In many ways, the Packers-Colts series history can be broken into three parts. Part 1 are the teams that eventually became the Colts in 1953 (the NFL does not recognize these teams as predecessors to the Colts, but I will cover this in brief at the end of the post), Part 2 could be the history against the Baltimore Colts, and Part 3 could be the Indianapolis Colts. I will deal with Parts 2 and 3 and then give a brief rundown of Part 1 in this post, in that order.
Right now, the Packers-Colts series history is a deadlock a 20-20-1. The Packers won the only playoff game between the teams, but this game's result is mired in controversy. Each team has had its time of dominance. Green Bay's mark against the precursor teams is 22-4.
From 1953, when the Baltimore Colts were organized, they joined the NFL and played the Packers twice a year, every year, until the 1967 season when it changed to one game per year. The Packers won the first four games between the teams (the two wins in 1953 were their only wins that season compared to nine losses and a tie). Following this, the Colts became a force behind the passing of Johnny Unitas, the receiving of Raymond Berry, and the menacing defense led by Gino Marchetti. The Colts won eight of the next ten games between the teams, including a two-game sweep during Lombardi's inaugural season in 1959.
After two home-and-home splits in 1960 and 1961, the Packers finally achieved dominance in the series, winning eight of ten but losing both games in 1964. The sweep in 1965 could not stave off a late Colts charge that resulted in a one-game playoff prior to the NFL Championship against Cleveland (more on this later).
1967 was the year the Colts began their reign as the dominant NFL force. They beat the Packers on a late comeback in Baltimore but wound up losing the playoff spot when the Rams beat them 34-10 in the last week of the season. Since the Colts and Rams both ended up with 11-1-2 records but the Rams had a 1-0-1 head-to-head record, the Rams went to the playoffs while the Colts had to stay home.
The Colts beat the Packers again in 1968, 1969, and 1970 as the Packers began a long slide under a succession of coaches. The Packers finally managed to beat a terrible Colts team in 1974, 20-13, in Baltimore, but then the two teams played to a 20-20 tie in the strike-shortened 1982 season. That tie was the only game the 1982 Colts didn't lose (they finished the season with a record of 0-8-1).
Following the Colts' move to Indianapolis in 1984, they hosted the Packers in 1985 and won in a blowout, 37-10. The Colts again beat the Packers in 1988 at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 14-10 in 1991, the year before Favre arrived.
The first time the Packers played the Colts with Favre was in 1997 in Indianapolis. The Colts were winless, and the Packers had won the Super Bowl the year before. So who won? THE COLTS, 41-38, on a last-second field goal. Three years later, the Packers had one of their best games of the season, beating the Colts 26-24 at Lambeau Field. This was the very first Favre-vs.-Peyton Manning duel. The Packers won due to a bizarre early safety when the ball appeared to squirt out of Manning's hand, and then Allen Rossum ran a kick back for a touchdown as the Colts were rallying late.
The 2004 game between the teams was another wild free-for-all scoring festival, with the Colts winning 45-31. The most recent game between the teams was in 2008. Nick Collins and Aaron Rouse both returned interceptions for touchdowns as the Packers blew out the Colts 34-14 at Lambeau Field.
Now, as I indicated earlier, the 1965 playoff game is mired in controversy. The Colts led, 10-7, with seconds left, and Don Chandler was attempting a game-tying field goal. The kick appeared to go wide of the upright, and on the NFL Films clip of the attempt, Chandler can be seen looking away in disgust. And yet, the official under the uprights signaled the field goal was good. In these days, there was no replay, and this call stood, sending the game into overtime. Chandler wound up kicking the game-winning field goal, and the Packers won 13-10.
As I mentioned at the outset, I would also sneak in a blurb about the Packers' 22-4 mark against the precursor teams. Here is how it breaks down:
Dayton Triangles (1921-1929): 5 wins, 0 losses.
Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers (1930-1944): 10 wins, 0 losses.
Boston/Brooklyn Yanks/Tigers (1945): 2 wins, 0 losses.
Boston Yanks (1946-1948): 1 win, 0 losses.
New York Yanks (1949-1951): 2 wins, 3 losses.
Dallas Texans (1952): 2 wins, 0 losses.
There was also an earlier Baltimore Colts team that played in the NFL in 1950 and then folded at the end of that season. This team played from 1947-1949 in the All-America Football Conference along with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers (there were five other AAFC teams from 1946-1948, and four other teams in the league in 1949. These four teams stopped playing when the AAFC merged with the NFL). This Colts team started out as the Miami Seahawks before moving to Baltimore after the 1946 AAFC season. The similarities between that Colts team and the later Baltimore Colts were the team name, the team marching band, and the fan club. The team's colors, however, were different (the Miami Seahawks and that Baltimore Colts team wore green and silver). Green Bay's mark against this Baltimore Colts team is as follows:
Baltimore Colts (1950): 0 wins, 1 loss.
That 1950 Colts win over the Packers would be the only win by the 1950 Colts during their time as an NFL team. They lost their other 11 games before they folded after the season (which was 12 games long at the time). They had previously won 10 games before they joined the NFL, but were generally among the worst teams in the AAFC.
Again, it's worth noting that the NFL does not recognize any of these teams as precursors to the modern-day Indianapolis Colts. The Packers' combined mark against these teams is 42-24-1, but by the NFL records, the Packers-Colts series is tied at 20-20-1, with the Packers holding a 1-0 playoff edge.
What are your memories of the Packers playing the Colts?