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The Colts hold the dubious distinction of having four different 0-12 starts to seasons, but they haven’t been 0-13 since 1986. The 1986 Colts have long been one of the strangest footnotes in Colts history.
They opened the year by losing 10 games by double digits. They scored 10 or fewer points 6 times. They put up 28 touchdowns compared to 44 turnovers for the season. They were bad at virtually everything. The 2011 Colts have 6 double digit losses and 18 touchdowns to 24 turnovers. They are bad, but perhaps not quite as bad.
After head coach Rod Dowhower was fired, the team went on a late season run, finishing with the three wins, and stunningly didn’t wind up with the first pick in the draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were two games better than the Colts with three to play wound up with the rights to Vinnie Testaverde, who everyone new would be the next big star.
After the jump, read an excerpt from Blue Blood about the 1986 season.
The following excerpt is from Blue Blood: Tales of Glory of the Indianapolis Colts.
1986 was the darkness before the dawn for Colts fans. The draft after the 1985 season brought important future starters like Jon Hand, Jack Trudeau, and Bill Brooks to the Colts. Despite an impressive rookie season from Brooks (65 catches, 1,131 yards, 8 TDs), Trudeau struggled mightily, and the Colts dropped their first 13 games of the season. Only two of the games were even close, and they lost by an average of more than 14 points a game. Coach Rod Dowhower was fired after 13 games.
As a kid, it was hard to take the Colts seriously. The Bears were all the rage, what with their sunglasses, and their rap videos, and their ‘actually winning football games.’ The Colts were a local punch line. Everyone called them “the Dolts.” The joke around Indianapolis was, “What does COLTS stand for? Count On Losing This Sunday.”
Just in the nick of time, the storms broke. Ron Meyer was brought in to finish the 1986 season. He was a former ‘Coach of the Year’ award winner, and the team responded to the hire by winning their final three games of the year. One of those games included the last home game of the ’86 season with the Buffalo Bills. The Colts
won for the only time all year, and a certain 10-year-old happened to be in attendance for his first ever game.
There was something thrilling about being in the Hoosier Dome. My grandfather took me to the game, and we sat in his seats at the 50 yard line in the second row of the second deck. They were perfect. Whatever lingering loyalties I felt to Chicago were killed that day as I watched my team win.
The jokes did not stop because the Colts won a few games to finish the year. In fact, many people mocked the Colts for missing out on the first overall pick in the 1987 draft, which would have brought Vinnie Testaverde to Indy. The only difference was that now I wasn’t laughing along with the crowd. The Colts had become my team.