clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colts’ rivalry problem: New England Patriots

Ah, the team we love to hate. Are the Patriots still a Colts’ rival, or are we just remembering the good ole days?

Syndication: The Providence Journal Kris Craig / USA TODAY NETWORK

When the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots used to face off, the NFL world stood still to watch. Just about every meeting had major implications be it the regular season or playoffs. Since those days are behind us now, are the teams still considered rivals?

The teams meet often:

Since 2012, the Colts have played the Patriots eight times. Eight times over eleven seasons is more than enough to develop a rivalry. The two teams met even more frequently when they shared the same division (AFC East).

The Colts head overseas to Frankfurt, Germany to clash with the Patriots this year on November 12th.

The series must be balanced:

Just like the Colts’ divisional opponents, this one lacks balance. Unlike the division, however, the Colts find themselves on the wrong side of things. 1-7 is the head-to-head record for the Colts against the Patriots. The combined score of those games? 154-304. Ouch.

With a point differential such as that, it can’t be said that the Colts experienced unlucky bounces on their way to hard luck losses. Of the losses, all but one was by more than one touchdown.

When the games aren’t even competitive, can that be a rivalry?

The games need to have high stakes:

The Colts and Patriots have combined for more than their share of NFL’s greatest moments. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were usually instant classics, but those days are long gone.

January 11th, 2014, saw these old foes battling in the postseason again as they met in the AFC Divisional round after a historic comeback by the Colts against Kansas City. The Colts fell behind early and couldn’t get any closer than nine points after the first quarter, losing 43-22.

January 18th, 2015, will always be better known as “Deflategate”. I’ll be honest. I couldn’t watch this one to the end. It was 38-7 by the end of the third quarter and watching Brady lift another AFC championship trophy was too much.

December 18th, 2022, broke the losing streak. The Colts jumped out to an encouraging 20-0 lead by halftime, but the Patriots started to chip away in the second half. It took a 67-yard run by Jonathan Taylor to put the game out of reach and finally give Colts fans something to cheer about against the Patriots as they eyed the playoffs at 8-6. (Oops)


The history of what was one of the greatest rivalries in sports has been hard to separate from the last decade of Colts football. When Manning played for the Broncos, many fans still cheered him on, especially when he faced the Patriots. A disdain that strong is hard to shake free from. History aside, the past eleven seasons have not seen the Patriots as a rival. Yes, there have been some big games, but the results are completely one-sided as the Colts have been crushed in both postseason meetings. Greatly disliking a team is not the same thing as a rivalry. Until both these teams become relevant again, the rivalry is back off.