With the Colts season over, but the playoffs still rolling on, I'm going to continue reviewing happy experiences in the history of the Colts in the playoffs.
It's a lot nicer for me this week, as my favorite team didn't suffer a crushing Wild Card loss (sorry Texans, Bengals, Vikings, and Redskins fans), and both the women's and men's basketball teams at my alma mater cruised to wins over top 15 teams (the second in a week for the women's team). Now if only Iowa State's men's team can stop resembling this year's Colts team and actually win a game, I would be golden.
But enough about that.
Unlike last week, I can't (or rather I refuse) to do a Throwback to a Colts game played on January 14. Because there is only one, and it was the 1995 loss to the Steelers. I've written about that plenty, and would rather not go down that road.
Instead, we'll get a little ahead of ourselves and jump to what happened in Colts' history on January 17. More specifically, January 17, 1971, the date of Super Bowl V
The Super Bowl. It was a return to the big game for the Colts, after the historic loss to the New York Jets two years prior. Most of the key players were back, except this time with Don McCafferty as the head man instead of Don Shula.
In their first season in the AFC, and their first under McCafferty, the Colts dominated their opponents. They rolled to a 11-2-1, losing a home game to the defending World Champion Chiefs, and a road contest against Shula's Dolphins. The tie was against Buffalo.
The first game of the playoffs pitted the Colts against the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore. It was complete dominance from the Colts. A 17-0 shutdown was the final result as the Colts held the Bengals to 139 total yards.
The next week, the Colts would host the Raiders in the AFC Title Game. Baltimore came away with a 27-17 win, vaulting them to their second Super Bowl in three years.
Waiting for them would be the Dallas Cowboys, coached by legend Tom Landry.
The Cowboys had a bit rockier start to the season, and were 5-4 heading into Week 10. Their losses included a 54-13 beatdown at the hands of the Vikings, and a 38-0 Monday Night Football loss at home against the St Louis Cardinals.
The Cowboys would win out, though, to finish at 10-4 to take their division and send them into the playoffs.
In the playoffs, the Cowboys hosted the Detroit Lions in the first round. The Cowboys won a 5-0 barn burner over the Lions to advance to the NFC Title Game. Sarcasm intended there.
In the title game, the Cowboys met the San Francisco 49ers out in the Bay Area. The Cowboys would emerge victorious from this game as well, winning 17-10.
The Super Bowl, as many of you are keenly aware, is widely considered one of the ugliest to ever be played. The Colts would turn the ball over 7 times on their own, but the Cowboys did their best to match that number by turning it over 4 times.
The first quarter only saw scoring from the Cowboys as Mike Clark hit a 14 yard field goal to give Dallas an early 3-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Clark added another field goal to extend the lead to 6-0 for Landry's squad. Baltimore answered, though, as Johnny Unitas found John Mackey on a tip-drill pass that went for 75 yards and a score. In a sloppy game, though, it only made sense that the extra point was blocked.
Dallas would answer, though, when Craig Morton found Duane Thomas from seven yards out, giving the Cowboys a 13-6 lead going into the half.
There would be no scoring in the third quarter. With Earl Morrall leading the way in the fourth quarter (Unitas was injured during the game) the Colts found the end zone when Tom Nowtzke plunged into pay dirt from 2 yards out. The game was tied.
Typically, the game swung again as Dallas turned the ball over on what would be their final possession. Morrall and the offense set up Jim O'Brien, a rookie, for the game winning kick.
On the season, O'Brien was 19 of 34 (55.8%) and had missed the blocked extra point, and a field goal, earlier in the game. Far from reliable.
Still, O'Brien hit the 32 yard kick, propelling the Colts to victory and giving the franchise its first Super Bowl title, and only title until 2006.
The Colts emerged victorious from a game that saw 11 turnovers, a blocked PAT, and a player from the losing team win MVP honors.
But the Colts were champions, and that's what mattered most.