Here are the three most underrated Colts of the Peyton Manning era.
The Indianapolis Colts had the luxury of fielding some incredibly talented teams during the highly successful Peyton Manning era. When you think of studs like Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne Edgerrin James, and Dwight Freeney — two of which are Hall of Famers — there was really no shortage of star power on those teams.
Though the Colts only won one Super Bowl during Manning’s reign under center, which spanned from 1998 to 2010, they were always in that conversation. In fact, Indianapolis took home seven division crowns, qualified for the playoffs 10 times and made three appearances in the AFC Championship Game over the span.
While there’s no doubting that players like Manning and the three others mentioned above played a major role in the Colts’ success across those 13 years, the list of underrated and overlooked players is nearly twice as long.
That got us thinking: Who were some of the most unheralded players of the Manning era? It wasn’t easy, but we managed to narrow the list down to three.
3. Brandon Stokley
Brandon Stokley might have only spent four seasons (2003-2006) in Indianapolis, but he was easily the most underrated weapon on the Colts’ lethal offense during that span. Fans in Indy will remember him for catching Manning’s 49th touchdown in 2004, which broke Dan Marino’s record for most TD passes in a single season. That record has since been broken, but the moment is one of the most iconic in Colts history.
During the former fourth-round pick’s tenure in Indy, he compiled 139 receptions for 1,916 yards and 15 touchdowns. Those are pretty impressive numbers when you consider he was behind the likes of Harrison and Wayne in the wide receiver pecking order.
To put a bow on why Stokley qualifies for this list, he was around when the Colts’ greatest achievement of the Manning era — when they toppled the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Nothing more needs to be said.