In the history of Boston rivals, the Colts are the Washington Generals

Jim Hackett
October 04, 2018 - 8:44 am

USA Today Sports


To all of you in Indianapolis that may be visiting and think some sort of rivalry has been renewed or restored against the Patriots it’s time to step up your medication and seek out teams of professional help. The good news for you is that you have traveled to the medical hub of the planet and there’s tons of help available. The Patriots and the Colts form a ‘rivalry’ in the same way as a Mack truck and a squirrel. The squirrel can be elusive at times sure, but when they connect at the moment of truth it usually doesn’t end well for the squirrel and the Colts are most certainly quite squirrelly. 

To Colts fans, when Darth McDaniels left them behind like roadkill last winter it was a call to war. A war that history shows has been pretty one-sided, like the Clone Wars in the Star Wars second prequel “Attack of the Clones.” Similarly to the movie, the war was ugly and so is the Colts history versus the Patriots in this longtime ‘rivalry.’ 

For those you who may not be historians the Patriots success against the Colts far expands beyond Tom Brady’s stellar 8-4 head to head record against Peyton Manning during his career with Indianapolis. Oh no, the beatings have been happening consistently throughout my lifetime and even some of the worst Patriots teams in New England’s franchise history have had great success picking on their friendly little Midwest brother. If you’re wondering, the Patriots all-time record versus the Colts is 51-29. Think about how much ESPN has played up this ‘rivalry’in the last 20 years and let that number sink in a bit. 51-29. Good for a 64% winning percentage and you thought the Yankees had an advantage over the Red Sox pre-2004? As Frank Zappa would say… “Great Googily Moogily.”

The one decade where the Colts hold an advantage over the Patriots is in the 70’s, where they own an 11-9 edge in victories.  However, since the 1980’s the Patriots have consistently had the upper hand every decade. The beloved Steve Grogan had great success against the Jets in his long career, but only managed to go .500 with an 8-8 record against the Colts over 16 seasons. Grogs aged well vs. the Colts though winning his last three between 1985 and 1990. Regardless, throughout the decade of the 80’s the Patriots gained an advantage they have never relinquished for nearly 40 years now. Advantage 13-6 Patriots during the 80s’. Add in the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance and the competitive wedge gets even wider. 

The worst Patriots teams of the early 90’s, particularly the pathetic editions between 1990 and 1992 even had their way with the lowly Colts winning four out of six of those games during that time span. Had the Patriots not had the Colts to pick on in two of those seasons (1990 & 1992), they may have gone 0-16. Some rivalry.

And now we get to the good stuff. 

Since Drew Bledsoe took over as starting quarterback for the Patriots back in 1993 the Pats have gone 25-9 against the Colts. If you want to count the one game Scott Secules regrettably quarterbacked in 1993 you could say that the Patriots hold a 25-10 advantage in the Robert Kraft ownership era, but that is brutally unfair to Kraft. I love Bill Parcells but the Secules gaffe goes to him exclusively, so let’s call it 25-9 shall we. Shout out to Drew Bledsoe who did his part to add to the Patriots dominance over the Colts compiling an 11-4 record in 15 games against them in his Patriots career. As impressively, Bledsoe bested a young Peyton Manning four out of six times during that span.

In the Kraft, Belichick and Brady era there have been several meaningful games, including AFC Championship matchups where the stakes were some of the highest we’ve ever seen. However, facts are facts. Since Brady took over, the Patriots are 14-5 versus this ancient ‘rival.’ One of those losses is an 18-15 snorer in 2008 when Matt Cassel was quarterbacking while Brady was recovering from an ACL reconstruction. In fairness just because of the volume of high stakes games versus the Colts in the modern era, the 14-5 spread in victories is more akin to a pick-up truck versus a squirrel, rather than the aforementioned Mack truck but nonetheless, the advantage remains.

 In the current decade where we are still enjoying Tom Brady at or near elite status, the Pats are undefeated against these same Colts. 7-0 heading into tonight in the decade of the 2010’s. I think there’s plenty of data to support that the trend will continue tonight. Final score Patriots 27-13.

As for the real rivalries, the best one in sports starts up again on Friday night and in case you forgot, LeBron James is now a Laker. Fall and winter promise to be fun around here.