I've made plenty of note on this in the past in Throwback Thursday pieces, and how couldn't I, but the Colts and Jets certainly have plenty of history between them.
At first, I thought about throwing back to the last time the Jets visited Indianapolis in regular season.
My next thought was to look at the last time the Jets visited Indianapolis in general.
While I could have looked at the game between those two, which would be the AFC Title Game in 2009, I'll wait on that one. Instead, I am going to spend this article on a Colts - Jets matchup that went very well for the Colts, but is often never mentioned when talking about the history of the team.
While not a significant game from a standings, or championship, standpoint. This game would have been important from a storyline standpoint.
The date was October 18, 1970, and the Colts were headed into Shea Stadium to face the Jets in New York. Why was this game important? It was the rematch of Super Bowl III. It was the Colts first time facing the Jets since losing the Super Bowl two seasons prior.
Adding some intrigue to the match-up, not that it needed any, the Colts and Jets were now division rivals in the newly formed AFC East.
But let's get into the game itself. The Colts entered the contest 3-1, and were completing a three game road trip. Additionally, all of the Colts' wins had been on the road, and their one loss was at home against the defending champion Chiefs.
The Jets, on the other hand, were coming into the game 1-3, also winning their only game on the road. The game against the Colts would be the second of four straight at home.
In the first quarter of the game, the Colts came out of the gates hot.
A Jim O'Brien gave Baltimore an early 3-0 lead over their new division rivals. Soon, however, the Colts extended that lead to 10-0 when Jerry Logan took a Joe Namath pass the other way for six. Suddenly the Colts had jumped out to a two score lead.
That wasn't it for the scoring in the first quarter either. The Colts tacked on another score when John Unitas hit Tom Mitchell for an 11 yard score, extending the lead to 17-0. The Jets would add a field goal in the first quarter as well to make it 17-3 going into the second.
The second frame featured far less scoring. O'Brien added another field goal to bring the Colts lead back to 17 points. However, before halftime, the Jets managed to record a safety, making the halftime score 20-5.
To start the third period, Namath tossed another pick six to the Colts. This time it was Bob Grant going the other way. However, the Colts didn't connect on the extra point, giving them a 26-5 lead.
From there, though, it was all Jets in the third quarter. Namath finally hit one of his own teammates for a score when he found Eddie Bell from 17 yards away. Then, the Jets added another touchdown when Emerson Boozer ran in from a yard out, cutting the Colts lead to 26-19. Suddenly, it was a one score game!
In the fourth, the teams traded field goals, but nothing more. The Colts would win the game 29-22.
The big story line emerging from this game was the health of Namath. While he played the whole game, it was revealed after that Namath played a portion of the contest with a broken wrist (which he suffered during the game). This would be Namath's last game of the 1970 season.
Diving into the stats, there was a huge difference in the way the teams played. The Jets threw the ball 62 times for 397 yards. Numbers like that are sometimes hard to come by in the current NFL, so just imagine it in 1970. Of course, that many passes, plus a broken wrist, contributed to Namath tossing six interceptions.
As you can imagine, the Jets run game was almost nonexistent. They ran the ball 17 times for 37 yards.
The Colts, on the other hand, had a slightly more balanced attack, throwing the ball 24 times, and running 37. Unitas finished with 206 passing yards, and the team had a mere 78 rushing yards to show for those 37 attempts. Unitas also tossed three interceptions in the game.
The Colts also put the ball on the ground 3 times, losing one fumble. So despite Namath's six interceptions, the Colts were only +2 in the turnover category. The game featured 10 total turnovers. So while not indicative of their season, it was a glimpse of the type of game the Colts would play in Super Bowl V. Winning ugly.
The rest of the season saw the two teams go in opposite directions. The Jets would only win three more games, including one over the LA Rams, without Namath to guide them.
The Colts would only lose once, and tie once, the rest of the way en route to a Super Bowl title. The Colts would also beat the Jets in Baltimore in the final game of the season.
The current Colts have not had a lot of success against the Jets, losing 3 of the last 4 meetings. This Sunday, though, two teams with a storied history will meet again.