High school varsity football scores

Check out our top picks for the best moments of 35 seasons of Colts football in Indianapolis

Photos from Getty

The Colts are celebrating their 35th season of pro football in Indianapolis.

From the midnight move out of Baltimore to a Super Bowl championship and the homecoming for a legend, we’re looking at our top 35 Colts memories with help from longtime Indianapolis Colts beat writer and analyst Mike Chappell.

Read through our picks and vote for your favorite at the bottom of the post!

Here we go:

35. March 28, 1984: The Colts move to Indy in the middle of the night

Chappell’s take: “The City of Baltimore was not willing to give Bob Irsay a new stadium for the Colts to play in. Irsay decided to pack up his team and move the Colts in the middle of the night to their new home in Indianapolis, Indiana.”

34. September 2, 1984: First regular season game as the Indianapolis Colts

Chappell’s take: “1984–first regular season game as the Indianapolis Colts was played against the Jets. The Colts lost, 23-14.”

33. October 18, 2015: The fake punt to nowhere

Chappell’s take: “The Colts attempt to do a trick play against the Patriots that goes horribly wrong. Even if the play worked, the Colts offense would’ve been offsides for an illegal formation.”

32. January 15, 2005: Colts lose in final seconds of playoff game on Mike Vanderjagt’s missed field goal

Chappell’s take: “The Colts trailed the Steelers throughout most of the game, but they start to make a comeback. Kicker Mike Vanderjagt misses a game-tying field goal in the final seconds of the AFC Divisional Game, allowing the Steelers to win 21-18.”

31. January 7, 2008: Bob Sanders honored as Defensive Player of the Year

Chappell’s take: “Safety Bob Sanders was named AP Defensive Player of the Year, the first and only Colt player to earn the award. He was the 44th pick in the 2004 draft and the last to be signed with the Colts.”

30. October 25, 1992: Steve Emtman saves the day

Chappell’s take: “Defensive end Steve Emtman picks off Dan Marino for a game-saving interception and returns it 90 yards for a TD, beating the undefeated Dolphins 31-20. Great moment, in what could’ve been a great career for Emtman.”

29. October 15, 2000: RB Edgerrin James runs for 219 yards against the Seahawks

Chappell’s take: “Edgerrin James defined the one-back offense for the Colts. He rushed for 219 yards against the Seahawks. If you would’ve asked Peyton Manning what made the Colts go those years, he would’ve said it was Edgerrin James.”

28. 2002 Season: WR Marvin Harrison sets NFL record with 143 catches in a single season

Chappell’s take:Last season, Antonio Brown had 136 [receptions], Julio Jones had 136. Harrison’s record still stands today and could stand for another 20 years.”

27. September 26, 2004: Peyton Manning beats Brett Favre in a shootout

Chappell’s take: “Peyton Manning went against Brett Favre, where the game lived up to the hype. Peyton threw 5 TDs while Brett Favre ‘only’ threw for 4 TDs. The Colts won 45 to 31.”

26. September 28, 2003: Peyton Manning sets a team record with six touchdown passes

Chappell’s take: “Peyton Manning had a historic night against the Saints during Sunday Night Football. 20-25 passing, 314 passing yards, and a team record of 6 TDs, all within the first three quarters of the game.”

25. April 22, 1990: The Colts take Indianapolis native Jeff George with their first-round draft pick

Chappell’s take: “The Colts traded for a first-round draft pick to draft Warren Central High School native, quarterback Jeff George. After two seasons, George only went 14-35 and the Colts ended up trading him to the Falcons in 1993.”

24. December 22, 1997: Jim Irsay hires Bill Polian as general manager

Chappell’s take: “Jim Irsay trades a draft pick to hire GM Bill Polian. During his time as GM, Polian drafted Peyton Manning, led the Colts to 11 playoff appearances, two Super Bowl appearances, and a World Championship.”

23. November 15, 2009: Colts come back to beat the Patriot with time running out

Chappell’s take: “With less than five minutes to go, the Patriots decided not to punt on 4th down and 2. The Patriots failed to get the first down and Peyton Manning took the lead after six plays and won the game the game 35-34.”

22. 2016 Hall of Fame class: Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy inducted into Hall of Fame

Chappell’s take: “Wide receiver Marvin Harrison and head coach Tony Dungy were both elected into the NFL Hall of Fame. Harrison, who wasn’t known for speaking to the media, gave an 11-minute speech. Dungy is the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.”

21. October 31, 1988: The Colts set the record for most points scored in a Monday Night Football game

Chappell’s take: “The Colts played against the Broncos on Monday Night Football where Eric Dickerson ran for 159 yards and had 4 TDs. The Colts’ 55-23 win broke the record for the highest point total in MNF history.”

20. October 31, 1987: Jim Irsay makes three-team trade with the Rams and Bills for RB Eric Dickerson.

Chappell’s take: “In exchange, the Colts gave up three first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, and two running backs.”

19. January 4, 2004: Peyton Manning throws a perfect game in the AFC Wild Card Round

Chappell’s take: After criticism for his playoff appearances, Peyton Manning tossed a perfect game against the Broncos in the AFC Wild Card game with a 158.3 passer rating, 377 yards, and 5 TDs.”

18. 2004 season: Peyton Manning breaks Dan Marino’s record for TD passes in a season

Chappell’s take: “Peyton Manning broke Dan Marino’s single season TD Passes with 49 TDs. Tom Brady later broke the record with 50 TD passes in 2007, but Peyton came back and threw 55 TDs in 2013 as a Bronco.”

17. April 26, 2012: The Colts select Andrew Luck with the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft

Chappell’s take: “The hype machine spun crazily in April of 2012 when the Colts selected Andrew Luck. It was the preseason opener against the Rams. What transpired was lightning striking twice. Luck’s first pass was a dump off to Donald Brown, who weaved his way through the defense for a 63-yard touchdown. Luck said, ‘Easiest touchdown I’ll ever have in my life.'”

16. August 8, 1998: Genesis of Manning-to-Harrison

Chappell’s take: “From the very start, Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison were special. Exhibit A, Manning’s first NFL pass in the 1998 preseason opener. The first possession against the Seahawks, Manning looked to his right where Harrison always lined up, threw a short pass and Harrison ran for a 48-yard touchdown. Manning’s reaction, ‘The NFL is easy. You throw a short pass to Marvin Harrison and he scores touchdowns.'”

15. October 20, 2013: Peyton Manning returns to Indy to play against Andrew Luck

Chappell’s take: “It was midseason 2013 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts’ very decorated past, Peyton Manning, met the Colts’ present, Andrew Luck, on the field. It was Manning’s first return to Indy and he was honored with a video tribute and standing ovation. He responded by waving to the crowd and tapping his chest. Then, game on. Luck led the Colts to victory, but key to their success was a blindside strip-sack by Robert Mathis of Manning that resulted in a safety. Mathis always wanted to sack his former teammate.”

14. January 11, 2014: Luck beats Manning during the playoffs

Chappell’s take: “The match-up between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck unfolded in the 2014 divisional game in Denver. Luck, 265 yards with two touchdown passes. Manning, was limited to 211 yards and one touchdown on 46 attempts. They sacked him twice, including a sack-fumble by rookie Jonathan Newsome. The NFL is all about performing in the postseason and finding a way to do so on the road–the Colts checked off both boxes.”

13. January 7, 1996: Colts play coldest game in franchise history against the Chiefs in Kansas City

Chappell’s take: “There’s cold, then there’s Arrowhead Stadium in January of 1996. It remains the coldest game in the Colts Indy era. Kickoff, 11 degrees, with a wind chill of negative 15 degrees. The Colts went against the odds for the second straight week and completed a stunning upset against the Kansas City Chiefs.”

12. March 22, 2006: Colts sign kicker Adam Vinatieri from the Patriots

Chappell’s take: “During the 2006 offseason, Jim Irsay signed Adam Vinatieri away from the New England Patriots for one purpose: make the important kicks. Vinatieri earned his contract against the Ravens in Baltimore. When the defense stepped up, so did Vinatieri. A 23-yard field goal, 42, 51, 48, and a 35-yard field goal that clenched a 15-to-6 victory. The best memory coming from the game: after each kick, Tony Dungy on the sideline mouthing the word, ‘Money’…that’s Adam Vinatieri.”

11. October 7, 2012: Colts rally to win one for Chuck Pagano

Chappell’s take: “One of the most emotional games in Colts history occurred early in 2012 with Chuck Pagano lying down in a hospital bed battling leukemia and Luck and Wayne spearheading a dramatic rally at Lucas Oil Stadium. On the game-winning drive, Wayne caught the ball short of the goal-line, stretched, leaned, scored a touchdown. ‘Best game of the career,’ Wayne said. ‘It was all for Chuck.'”

10. October 6, 2003: The Tampa Bay comeback

Chappell’s take: “One of the more improbable comebacks occurred in October 2003 and I’m guessing a good portion of the Colts fanbase missed it. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers led 35-14 and back in Indy, it was bedtime. The Colts were about to become the first team to overcome a 21-point deficit with less than 5 minutes to play. Three touchdowns led them into overtime. Mike Vanderjagt converted a 29-yard field goal that ricochet off the right upright. What a late night/early morning!”

9. December 27, 1987: First playoff appearance in Indianapolis Colts history

Chappell’s take: “Not since 1977 had the Colts Baltimore Variety been involved in the playoffs. The drought ended when the Colts Indianapolis Variety won their final two games of the 1987 season to earn a Wild Card playoff berth. Just like that, the Indianapolis Colts were invited to the NFL’s biggest party.”

8. December 31, 1995: Zack Crockett, out of nowhere

Chappell’s take: “The Colts were in San Diego for a 1995 Wild Card playoff game…and no one saw this coming. Marshall Faulk entered the postseason with a bum knee. Hello, Zack Crockett. He carried a team playoff record of 147 yards in just 13 attempts.”

7. 2012 season: Andrew Luck leads the Colts to the playoffs during his first season

Chappell’s take: “Timing is everything. A forgettable season was followed by a franchise-defining draft pick in 2012. Welcome to Indy, Andrew Luck. In his first three seasons, the Colts reached the playoffs each year. They advanced to the AFC Championship Game after the 2014 season.”

6. January 4, 2014: Andrew Luck leads historic comeback against the Chiefs

Chappell’s take: “In 2013, Andrew Luck led the Colts to the first ‘post-Manning home playoff win’ against the Kansas City Chiefs. They staged the second biggest comeback in NFL playoff history, beating the Chiefs 45-44.”

5. January 14, 1996: Colts lose AFC Championship Game on Hail Mary attempt

Chappell’s take: “In the 1995 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, the Colts came THAT CLOSE to stunning the NFL. Trailing the Steelers by four and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Jim Harbaugh looked for a miracle. They called for a Hail Mary; they were denied. As Harbaugh’s pass arrived, [wide receiver Aaron] Bailey was surrounded by Steelers. There was serious contact, Bailey tumbled to the ground and the ball rolled off his chest.”

4. February 7, 2010: Colts fall short in Super Bowl XLIV against the Saints

Chappell’s take: “A second world championship was right there, only to be bobbled away on the first play of the second half. In a 31-17 Super Bowl loss to the New Orleans Saints on the same field that hosted the Colts Super Bowl victory against the Bears, the Colts failed to execute the right plays at the right time. If only Hank Baskett had recovered the onside kick.”

3. April 18, 1998: Colts draft soon-to-be franchise QB Peyton Manning

Chappell’s take: “Everything changed April 18, 1998. Jim Irsay and general manager Bill Polian aligned themselves with an All-American quarterback from Tennessee. Over the next 13 seasons the Colts would reach the playoffs 11 times, advance to the Super Bowl twice and win a world title.”

2. January 21, 2007: “This is our time”: Colts top Patriots in the AFC Championship

Chappell’s take: “Jeff Saturday delivered the motivational speech as the Colts prepared for their 2006 AFC Championship match-up with the Patriots. ‘This is our time.’ A game for the ages included touchdown by three linemen, Joseph Addai’s three-yard touchdown behind Saturday’s block and Marlin Jackson intercepted Brady’s pass and slid to the turf with 16 seconds remaining. The Colts won, 38 to 34.”

1. February 4 2007: Colts win Super Bowl XLI

Chappell’s take: “It was Super Bowl XLI, February 4th, 2007. They claimed their second Super Bowl championship and third NFL title on a damp evening in South Florida. No longer were the Colts and Manning the regular season beasts who lost their way in the postseason. They were world champs.”