Indianapolis Colts: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
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player. 46. . Tight End. 1963-71. John Mackey. 9

John Mackey was ahead of his time as a dominant tight end. He played for the Colts well before the days of long, athletic tight ends who are really just heavy wide receivers. And yet, he would probably still be a superstar if he were playing in today’s NFL.

Still, he didn’t need a pass-heavy attack like the modern offense to put up huge numbers. He still stands as the Colts’ all-time receiving yards leader among tight ends, and is eighth all-time among all pass catchers in franchise history. Not too shabby for a tight end who played most of his football in the 1960s.

So just how good was Mackey? Well, let’s see. The guy had five Pro Bowls, three All-Pro selections and two championships to his name. On top of that, he was only the second pure tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Heck, he even had college football’s award for the nation’s top tight end named after him. Yes, he was THAT good.

One of Johnny Unitas’ go-to targets, Mackey spent much of his NFL career carving up defenses and making life miserable for anyone unfortunate enough to be assigned to cover him.