Colts history on Monday Night Football ahead of their matchup against the Steelers

Oct 11, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Indianapolis Colts set to host the Pittsburgh Steelers for Monday Night Football, let’s take a look at Indy’s history on Mondays.

The next installment of Monday Night Football, on November 28, will feature two historic, yet struggling, franchises in the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this piece, I will cover the Colts’ record on Monday Night Football and revisit some memorable games from said game day.

Colts’ Monday Night Football record

Overall, the Colts as a franchise are 25-19 on Monday nights. The Baltimore Colts are holding up their fair share of the bargain, and then some, by posting a 10-4 record on MNF. Albeit a smaller sample size (14 games) versus their Midwest counterpart (30 games), the Colts from Baltimore played the hand they were dealt and found success in doing so. Conversely, the Indianapolis Colts could not be more hit or miss in this regard, as they’ve tallied a 15-15 record on MNF.

The current-day Colts will be donning their special 1950s throwbacks against the Steelers (which they debuted last season in Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), so despite their 2022 struggles, maybe if anything, paying homage to the original Colts may just channel enough of their Baltimore side to pull out a win.

The Indy Colts have found themselves as streaky (Monday night) primetime opponents. Not only based on their .500 record during these games, but Indianapolis has gone on a seven-game win streak (from 2003-2007) as well as two separate three-game losing streaks since 2011 alone. Over their last 10 MNF games, Indianapolis is 2-8 (.200 record).

Memorable Colts moments on Monday Night Football

Eric Dickerson’s scary MNF performance of four touchdowns on Halloween in 1988 is certainly a memorable moment in the Colts’ MNF History, and also in MNF History in general. We absolutely will be getting to that, however, first, we must reminisce on arguably the NFL’s greatest comeback.

It’s a tall task to argue that any comeback in NFL History that wasn’t Super Bowl LI, where the Patriots overcame a second half, 28-3 deficit, is the best of all time, especially given what was at stake. Although, Indianapolis’ miraculous comeback on MNF in 2003 against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers certainly should at the very least give the SB game in question a run for its money as being the NFL’s greatest comeback.

Colts’ 21-point comeback against Buccaneers

On October 6th, 2003, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and became the first team to win after trailing by 21 points or more with less than 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

There’s not much else to reminisce on simply by reading that previous sentence. Given the deficit and how much time was left, this comeback was nothing short of an incredible feat. A game and moment that if it isn’t already, should be immortalized forever in Canton, this comeback reigns mathematically superior (admittedly, a bit nit-picky in regards to the “first team to” stat I shared above).

FWIW: NFL Network did a segment on the “NFL 100 Greatest Games,” and this game, in particular, landed at No. 65 on the list. It’s all subjective of course, and to be fair, we are talking about the greatest comebacks of all time as opposed to the greatest games of all time.

It should always be agree to disagree and to each their own when discussing sports takes and whatnot, but with all the factors involved (i.e., time remaining, deficit, undefeated record, primetime, etc.), I’d like to be shown a game in NFL History where the number of dominoes that had to fall even comes close to these ones in this ending. Seriously, and I’m admitting there may be recency bias here, but I truly can’t recall a more mathematically-improbable ending on primetime television.

Eric Dickerson on Halloween

On Halloween in 1988, on Monday Night Football, Eric Dickerson, the running back for Indianapolis at the time, went as himself for the holiday and ended up scaring the daylights out of the Denver Broncos.

The Colts would only out-gain the Broncos by 67 yards of offense, but the Broncos would end up coughing up four fumbles (4 total turnovers by DEN) en route to a 55-23 onslaught by Eric Dickerson and company. Indy’s offense was firing on all cylinders all night, scoring points on all drives but one (which resulted in the team’s only punt of the evening).

As merely mentioned and certainly alluded to, Eric Dickerson was a man amongst boys in this game. Dickerson scored the game’s first three touchdowns, which all happened in the first quarter and catapulted the Colts to an early 21-0 lead after one quarter. After a Dean Biasucci field goal kicked things off scoring-wise in the 2nd quarter, Dickerson would break off a 41-yard gain for his fourth and final score of the day.

Dickerson wouldn’t be the only contributor to the win on that spooky night, but he certainly was the headliner in the battle of the horses. Dickerson would only see 21 touches on the night (all rushing attempts) but his efficiency was indisputable: he was gaining 7.6 yards per attempt, so you could virtually give him the rock every play and you’d score every drive whilst never reaching a 3rd down. Thus the Eric Dickerson, Halloween game was born.

Indianapolis is hoping to have an incredible game like this against the Steelers this coming Monday.