List of Indianapolis Colts starting quarterbacks

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Andrew Luck is the current starting quarterback for the Colts.

The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL).

The club was officially founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1953, as the Baltimore Colts, replacing a previous team of that name that folded in 1950. After 31 seasons in Baltimore, Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis.

The Colts have had 33 starting quarterbacks (QB) in the history of their franchise; they have never had more than three starting quarterbacks in one season. The Colts' past starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Unitas, as well as the Associated Press National Football League Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) winners Earl Morrall and Bert Jones. Unitas also won the MVP award three times in his career. The franchise's first starting quarterback was Fred Enke, who started 9 games in total for the Colts. The Colts' starting quarterback from 1998 to 2011 was 4-time MVP Peyton Manning. The Colts' current starting quarterback is Andrew Luck.

History[edit]

The Colts struggled early on to find consistency and stability at the Quarterback position with 5 different quarterbacks starting at least on game in the first two seasons of the franchise. George Shaw became the first Colts quarterback to complete a full season. The following year Shaw broke his leg in the fourth game of the season against the Chicago Bears allowing former Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Johnny Unitas a chance to start. Over the next 16 seasons Unitas would start 182 games for the Colts. In this time Unitas was named to 10 Pro-Bowls, and won the MVP award 3 times. With Unitas under center the Colts also won 2 NFL Championships and a Super Bowl. In the final game of the 1968 preseason, the muscles in Unitas' arm were torn when he was hit by a member of the Dallas Cowboys defense. The Colts would turn to backup quarterback Earl Morrall to lead the offense. The Colts marched to a league-best 13-1 record and Morrall was named the 1968 MVP. Despite this strong season and the return of Unitas during the game the Colts lost the Super Bowl to the AFL's New York Jets and their quarterback Joe Namath.[1] In 1970 the Colts, with Unitas under center, would return to the Super Bowl in 1970. After Unitas was injured in the second quarter Morrall stepped in and led the Colts from a 7-point deficit at half time to a 3 point victory over the Dallas Cowboys.[2]

Unitas continued as the Colts' legendary QB, but age and injuries began to plague him further and in a hotly debated move, GM Joe Thomas traded him to the San Diego Chargers. The team wasted no time replacing Unitas by drafting Bert Jones in the 1973 NFL Draft. During his eight-year tenure as the Colts' starting quarterback, Jones led the team to three consecutive AFC East division titles and was awarded the 1976 AP MVP award. The Colts regular season success wasn't replicated in the post season, however, with the team losing all three of their playoff games to the eventual champions - first the Steelers in 1975 and 1976, then in 1977 a 37-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders, known as the "Ghost to the Post" game and the third longest playoff game ever. It would be the last playoff game ever played by the Baltimore Colts.[3][4]

Jones began to become injury prone and between that and poor personnel moves, the Colts suffered hard times in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Jones was then traded to the Rams in 1982 and the Colts again began a search for a new starting quarterback. In the interim quarterback Mike Pagel filled in as the starter. In the 1983 NFL Draft the Colts drafted quarterback John Elway, but in another hotly debated and oft-criticized move, Elway declined to play for the team that drafted him, insisting he would play professional baseball instead. The Colts' owner traded him to the Denver Broncos for quarterback Mark Herrmann, rights to offensive lineman Chris Hinton and a first-round pick in the 1984 NFL Draft. Even at the time it was considered a horrible trade for the Colts and a coup for the Broncos. Mike Pagel therefore remained as the starter, though sometimes losing his position to top draft pick Art Schlichter, who was a notorious bust, due largely to a gambling addiction which affected his play and ultimately saw him kicked out of the league.

In the 1986, the Colts selected Jack Trudeau in the 2nd round of the draft. Trudeau would remain the starter for the next few years, though Gary Hogeboom and Chris Chandler were obtained and started at various times. In 1987 Trudeau lead the Colts in their first playoff game since the team moved to Indianapolis. The Colts lost the game against the Cleveland Browns by a score of 38 to 21.[5]

In 1990, the Colts again had the 1st overall and selected quarterback Jeff George, who even then was known as a world-class talent with a questionable attitude. This proved to be accurate, as George's four years in Indianapolis would end with four years of erratic play (behind an admittedly so-so team) with a trade to the Atlanta Falcons.

In 1994 the Colts signed Jim Harbaugh. In 1995, Harbaugh and the Colts surprised everyone by reaching the playoffs. Harbaugh was voted to the Pro Bowl, named Comeback Player of the Year, and was runner-up in the AP NFL MVP voting. The post-season was even more surprising, as Harbaugh led the Colts all the way to the 1995 AFC Championship game, ending a playoff drought of 24 years without a playoff win and narrowly missing a Super Bowl berth on the last play of the game. After a last-place 3–13 record in 1997, Harbaugh was traded to the Baltimore Ravens.

In 1998 the Colts, for the 3rd time in 15 years, held the 1st overall pick in the draft and for the 3rd time in 15 years selected a quarterback - this time University of Tennessee's Peyton Manning. Manning started the first game of his rookie season and started every single Colts game since until the start of the 2011 season, when a recurring neck injury sidelined him. Despite a difficult rookie season, where he through a league high 28 interceptions, Manning and the Colts responded by finishing 13–3 in 1999. The 10 game turnaround from the previous year set an NFL record. Despite this turnaround, the Colts lost in the playoffs. The following years would be marked by a near constant pattern. The Colts and Manning successes in the regular season where matched only by their failures in the post season. Manning was named to the Pro Bowl in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004, as well as winning the NFL MVP award in both 2003 and 2004. In 2004 Manning set a then NFL record when he threw 49 touchdowns in a single season. Despite this they team failed in the playoffs, including early round exits in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005. In both 2003 and 2004 the Colts would lose to eventual Super Bowl winning New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and the Divisional Round respectively. In 2006 the Colts and Manning were finally able to beat the Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game on their way to a victory in Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears. Manning was named the Super Bowl MVP. The Colts and Manning would continue to have success, with Manning winning two further MVP awards in 2008 and 2009. In 2009 the Colts would return to the Super Bowl where they would lose to the New Orleans Saints.

Starting quarterbacks by season[edit]

Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Unitas was the Baltimore Colts' starting quarterback from 1956 to 1972.
Jim Harbaugh was the Indianapolis Colts' starting quarterback from 1994 to 1997.
Peyton Manning was the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 until 2011.

Regular season[edit]

YearColumn links to corresponding team season
(#)Number of games started in the regular season
Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
 + [b]MVP Award winning season
 * Pro Bowl season
SeasonQuarterback(s) (games)Ref(s)
Indianapolis Colts since 1984
2013Andrew Luck (16)[6]
2012Andrew Luck (16)[7]
2011Curtis Painter (8) / Dan Orlovsky (5) / Kerry Collins (3)[8]
2010Peyton Manning* (16)[9][10]
2009Peyton Manning+* (16)[10][11]
2008Peyton Manning+* (16)[10][12]
2007Peyton Manning* (16)[10][13]
2006Peyton Manning* (16)[10][14]
2005Peyton Manning* (16)[10][15]
2004Peyton Manning+* (16)[10][16]
2003Peyton Manning+* (16)[10][16]
2002Peyton Manning* (16)[10][17]
2001Peyton Manning (16)[10][18]
2000Peyton Manning* (16)[10][19]
1999Peyton Manning* (16)[10][20]
1998Peyton Manning (16)[10][21]
1997Jim Harbaugh (11) / Paul Justin (4) / Kelly Holcomb (1)[22][23][24][25]
1996Jim Harbaugh (14) / Paul Justin (2)[23][24][26]
1995Jim Harbaugh* (12) / Craig Erickson (3) / Paul Justin (1)[23][24][26][27]
1994Jim Harbaugh (9) / Don Majkowski (6) / Browning Nagle (1)[23][28][29][30]
1993Jeff George (11) / Jack Trudeau (5)[31][32][33]
1992Jeff George (10) / Jack Trudeau (5) / Mark Herrmann (1)[32][33][34][35]
1991Jeff George (16)[32][36]
1990Jeff George (12) / Jack Trudeau (4)[32][33][37]
1989Jack Trudeau (12) / Chris Chandler (3) / Tom Ramsey (1)[33][38][39][40]
1988Chris Chandler (13) / Jack Trudeau (2) / Gary Hogeboom (1)[33][39][41][42]
1987[d]Jack Trudeau (8) / Gary Hogeboom (6) / Blair Kiel (1)[33][42][43][44]
1986Jack Trudeau (11) / Gary Hogeboom (5)[33][42][45]
1985Mike Pagel (14) / Matt Kofler (1) / Art Schlichter (1)[46][47][48][49]
1984Mike Pagel (9) / Art Schlichter (5) / Mark Herrmann (2)[35][47][49][50]
Baltimore Colts (1953–1983)
1983Mike Pagel (15) / Mark Herrmann (1)[35][47][51]
1982[d]Mike Pagel (9)[47][52]
1981Bert Jones (15) / David Humm (1)[53][54][55]
1980Bert Jones (15) / Greg Landry (1)[54][56][57]
1979Greg Landry (12) / Bert Jones (4)[54][57][58]
1978[c]Bill Troup (11) / Bert Jones (3) / Mike Kirkland (2)[54][59][60][61]
1977Bert Jones (14)[54][62]
1976Bert Jones+* (14)[54][63]
1975Bert Jones (14)[54][64]
1974Bert Jones (8) / Marty Domres (6)[54][65][66]
1973Marty Domres (9) / Bert Jones (5)[54][66][67]
1972Marty Domres (9) / Johnny Unitas (5)[66][68][69]
1971Earl Morrall (9) / Johnny Unitas (5)[69][70][71]
1970Johnny Unitas (13) / Earl Morrall (1)[69][71][72]
1969Johnny Unitas (12) / Earl Morrall (2)[69][71][73]
1968Earl Morrall+* (14)[71][74]
1967Johnny Unitas+* (14)[69][75]
1966Johnny Unitas* (13) / Gary Cuozzo (1)[69][76][77]
1965Johnny Unitas (11) / Gary Cuozzo (2) / Tom Matte (1)[69][77][78][79]
1964Johnny Unitas+* (14)[69][80]
1963Johnny Unitas* (14)[69][81]
1962Johnny Unitas* (14)[69][82]
1961[c]Johnny Unitas* (14)[69][83]
1960Johnny Unitas* (12)[69][84]
1959Johnny Unitas+* (12)[69][85]
1958Johnny Unitas *(10) / George Shaw (2)[69][86][87]
1957Johnny Unitas* (12)[69][88]
1956Johnny Unitas (7) / George Shaw (5)[69][87][89]
1955George Shaw (12)[87][90]
1954Gary Kerkorian (10) / Fred Enke (1) / Cotton Davidson (1)[91][92][93][94]
1953Fred Enke (8) / George Taliaferro (3) / Ed Mioduszewski (1)[93][95][96][97]

Post season[edit]

YearColumn links to corresponding team season
(#)Post-season win–loss record
Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
 + NFL champions (1920–1969)
 ‡ Super Bowl champions
 * Conference champions
SeasonQuarterback(s) (games)Ref(s)
Baltimore Colts (1953–1983)
1958Johnny Unitas +* (1-0)[98]
1959Johnny Unitas +* (1-0)[99]
1964Johnny Unitas * (0-1)[100]
1965Tom Matte (0-1)[101]
1968Earl Morrall +* (2-1)[1][102][103]
1970Johnny Unitas * (3-0)[2][104][105]
1971Johnny Unitas (1-1)[106][107]
1975Bert Jones (0-1)[108]
1976Bert Jones (0-1)[109]
1977Bert Jones (0-1)[3]
Indianapolis Colts (1984–Present)
1987Jack Trudeau (0-1)[5]
1995Jim Harbaugh (2-1)[110][111][112]
1996Jim Harbaugh (0-1)[113]
1999Peyton Manning (0-1)[114]
2000Peyton Manning (0-1)[115]
2002Peyton Manning (0-1)[116]
2003Peyton Manning (2-1)[117][118][119]
2004Peyton Manning (1-1)[120][121]
2005Peyton Manning (0-1)[122]
2006Peyton Manning * (4-0)[123][124][125][126]
2007Peyton Manning (0-1)[127]
2008Peyton Manning (0-1)[128]
2009Peyton Manning * (2-1)[129][130][131]
2010Peyton Manning (0-1)[132]
2012Andrew Luck (0-1)[133]
2013Andrew Luck (1-1)

Statistics[edit]

Peyton Manning holds many franchise records, including consecutive starts, as well as passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating.

Peyton Manning holds the record for the most starts as the Colts quarterback, as well as the most wins. Manning has also set franchise records in completions, passing attempts, completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and has the highest franchise passer rating while Johnny Unitas holds the record for most interceptions by a Colts quarterback. Manning has taken the most sacks of all the quarterbacks but Bert Jones has lost the most amount of yards while being sacked. Jones also has the record for the longest completed pass by a Colts starting quarterback, with a 90-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Roger Carr in a home win against the New York Jets in 1975.

NameName of the quarterbackCmp%Percentage of passes completed
GPGames played (regular season)YdsYards gained by passing
GSGames started (regular season)TDPassing touchdowns
WNumber of wins as starting quarterbackIntInterceptions thrown
LNumber of lossess as starting quarterbackLngLongest completed pass thrown (yards)
TNumber of ties as starting quarterbackSkNumber of times sacked
CmpPasses completedYdsYards lost by sacks
AttPasses attemptedRateQuarterback rating
NameGPGSWLTCmpAttCmp%YdsTDIntLngSkYdsRate
Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning2082081416704682721064.95482839919886231148394.9
Harbaugh, JimJim Harbaugh534620260746123060.7870549268513073786.6
Hogeboom, GaryGary Hogeboom201275026044358.732952218723829581.6
Luck, AndrewAndrew Luck323222100682119757.081964627737347381.5
Morrall, EarlEarl Morrall5126223136367653.756664740843228380.3
Jones, BertBert Jones9892464601382246456.1176631229790224194878.8
Unitas, JohnnyJohnny Unitas2061821176142796511054.739768287246896049478.8
Justin, PaulPaul Justin19734017730358.4209777442016677.7
Cuozzo, GaryGary Cuozzo28312010520850.51391139690074.8
Erickson, CraigCraig Erickson63210508360.25863439106873.7
Landry, GregGreg Landry4313310030853357.834021719674939572.6
George, JeffJeff George524914350874153257.09551414675146117972
Kiel, BlairBlair Kiel71010285848.3431335054269
Majkowski, DonDon Majkowski1263309717655.111156829108166.8
Kerkorian, GaryGary Kerkorian201037013424854.017831115780066.6
Chandler, ChrisChris Chandler1816106016831353.721561015822114566.2
Pagel, MikeMike Pagel514715311587115450.9747439478010978865.8
Trudeau, JackJack Trudeau614718290812153652.996474162849265764.4
Ramsey, TomTom Ramsey71010245048.0280114742663.7
Domres, MartyMarty Domres5124816029357650.934712131664231259.3
Shaw, GeorgeGeorge Shaw3619810121041051.228202131820059
Troup, BillBill Troup401138016231651.319991023673334451.4
Kofler, MattMatt Kofler51010234847.9284133385847.6
Matte, TomTom Matte1261100124228.6246224611247.5
Holcomb, KellyKelly Holcomb51010457361.64541841117644.3
Mioduszewski, EdEd Mioduszewski121010113036.711322170042.8
Schlichter, ArtArt Schlichter1360609120245.01006311542821142.6
Herrmann, MarkMark Herrmann1142207413654.4928213741513241.2
Enke, FredFred Enke1193608819744.71225818550040.7
Kirkland, MikeMike Kirkland162020194146.32111834117830.7
Humm, DavidDavid Humm31010204742.6220032321830.5
Nagle, BrowningBrowning Nagle1110082138.169012321827.7
Davidson, CottonCotton Davidson241010286642.430906290019.1
Taliaferro, GeorgeGeorge Taliaferro223030155726.321126450014.6

Notes[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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