Jump to content
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts Fan Forum

The Offseason Reading Series #1: The greatest Indianapolis Colts team ever


21isSuperman
 Share

Recommended Posts

The NFL offseason can be a pretty slow time on the forums.  To combat this and keep the discussions going, I've decided to make a series of different discussion topics called the Offseason Reading Series (ORS).  Throughout the offseason, I will randomly post these threads to give people something to talk about.  They will be about all kinds of different football topics, but I will try to keep them mostly focused on the Colts.  Of course, the point is to keep everyone entertained during a slow time of the year, so if people don't like them, I will discontinue them so as to not annoy anyone.  With that said, let's begin with ORS#1...

 

The best Indianapolis Colts team ever

 

Since the start of the millennium, the Indianapolis Colts have been fortunate enough to have two exceptional QBs running the show for them.  Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have both set multiple NFL records; when your QBs are setting records, your team is usually winning.  But of the many successful Colts teams since 1984, which one is the best?  The 2004 team put up all kinds of insane offensive numbers.  The 2005 squad looked destined for a Super Bowl before losing to Pittsburgh in the playoffs.  The 2006 squad looked like an easy out in the playoffs, but won it all.  The 2007 team had the league’s 3rd best scoring offense and top scoring defense.  So many great teams and accomplishments, but which single year was the best Indianapolis Colts team?  Keep in mind we're looking for the best Indianapolis Colts team and not the best Colts team, thus we don't include any Baltimore Colts teams.

 

To begin, let’s sort all of the 10+ win teams since 1984 by their W/L record.

 

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2     1999: 13-3     2007: 13-3

2003: 12-4     2004: 12-4     2006: 12-4     2008: 12-4

2012: 11-5     2013: 11-5     2014: 11-5     2000: 10-6

2002: 10-6     2010: 10-6

 

Now let’s trim away the fat.  Setting 12 wins as the minimum requirement, that leaves us with 8 seasons.

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2     1999: 13-3     2007: 13-3

2003: 12-4     2004: 12-4     2006: 12-4     2008: 12-4

 

John Madden once told me the winner of a game is the team that scores the most points.  Taking his great advice to heart, let’s narrow the list even more by removing any years that didn’t have a top 10 scoring offense and a top 10 scoring defense.  That leaves us with 3 teams.  In addition, I’m going to include the 2006 squad for analysis because they won the Super Bowl, even though the scoring defense was ranked 23rd/32.

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2

2007: 13-3     2006: 12-4

 

We’re now left with four teams spanning five years.  The Colts’ five year stretch from 2005 to 2009, where they won 65/80 regular season games (81.25%) is one of the greatest five year stretches in NFL history.  Since 1980, it is the second best five year stretch of any team, only marginally behind the 2003-2007 Patriots (66/80, 82.5%).  In the entire Super Bowl era, it is third, sitting behind the aforementioned Patriots and the 1970-1974 Dolphins (57/70, 81.4%).  In fact, I did ANOVA statistical analysis and determined there was no statistically significant difference between the top three teams at the p < 0.001 level, so the Colts’ 5 year run from 2005 to 2009 is tied for the best 5 year stretch among all teams in the NFL in the Super Bowl era.  There’s no doubt the greatest Indianapolis Colts team is going to come from this period.  

 

Now we get into the numbers.  I wanted to know which team was the most complete.  Not only did your offense score and your defense not get scored on, but which team was the best at moving the ball and preventing the opponent from moving the ball?  How did your team do at getting interceptions and sacks?  There is a commonly used formula that takes all of this into account, and it’s the DVOA from Football Outsiders.  Let’s look at the defensive numbers for the four aforementioned teams and how they ranked in the league:

 

Year

PPG

YPG

Sacks

Interceptions

2005

15.4 (2nd)

307.1 (11th)

46 (5th)

18 (9th)

2006

22.5 (23rd)

332.2 (21st)

25 (30th)

15 (20th)

2007

16.4 (1st)

279.7 (3rd)

28 (26th)

22 (2nd)

2009

19.2 (8th)

339.2 (18th)

34 (16th)

16 (15th)

 

Forced Fumbles

QB rating given up

DVOA

 

 

2005

32 (4th)

83.0 (23rd)

-10.5% (8th)

2006

28 (8th)

80.4 (15th)

11.3% (27th)

2007

27 (11th)

73.3 (3rd)

-10.8% (3rd)

2009

20 (24th)

80.6 (12th)

-0.8% (16th)

 

Let’s look at the offensive stats:

Year

PPG

YPG

Pass TDs/Rush TDs

Interceptions

2005

27.4 (2nd)

362.4 (3rd)

31 (2nd)/18 (6th)

11 (5th)

2006

26.7 (2nd)

379.4 (3rd)

31 (1st)/17 (6th)

9 (2nd)

2007

28.1 (3rd)

358.7 (5th)

32 (4th)/19 (2nd)

14 (6th)

2009

26.0 (7th)

363.1 (9th)

34 (1st)/16 (12th)

19 (23rd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fumbles

QB rating

DVOA

2005

14 (1st)

103.3 (1st)

30.5% (1st)

2006

13 (1st)

101.0 (1st)

33.8% (1st)

2007

14 (1st)

96.1 (5th)

28.3 (2nd)

 2009

11 (1st)

95.4 (9th)

16.8% (6th)

 

Sorry for the funny looking tables.  I had to format them this way to get them to fit on the screen.  On a little side note, the Colts did an excellent job of not fumbling the ball in these years.  

 

Next, we’ll assign points to each team based on their ranking.  A ranking of 1st will be 1 point, 2nd is 2 points, etc.  Using this points system, the lower the score is, the better.  This gives us scores of:

 

2005: 83     2006: 161

2007: 77     2009: 177

 

Clearly, the best regular season teams were 2005 and 2007.  However, to determine which team was the best team, we’d have to consider playoff stats as well.  This means we need to repeat this process, but look at the stats differently.  I’m going to look at the stats that give the average per game instead of overall season totals: PPG, YPG, time of possession/game (since running the ball becomes so important in the playoffs), and QB rating.  This time, keep in mind the rankings are out of 12, not 32.  Thus, each ranking is multiplied by 32/12 = 2.6667 to normalize it to the regular season data.  But playoff games are more important and carry greater consequences with them, so your performance in the playoffs must be better than in the regular season.  One loss in the regular season is no big deal; one loss in the playoffs is the end of your season.  Therefore, we need to multiply each ranking by what I call its “significance factor”.  If your team’s ranking for a certain statistic is 1, 2, 3, or 4, your team is playing exceptionally.  Therefore, those rankings will be divided by 2 (remember, lower score is better).  For example, the top ranked scoring defense in the playoffs would be given [1 x (32/12)]/2 = 1.333 points.  Rankings 5-8 will be kept as they are since they’re average among playoff teams, and rankings 9-12 will be multiplied by 2 because you’re performing poorly when it counts the most.  Defensively, this gives us:

 

Year

PPG

YPG

Time of possession

QB rating given up

2005

21 (7th)

295.0 (6th)

34:52 (2nd)

95.3 (6th)

2006

16.2 (2nd)

238.5 (1st)

24:58 (1st)

62.8 (3rd)

2007

28.0 (8th)

411.0 (12th)

29:39 (6th)

73.3 (3rd)

2009

17 (1st)

330.0 (5th)

28:16 (2nd)

89.3 (7th)

 

Gary Brackett did say the Colts were the “number one defense of the post-season” after winning Super Bowl XLI, and he did so with good reason.  Look at those rankings!  

 

And the offense:

Year

PPG

YPG

Time of possession

QB rating

2005

18 (7th)

305.0 (6th)

25:08 (11th)

90.9 (3rd)

2006

26.2 (3rd)

395.2 (2nd)

35:02 (1st)

70.2 (8th)

2007

24.0 (5th)

446.0 (1st)

30:21 (6th)

97.7 (2nd)

2009

22.3 (5th)

308.7 (3rd)

31:44 (3rd)

99.0 (4th)

 

In terms of the scoring system we’re using, this gives us:

 

 

2005: 83 + 150.67 = 233.67

2006: 161 + 38.67 = 199.67

2007: 77 + 138.67 = 215.67

2009: 177 + 62.67 = 239.67

 

Keeping in mind that the lowest number is best, we see that the 2006 squad blows away all other teams because of how well they played in the playoffs.  After the regular season stats were taken into consideration, the 2006 squad was 2nd last.  However, that team did enough to make it to the playoffs and have a chance to win it all.  What caused these changes?

When the playoffs came around, Bob Sanders returned to the defense and the entire defensive unit played lights out when it mattered most.  In fact, the 2006 team did what everyone said they couldn’t do.  Can’t stop the run?  They held Larry Johnson – a 1700 yard rusher – to 32 yards on 13 attempts.  Can’t beat an elite defense in the playoffs?  They beat the league’s #1 ranked defense in the divisional round.  Can’t beat Tom Brady?  They staged an amazing comeback to beat Brady and the Pats to make it to the Super Bowl.  Can’t win outdoors in bad weather?  The Colts won the first Super Bowl ever played in the rain against a team known for playing in the elements.  When you put it all together, based on this method of analysis, the 2006 Indianapolis Colts were the best team in Indianapolis history.  It certainly helps your case when you end your season this way...

 

636038291826935269-63-COLTS.137907.jpg

 

What do you think?  Was the 2006 team the best Indianapolis Colts team ever?  Let's hear your thoughts!  And keep your eyes peeled for the next ORS!

 

All stats taken from NFL.com, Football Outsiders, and pro-football-reference.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the best modern Colts team was 2005, you could probably make a case for 2007 as well. 

 

2006 team wasn't even the best in the NFL that year, but the best team does not always win the championship in every sport. We got hot when Bob Sanders came back which obviously helped our horrible run defense out a lot. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 21isSuperman said:

The NFL offseason can be a pretty slow time on the forums.  To combat this and keep the discussions going, I've decided to make a series of different discussion topics called the Offseason Reading Series (ORS).  Throughout the offseason, I will randomly post these threads to give people something to talk about.  They will be about all kinds of different football topics, but I will try to keep them mostly focused on the Colts.  Of course, the point is to keep everyone entertained during a slow time of the year, so if people don't like them, I will discontinue them so as to not annoy anyone.  With that said, let's begin with ORS#1...

 

The best Indianapolis Colts team ever

 

Since the start of the millennium, the Indianapolis Colts have been fortunate enough to have two exceptional QBs running the show for them.  Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have both set multiple NFL records; when your QBs are setting records, your team is usually winning.  But of the many successful Colts teams since 1984, which one is the best?  The 2004 team put up all kinds of insane offensive numbers.  The 2005 squad looked destined for a Super Bowl before losing to Pittsburgh in the playoffs.  The 2006 squad looked like an easy out in the playoffs, but won it all.  The 2007 team had the league’s 3rd best scoring offense and top scoring defense.  So many great teams and accomplishments, but which single year was the best Indianapolis Colts team?  Keep in mind we're looking for the best Indianapolis Colts team and not the best Colts team, thus we don't include any Baltimore Colts teams.

 

To begin, let’s sort all of the 10+ win teams since 1984 by their W/L record.

 

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2     1999: 13-3     2007: 13-3

2003: 12-4     2004: 12-4     2006: 12-4     2008: 12-4

2012: 11-5     2013: 11-5     2014: 11-5     2000: 10-6

2002: 10-6     2010: 10-6

 

Now let’s trim away the fat.  Setting 12 wins as the minimum requirement, that leaves us with 8 seasons.

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2     1999: 13-3     2007: 13-3

2003: 12-4     2004: 12-4     2006: 12-4     2008: 12-4

 

John Madden once told me the winner of a game is the team that scores the most points.  Taking his great advice to heart, let’s narrow the list even more by removing any years that didn’t have a top 10 scoring offense and a top 10 scoring defense.  That leaves us with 3 teams.  In addition, I’m going to include the 2006 squad for analysis because they won the Super Bowl, even though the scoring defense was ranked 23rd/32.

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2

2007: 13-3     2006: 12-4

 

We’re now left with four teams spanning five years.  The Colts’ five year stretch from 2005 to 2009, where they won 65/80 regular season games (81.25%) is one of the greatest five year stretches in NFL history.  Since 1980, it is the second best five year stretch of any team, only marginally behind the 2003-2007 Patriots (66/80, 82.5%).  In the entire Super Bowl era, it is third, sitting behind the aforementioned Patriots and the 1970-1974 Dolphins (57/70, 81.4%).  In fact, I did ANOVA statistical analysis and determined there was no statistically significant difference between the top three teams at the p < 0.001 level, so the Colts’ 5 year run from 2005 to 2009 is tied for the best 5 year stretch among all teams in the NFL in the Super Bowl era.  There’s no doubt the greatest Indianapolis Colts team is going to come from this period.  

 

Now we get into the numbers.  I wanted to know which team was the most complete.  Not only did your offense score and your defense not get scored on, but which team was the best at moving the ball and preventing the opponent from moving the ball?  How did your team do at getting interceptions and sacks?  There is a commonly used formula that takes all of this into account, and it’s the DVOA from Football Outsiders.  Let’s look at the defensive numbers for the four aforementioned teams and how they ranked in the league:

 

Year

PPG

YPG

Sacks

Interceptions

2005

15.4 (2nd)

307.1 (11th)

46 (5th)

18 (9th)

2006

22.5 (23rd)

332.2 (21st)

25 (30th)

15 (20th)

2007

16.4 (1st)

279.7 (3rd)

28 (26th)

22 (2nd)

2009

19.2 (8th)

339.2 (18th)

34 (16th)

16 (15th)

 

Forced Fumbles

QB rating given up

DVOA

 

 

2005

32 (4th)

83.0 (23rd)

-10.5% (8th)

2006

28 (8th)

80.4 (15th)

11.3% (27th)

2007

27 (11th)

73.3 (3rd)

-10.8% (3rd)

2009

20 (24th)

80.6 (12th)

-0.8% (16th)

 

Let’s look at the offensive stats:

Year

PPG

YPG

Pass TDs/Rush TDs

Interceptions

2005

27.4 (2nd)

362.4 (3rd)

31 (2nd)/18 (6th)

11 (5th)

2006

26.7 (2nd)

379.4 (3rd)

31 (1st)/17 (6th)

9 (2nd)

2007

28.1 (3rd)

358.7 (5th)

32 (4th)/19 (2nd)

14 (6th)

2009

26.0 (7th)

363.1 (9th)

34 (1st)/16 (12th)

19 (23rd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fumbles

QB rating

DVOA

2005

14 (1st)

103.3 (1st)

30.5% (1st)

2006

13 (1st)

101.0 (1st)

33.8% (1st)

2007

14 (1st)

96.1 (5th)

28.3 (2nd)

 2009

11 (1st)

95.4 (9th)

16.8% (6th)

 

Sorry for the funny looking tables.  I had to format them this way to get them to fit on the screen.  On a little side note, the Colts did an excellent job of not fumbling the ball in these years.  

 

Next, we’ll assign points to each team based on their ranking.  A ranking of 1st will be 1 point, 2nd is 2 points, etc.  Using this points system, the lower the score is, the better.  This gives us scores of:

 

2005: 83     2006: 161

2007: 77     2009: 177

 

Clearly, the best regular season teams were 2005 and 2007.  However, to determine which team was the best team, we’d have to consider playoff stats as well.  This means we need to repeat this process, but look at the stats differently.  I’m going to look at the stats that give the average per game instead of overall season totals: PPG, YPG, time of possession/game (since running the ball becomes so important in the playoffs), and QB rating.  This time, keep in mind the rankings are out of 12, not 32.  Thus, each ranking is multiplied by 32/12 = 2.6667 to normalize it to the regular season data.  But playoff games are more important and carry greater consequences with them, so your performance in the playoffs must be better than in the regular season.  One loss in the regular season is no big deal; one loss in the playoffs is the end of your season.  Therefore, we need to multiply each ranking by what I call its “significance factor”.  If your team’s ranking for a certain statistic is 1, 2, 3, or 4, your team is playing exceptionally.  Therefore, those rankings will be divided by 2 (remember, lower score is better).  For example, the top ranked scoring defense in the playoffs would be given [1 x (32/12)]/2 = 1.333 points.  Rankings 5-8 will be kept as they are since they’re average among playoff teams, and rankings 9-12 will be multiplied by 2 because you’re performing poorly when it counts the most.  Defensively, this gives us:

 

Year

PPG

YPG

Time of possession

QB rating given up

2005

21 (7th)

295.0 (6th)

34:52 (2nd)

95.3 (6th)

2006

16.2 (2nd)

238.5 (1st)

24:58 (1st)

62.8 (3rd)

2007

28.0 (8th)

411.0 (12th)

29:39 (6th)

73.3 (3rd)

2009

17 (1st)

330.0 (5th)

28:16 (2nd)

89.3 (7th)

 

Gary Brackett did say the Colts were the “number one defense of the post-season” after winning Super Bowl XLI, and he did so with good reason.  Look at those rankings!  

 

And the offense:

Year

PPG

YPG

Time of possession

QB rating

2005

18 (7th)

305.0 (6th)

25:08 (11th)

90.9 (3rd)

2006

26.2 (3rd)

395.2 (2nd)

35:02 (1st)

70.2 (8th)

2007

24.0 (5th)

446.0 (1st)

30:21 (6th)

97.7 (2nd)

2009

22.3 (5th)

308.7 (3rd)

31:44 (3rd)

99.0 (4th)

 

In terms of the scoring system we’re using, this gives us:

 

 

2005: 83 + 150.67 = 233.67

2006: 161 + 38.67 = 199.67

2007: 77 + 138.67 = 215.67

2009: 177 + 62.67 = 239.67

 

Keeping in mind that the lowest number is best, we see that the 2006 squad blows away all other teams because of how well they played in the playoffs.  After the regular season stats were taken into consideration, the 2006 squad was 2nd last.  However, that team did enough to make it to the playoffs and have a chance to win it all.  What caused these changes?

When the playoffs came around, Bob Sanders returned to the defense and the entire defensive unit played lights out when it mattered most.  In fact, the 2006 team did what everyone said they couldn’t do.  Can’t stop the run?  They held Larry Johnson – a 1700 yard rusher – to 32 yards on 13 attempts.  Can’t beat an elite defense in the playoffs?  They beat the league’s #1 ranked defense in the divisional round.  Can’t beat Tom Brady?  They staged an amazing comeback to beat Brady and the Pats to make it to the Super Bowl.  Can’t win outdoors in bad weather?  The Colts won the first Super Bowl ever played in the rain against a team known for playing in the elements.  When you put it all together, based on this method of analysis, the 2006 Indianapolis Colts were the best team in Indianapolis history.  It certainly helps your case when you end your season this way...

 

636038291826935269-63-COLTS.137907.jpg

 

What do you think?  Was the 2006 team the best Indianapolis Colts team ever?  Let's hear your thoughts!  And keep your eyes peeled for the next ORS!

 

All stats taken from NFL.com, Football Outsiders, and pro-football-reference.com.

AWESOME post!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, RockThatBlue said:

I think the best modern Colts team was 2005, you could probably make a case for 2007 as well. 

 

2006 team wasn't even the best in the NFL that year, but the best team does not always win the championship in every sport. We got hot when Bob Sanders came back which obviously helped our horrible run defense out a lot. 

 

1 hour ago, NannyMcafee said:

The most complete season was 05 imo. I was totally one of those thinking we would win it all. We just seemed unstoppable. Until we beat ourselves. Darn you colts always doing that!

 

Going into this analysis, I hypothesized that the 2005 team would come out as the #1 squad.  Not only did they seem completely unstoppable during the season, but the biggest threat to them that I could think of (2006) had a pretty bad regular season defense.  Going into the post-season data, the 2006 squad had almost twice as many points as the 2005 team, but the 2006 squad played that well in the playoffs.  It's the playoff time of possession that really hurt the 2005 squad, where they ranked 11th out of 12 playoff teams.  I thought the 2009 squad would do a bit better too since they nearly went undefeated and made it to the Super Bowl

 

45 minutes ago, Luck12-to-Hilton13 said:

AWESOME post!

Thanks!  I'm glad you enjoyed it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, 21isSuperman said:

The NFL offseason can be a pretty slow time on the forums.  To combat this and keep the discussions going, I've decided to make a series of different discussion topics called the Offseason Reading Series (ORS).  Throughout the offseason, I will randomly post these threads to give people something to talk about.  They will be about all kinds of different football topics, but I will try to keep them mostly focused on the Colts.  Of course, the point is to keep everyone entertained during a slow time of the year, so if people don't like them, I will discontinue them so as to not annoy anyone.  With that said, let's begin with ORS#1...

 

The best Indianapolis Colts team ever

 

Since the start of the millennium, the Indianapolis Colts have been fortunate enough to have two exceptional QBs running the show for them.  Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have both set multiple NFL records; when your QBs are setting records, your team is usually winning.  But of the many successful Colts teams since 1984, which one is the best?  The 2004 team put up all kinds of insane offensive numbers.  The 2005 squad looked destined for a Super Bowl before losing to Pittsburgh in the playoffs.  The 2006 squad looked like an easy out in the playoffs, but won it all.  The 2007 team had the league’s 3rd best scoring offense and top scoring defense.  So many great teams and accomplishments, but which single year was the best Indianapolis Colts team?  Keep in mind we're looking for the best Indianapolis Colts team and not the best Colts team, thus we don't include any Baltimore Colts teams.

 

To begin, let’s sort all of the 10+ win teams since 1984 by their W/L record.

 

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2     1999: 13-3     2007: 13-3

2003: 12-4     2004: 12-4     2006: 12-4     2008: 12-4

2012: 11-5     2013: 11-5     2014: 11-5     2000: 10-6

2002: 10-6     2010: 10-6

 

Now let’s trim away the fat.  Setting 12 wins as the minimum requirement, that leaves us with 8 seasons.

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2     1999: 13-3     2007: 13-3

2003: 12-4     2004: 12-4     2006: 12-4     2008: 12-4

 

John Madden once told me the winner of a game is the team that scores the most points.  Taking his great advice to heart, let’s narrow the list even more by removing any years that didn’t have a top 10 scoring offense and a top 10 scoring defense.  That leaves us with 3 teams.  In addition, I’m going to include the 2006 squad for analysis because they won the Super Bowl, even though the scoring defense was ranked 23rd/32.

 

2005: 14-2     2009: 14-2

2007: 13-3     2006: 12-4

 

We’re now left with four teams spanning five years.  The Colts’ five year stretch from 2005 to 2009, where they won 65/80 regular season games (81.25%) is one of the greatest five year stretches in NFL history.  Since 1980, it is the second best five year stretch of any team, only marginally behind the 2003-2007 Patriots (66/80, 82.5%).  In the entire Super Bowl era, it is third, sitting behind the aforementioned Patriots and the 1970-1974 Dolphins (57/70, 81.4%).  In fact, I did ANOVA statistical analysis and determined there was no statistically significant difference between the top three teams at the p < 0.001 level, so the Colts’ 5 year run from 2005 to 2009 is tied for the best 5 year stretch among all teams in the NFL in the Super Bowl era.  There’s no doubt the greatest Indianapolis Colts team is going to come from this period.  

 

Now we get into the numbers.  I wanted to know which team was the most complete.  Not only did your offense score and your defense not get scored on, but which team was the best at moving the ball and preventing the opponent from moving the ball?  How did your team do at getting interceptions and sacks?  There is a commonly used formula that takes all of this into account, and it’s the DVOA from Football Outsiders.  Let’s look at the defensive numbers for the four aforementioned teams and how they ranked in the league:

 

Year

PPG

YPG

Sacks

Interceptions

2005

15.4 (2nd)

307.1 (11th)

46 (5th)

18 (9th)

2006

22.5 (23rd)

332.2 (21st)

25 (30th)

15 (20th)

2007

16.4 (1st)

279.7 (3rd)

28 (26th)

22 (2nd)

2009

19.2 (8th)

339.2 (18th)

34 (16th)

16 (15th)

 

Forced Fumbles

QB rating given up

DVOA

 

 

2005

32 (4th)

83.0 (23rd)

-10.5% (8th)

2006

28 (8th)

80.4 (15th)

11.3% (27th)

2007

27 (11th)

73.3 (3rd)

-10.8% (3rd)

2009

20 (24th)

80.6 (12th)

-0.8% (16th)

 

Let’s look at the offensive stats:

Year

PPG

YPG

Pass TDs/Rush TDs

Interceptions

2005

27.4 (2nd)

362.4 (3rd)

31 (2nd)/18 (6th)

11 (5th)

2006

26.7 (2nd)

379.4 (3rd)

31 (1st)/17 (6th)

9 (2nd)

2007

28.1 (3rd)

358.7 (5th)

32 (4th)/19 (2nd)

14 (6th)

2009

26.0 (7th)

363.1 (9th)

34 (1st)/16 (12th)

19 (23rd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fumbles

QB rating

DVOA

2005

14 (1st)

103.3 (1st)

30.5% (1st)

2006

13 (1st)

101.0 (1st)

33.8% (1st)

2007

14 (1st)

96.1 (5th)

28.3 (2nd)

 2009

11 (1st)

95.4 (9th)

16.8% (6th)

 

Sorry for the funny looking tables.  I had to format them this way to get them to fit on the screen.  On a little side note, the Colts did an excellent job of not fumbling the ball in these years.  

 

Next, we’ll assign points to each team based on their ranking.  A ranking of 1st will be 1 point, 2nd is 2 points, etc.  Using this points system, the lower the score is, the better.  This gives us scores of:

 

2005: 83     2006: 161

2007: 77     2009: 177

 

Clearly, the best regular season teams were 2005 and 2007.  However, to determine which team was the best team, we’d have to consider playoff stats as well.  This means we need to repeat this process, but look at the stats differently.  I’m going to look at the stats that give the average per game instead of overall season totals: PPG, YPG, time of possession/game (since running the ball becomes so important in the playoffs), and QB rating.  This time, keep in mind the rankings are out of 12, not 32.  Thus, each ranking is multiplied by 32/12 = 2.6667 to normalize it to the regular season data.  But playoff games are more important and carry greater consequences with them, so your performance in the playoffs must be better than in the regular season.  One loss in the regular season is no big deal; one loss in the playoffs is the end of your season.  Therefore, we need to multiply each ranking by what I call its “significance factor”.  If your team’s ranking for a certain statistic is 1, 2, 3, or 4, your team is playing exceptionally.  Therefore, those rankings will be divided by 2 (remember, lower score is better).  For example, the top ranked scoring defense in the playoffs would be given [1 x (32/12)]/2 = 1.333 points.  Rankings 5-8 will be kept as they are since they’re average among playoff teams, and rankings 9-12 will be multiplied by 2 because you’re performing poorly when it counts the most.  Defensively, this gives us:

 

Year

PPG

YPG

Time of possession

QB rating given up

2005

21 (7th)

295.0 (6th)

34:52 (2nd)

95.3 (6th)

2006

16.2 (2nd)

238.5 (1st)

24:58 (1st)

62.8 (3rd)

2007

28.0 (8th)

411.0 (12th)

29:39 (6th)

73.3 (3rd)

2009

17 (1st)

330.0 (5th)

28:16 (2nd)

89.3 (7th)

 

Gary Brackett did say the Colts were the “number one defense of the post-season” after winning Super Bowl XLI, and he did so with good reason.  Look at those rankings!  

 

And the offense:

Year

PPG

YPG

Time of possession

QB rating

2005

18 (7th)

305.0 (6th)

25:08 (11th)

90.9 (3rd)

2006

26.2 (3rd)

395.2 (2nd)

35:02 (1st)

70.2 (8th)

2007

24.0 (5th)

446.0 (1st)

30:21 (6th)

97.7 (2nd)

2009

22.3 (5th)

308.7 (3rd)

31:44 (3rd)

99.0 (4th)

 

In terms of the scoring system we’re using, this gives us:

 

 

2005: 83 + 150.67 = 233.67

2006: 161 + 38.67 = 199.67

2007: 77 + 138.67 = 215.67

2009: 177 + 62.67 = 239.67

 

Keeping in mind that the lowest number is best, we see that the 2006 squad blows away all other teams because of how well they played in the playoffs.  After the regular season stats were taken into consideration, the 2006 squad was 2nd last.  However, that team did enough to make it to the playoffs and have a chance to win it all.  What caused these changes?

When the playoffs came around, Bob Sanders returned to the defense and the entire defensive unit played lights out when it mattered most.  In fact, the 2006 team did what everyone said they couldn’t do.  Can’t stop the run?  They held Larry Johnson – a 1700 yard rusher – to 32 yards on 13 attempts.  Can’t beat an elite defense in the playoffs?  They beat the league’s #1 ranked defense in the divisional round.  Can’t beat Tom Brady?  They staged an amazing comeback to beat Brady and the Pats to make it to the Super Bowl.  Can’t win outdoors in bad weather?  The Colts won the first Super Bowl ever played in the rain against a team known for playing in the elements.  When you put it all together, based on this method of analysis, the 2006 Indianapolis Colts were the best team in Indianapolis history.  It certainly helps your case when you end your season this way...

 

636038291826935269-63-COLTS.137907.jpg

 

What do you think?  Was the 2006 team the best Indianapolis Colts team ever?  Let's hear your thoughts!  And keep your eyes peeled for the next ORS!

 

All stats taken from NFL.com, Football Outsiders, and pro-football-reference.com.

The immense amounts of analysis you have done here is impressive, but I couldve told you it was the 2006 team from the outset... They are the only Indianapolis Colts team to win a SB, ergo, they were the best one.

I know you meant from a statistical standpoint... But the NFL is about W's and L's and that year we went all the way and got that big W. Simple as.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great stuff and nice breakdown Superman! I have to go with 2006 eventhough they weren't statistically the best. They are the only Indianapolis Colts to go undefeated at home, 10-0 overall counting the Playoffs. They also won at Baltimore going through Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, then beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the Playoffs. They won the SB so I have them #1.

I would list them as:

1. 2006 Colts

2. 2005 Colts

3. 2007 Colts

4. 2009 Colts - Started 14-0 and won the AFC, so I have them 4th

5. 2004 Colts - Manning's 49 TD season, so I have them 5th

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great breakdown. Appreciate you putting the time in to give all the information.

 

Personally, I think the 2005 team was the best one. Irsay said it himself that the team that year had virtually no weaknesses. I still believe that the death of Dungy's son did something to that team along with the fact that they rested for such a long time towards the end of the season. The offense was so balanced and the defense was consistently good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, RockThatBlue said:

I think the best modern Colts team was 2005, you could probably make a case for 2007 as well. 

 

2006 team wasn't even the best in the NFL that year, but the best team does not always win the championship in every sport. We got hot when Bob Sanders came back which obviously helped our horrible run defense out a lot. 

I remember when he came back and we played KC in the wildcard I was for sure Larry Johnson was going to run all over us.  I was thinking it would be 30 carries for 200yards.  Like you said we got hot when he came back

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, 2006Coltsbestever said:

Great stuff and nice breakdown Superman! I have to go with 2006 eventhough they weren't statistically the best. They are the only Indianapolis Colts to go undefeated at home, 10-0 overall counting the Playoffs. They also won at Baltimore going through Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, then beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the Playoffs. They won the SB so I have them #1.

I would list them as:

1. 2006 Colts

2. 2005 Colts

3. 2007 Colts

4. 2009 Colts - Started 14-0 and won the AFC, so I have them 4th

5. 2004 Colts - Manning's 49 TD season, so I have them 5th

I do want to follow up my quote by saying these are who I think was the best in order.

 

My 3 favorite teams still remain:

1. 2006 Colts - We won the SB and beat Tom and BB to get there!

2. 1995 Colts - The Harbaugh magic, beating KC in KC in the Divisional Round was magical.

3. 2012 Colts - We were coming off a 2-14 season in 2011. Didn't have Peyton Manning anymore so it looked cloudy. On a total rebuild we went 11-5 and made the Playoffs led by Andrew Luck. A 9 game improvement and the comebacks we had in 2012 were unreal like the Packers CHUCK STRONG game and Lions game. Nobody had us winning more than 5 games that season going in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Chucklez said:

The immense amounts of analysis you have done here is impressive, but I couldve told you it was the 2006 team from the outset... They are the only Indianapolis Colts team to win a SB, ergo, they were the best one.

I know you meant from a statistical standpoint... But the NFL is about W's and L's and that year we went all the way and got that big W. Simple as.

The thing that kept me from thinking the 2006 team would be the best was how poorly the defense played in the regular season.  That 2006 team had one of the worst defenses to win the Super Bowl, and one of the worst run defenses of all time.  I figured the defense was so bad, that it might be that team's downfall despite winning the Super Bowl that year.  But their performance in the playoffs was so good that it made up for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, 21isSuperman said:

The thing that kept me from thinking the 2006 team would be the best was how poorly the defense played in the regular season.  That 2006 team had one of the worst defenses to win the Super Bowl, and one of the worst run defenses of all time.  I figured the defense was so bad, that it might be that team's downfall despite winning the Super Bowl that year.  But their performance in the playoffs was so good that it made up for it.

A lot of that had to do with Bob missing almost the whole season. When he was healthy our Defense was completely different. In the Playoffs with him healthy we gave up 8 to KC, 6 to the Ravens, 34 to the Pats but it was Tom Brady and 1 of those scores was a pick 6 so it was actually 27, and 17 to the Bears. That is an average of only 16 points a game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, 2006Coltsbestever said:

A lot of that had to do with Bob missing almost the whole season. When he was healthy our Defense was completely different. In the Playoffs with him healthy we gave up 8 to KC, 6 to the Ravens, 34 to the Pats but it was Tom Brady and 1 of those scores was a pick 6 so it was actually 27, and 17 to the Bears. That is an average of only 16 points a game.

Yeah, the defense played lights out in the playoffs that year, and the stats back it up.  Side note: your username rings more true now than ever! haha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, 21isSuperman said:

Yeah, the defense played lights out in the playoffs that year, and the stats back it up.  Side note: your username rings more true now than ever! haha

Yeah I don't even know why I chose that name but I figured since we won the SB what the heck. We weren't a Dynasty like the 70's Steelers, 80's 49ers, 90's Cowboys, or the 2000 Patriots but I would still put our 2006 team up against any of them with a healthy Bob Sanders. We could stop the run with him and our Pass Rush had not 1 but 2 Great players in Freeney and Mathis. Our Offense spoke for itself with Peyton, Marvin, Reggie, Clark, and Saturday and Glenn paving the ways. Adding Adam in 2006 was huge too, we had VanderMISS in 2005 LOL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, 21isSuperman said:

The thing that kept me from thinking the 2006 team would be the best was how poorly the defense played in the regular season.  That 2006 team had one of the worst defenses to win the Super Bowl, and one of the worst run defenses of all time.  I figured the defense was so bad, that it might be that team's downfall despite winning the Super Bowl that year.  But their performance in the playoffs was so good that it made up for it.

6 or two 3s.... :thmup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, 21isSuperman said:

The thing that kept me from thinking the 2006 team would be the best was how poorly the defense played in the regular season.  That 2006 team had one of the worst defenses to win the Super Bowl, and one of the worst run defenses of all time.  I figured the defense was so bad, that it might be that team's downfall despite winning the Super Bowl that year.  But their performance in the playoffs was so good that it made up for it.

 

IMO, our horrible Run Defense late in the season helped us in the wildcard & divisional rounds.

KC and Baltimore both thought they would run down our throats and their offenses became one dlmensional.

We got Sanders back from injury and Dungy made a few tweaks and our D held up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That 2007 team was awful talented. I truly believed they had what it took to beat the patriots in a rematch. But those damn Chargers....

 

 

*

Unfortunately Freeney got injured and we didn't have him for the Playoffs. I think we beat them if he plays. Not sure if we beat the Pats though?

 

It's definitely a tossup, but that was the one year New England walked away from us like Apollo Creed in the first Rocky going "ain't gonna be no rematch".

 

We nearly beat them when they came to town in the regular season until, I believe, Charlie Johnson whiffed on a block late that netted a strip sack for them.

 

 

*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously 2006 team is the most accomplished team in Indianapolis history, but idk if I'd say they were the best. My vote goes to 2005 I think. Perhaps worst game of season against Pittsburgh in the playoffs, same as the 18-1 New England team. That team beats that Giants team more often than not. Best team doesn't always win, it's about matchups always.

 

this was a great writeup from 21isSuperman. Great job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, 21isSuperman said:

 

 

 

Going into this analysis, I hypothesized that the 2005 team would come out as the #1 squad.  Not only did they seem completely unstoppable during the season, but the biggest threat to them that I could think of (2006) had a pretty bad regular season defense.  Going into the post-season data, the 2006 squad had almost twice as many points as the 2005 team, but the 2006 squad played that well in the playoffs.  It's the playoff time of possession that really hurt the 2005 squad, where they ranked 11th out of 12 playoff teams.  I thought the 2009 squad would do a bit better too since they nearly went undefeated and made it to the Super Bowl

 

Thanks!  I'm glad you enjoyed it

 

The 09 squad was severely flawed (sub par skill positions, a line like Luck's, a defense like we have now) but it was at the time that Manning was at a level no one had ever seen before. I've never seen a QB literally will his team all the way to a superbowl like that before until that season.  For me this was the most magical season of the Manning era.  After that Miami game (and that was early on) I was almost a 100% sure that there was nothing that could stop Manning. 

 

Also this was my favorite Colts/Patriots moment. The day that BB literally acknowledged that Manning was the best QB he ever faced.

 

I need to re-watch this soon... lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, John Waylon said:

 

It's definitely a tossup, but that was the one year New England walked away from us like Apollo Creed in the first Rocky going "ain't gonna be no rematch".

 

We nearly beat them when they came to town in the regular season until, I believe, Charlie Johnson whiffed on a block late that netted a strip sack for them.

 

 

*

We also has a 20-10 lead in that game. That game just added to the great rivalry. They won 24-20 but had to pull it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Surge89 said:

 

The 09 squad was severely flawed (sub par skill positions, a line like Luck's, a defense like we have now) but it was at the time that Manning was at a level no one had ever seen before. I've never seen a QB literally will his team all the way to a superbowl like that before until that season.  For me this was the most magical season of the Manning era.  After that Miami game (and that was early on) I was almost a 100% sure that there was nothing that could stop Manning. 

 

Also this was my favorite Colts/Patriots moment. The day that BB literally acknowledged that Manning was the best QB he ever faced.

 

I need to re-watch this soon... lol

I was at the 2009 4th and 2 game and we won that I couldn't believe it, Peyton was so clutch all season in 09. Didn't finish vs the Saints but he still was awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Surge89 said:

 

The 09 squad was severely flawed (sub par skill positions, a line like Luck's, a defense like we have now) but it was at the time that Manning was at a level no one had ever seen before. I've never seen a QB literally will his team all the way to a superbowl like that before until that season.  For me this was the most magical season of the Manning era.  After that Miami game (and that was early on) I was almost a 100% sure that there was nothing that could stop Manning. 

 

Also this was my favorite Colts/Patriots moment. The day that BB literally acknowledged that Manning was the best QB he ever faced.

 

I need to re-watch this soon... lol

That Miami game was insane!  It's the only game I can remember where the losing side has a significantly better time of possession.  Manning was lethal all season.  I remember watching the Jets and Ravens playoffs games that year and it looked like he was barely even trying.  He ripped those defenses apart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, 21isSuperman said:

That Miami game was insane!  It's the only game I can remember where the losing side has a significantly better time of possession.  Manning was lethal all season.  I remember watching the Jets and Ravens playoffs games that year and it looked like he was barely even trying.  He ripped those defenses apart.

I was really surprised we lost to the Saints the way Peyton was playing all season. Peyton was awesome in the clutch all season. The better team doesn't always win on SB Sunday though. Vegas had us favored by 5.5 so we were the better team in most peoples eyes otherwise the Saints would've been favored. 5.5 is pretty significant, anything more than a FG is actually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, bradgt04 said:

I remember when he came back and we played KC in the wildcard I was for sure Larry Johnson was going to run all over us.  I was thinking it would be 30 carries for 200yards.  Like you said we got hot when he came back

I was expecting a 200+ yard game too. Still can't believe to this day he only ended up with 20 something yards. It was awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, RockThatBlue said:

I was expecting a 200+ yard game too. Still can't believe to this day he only ended up with 20 something yards. It was awesome.

After that game regardless of Ty Laws 27 picks of manning I knew we were going all the way. 

 

The next game we held Jamal Lewis to like 50 some yards.  

Speaking of that game I think the player stats for both teams was almost exactly alike.  Pass attempts, completions, completion percentage,  pass yards,  rush yards,  forced fumbles,  sacks,  interceptions and a few others.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, bababooey said:

09 team should have been undefeated. No reason to lose to the Jets and Bills. Stupid little mistakes in the SB with disastrous results.

After the jets game...I think.  Some woman called the radio station appliance was on and completely belittled her and accused her of her husband feeding her questions and comments. I Don't know why...but I remember that for some reason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, bradgt04 said:

After the jets game...I think.  Some woman called the radio station appliance was on and completely belittled her and accused her of her husband feeding her questions and comments. I Don't know why...but I remember that for some reason

Who was on?

 

I was coming home from the last Giants game at the old Giants stadium when I found out we were losing perfection. My brother is a huge Jets fan and he couldn't believe we were that stupid to throw away perfection, especially after you beat a team like NE the way we did in the 4th and 2 comeback.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, bababooey said:

Who was on?

 

I was coming home from the last Giants game at the old Giants stadium when I found out we were losing perfection. My brother is a huge Jets fan and he couldn't believe we were that stupid to throw away perfection, especially after you beat a team like NE the way we did in the 4th and 2 comeback.

Appliance?!....Bill Polian was on.  Stupid Auto correct

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, bradgt04 said:

Appliance?!....Bill Polian was on.  Stupid Auto correct

Really a bad decision not go for 16-0, the team was so close and Polian just ripped it away from the team and fans. People were ripping him so bad on his radio show for a few days that the radio show had to quit taking phone calls. I was so upset I considered boycotting the Playoffs at that point myself. Not sure why he thought it was wise to not go for that, that is a once in a lifetime thing if you are lucky to go 16-0.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, bababooey said:

09 team should have been undefeated. No reason to lose to the Jets and Bills. Stupid little mistakes in the SB with disastrous results.

yep, I will never forgive Garcon for dropping an easy and huge gain when were up 10-0. It started to fall apart from there. And the huge hit to the head Manning took just before the pick six to Tracy Porter and bounty gate came out the next year.  Its it said Saturday told Manning to stop and take time out when he saw Manning's eyes after that hit

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...