern Colts franchise.
While in Baltimore, the club won four NFL Championships, including Super Bowl V. Before the 1984 season, the Colts moved to Indianapolis for a new stadium. They were renamed the Indianapolis Colts, which they remain to this day.
Two years removed from their upset loss to the Jets, the Colts rode Johnny Unitas and their defense to an AFC best 11-2-1 record. They defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 17-0 in the divisional round and defeated the Oakland Raiders 27-17 in the AFC Championship game to reach Super Bowl V. This was the first Super Bowl played after the merger of the NFL and AFL and the first one played on an artificial surface.
The game itself became known as the "Blunder Bowl". Both teams combined for 11 turnovers and 14 penalties. In addition, Unitas left the game with a rib injury forcing the Colts to turn to Earl Morrall to finish the game. A turnover led to the Colts tying the score at 13 and an interception by Mike Curtis gave the Colts the ball at the Cowboys 28. With nine seconds left, rookie kicker Jim O'Brien made a 32 yard field goal to win the Super Bowl for the Colts. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley was named Super Bowl MVP after intercepting 2 passes and returning them 22 yards and forcing a fumble. This made him the first defensive player to win Super Bowl MVP and the only member of the losing team to win the award.
Behind Peyton Manning and Adam Vinatieri, the Colts went 12-4 clinching the AFC South title. The timely return of safety Bob Sanders shored up their defense. In the playoffs, they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 23-8 in the wild-card round, defeated the Baltimore Ravens 15-6 in the divisional round, and overcame an 18 point deficit to defeat the New England Patriots 38-34 in the AFC championship game to reach Super Bowl XLI. This was the first Super Bowl where it rained.
The game featured a historic first as both the Colts Tony Dungy and the Bears Lovie Smith were the first African-American head coaches to make it to the Super Bowl.
Despite giving up a touchdown to the Bears Devin Hester on the opening kickoff and being down 14-6 after the first quarter, the Colts took a 16-14 lead into the half. With the Colts up 22-17 in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Hayden returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 12. Sanders intercepted a pass on the next possession and Matt Giordano deflected a pass to force a turnover on downs on the possession after the interception. Combined with Dominic Rhodes's running, the Colts ran time off the clock to seal the win.
Manning was named Super Bowl MVP after completing 25 of 238 passes for 247 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. Dungy became the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl.