INDIANAPOLIS — The National Football League is celebrating its 100th year in 2019, and throughout the season has unveiled several "NFL 100 Greatest" countdowns. Tonight's countdown was the final "NFL 100 Greatest Teams" list, which featured the 1958 Baltimore Colts at No. 26.
We learned last week that four Colts teams — the 2006 (No. 37), 1968 (No. 44), 1970 (No. 72) and 2009 (No. 75) — made the initial cut, so now let's take a quick look at that historic 1958 squad:
No. 26: 1958 Baltimore Colts
Head coach: Weeb Ewbank
Regular season record: 9-3 (first place, NFL Western Division)
Postseason results: Defeated the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game, 23-17
Pro Bowlers: FB Alan Ameche, TE Raymond Berry, DL Don Joyce, DT Gene Lipscomb, DL Gino Marchetti, RB Lenny Moore, OL Jim Parker, QB Johnny Unitas
First-Team All-Pros: DT Gene Lipscomb, DL Gino Marchetti, RB Lenny Moore, OL Jim Parker, QB Johnny Unitas
Storyline: There's many reasons one could claim the 1958 Baltimore Colts as the greatest team in franchise history. Could it be the seven future Hall of Famers — Raymond Berry, Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker and Johnny Unitas and coach Weeb Ewbank — on the roster? Could it be the team's 6-0 record in home games? Could it be the Colts' 17-point average winning margin? What about its balanced offense with Johnny Unitas controlling the passing game and a rushing attack that averaged 177.3 yards on the ground? Or how about that dominant defense, which allowed just nine touchdown passes all season and logged an insane 35 interceptions? All of these factors made the 1958 Colts one of the greatest teams in NFL history, but the cherry on top, of course, is the team's thrilling overtime victory over the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game in a contest deemed "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Fullback Alan Ameche capped the Colts' final 13-play, 80-yard drive with his one-yard touchdown run to give Baltimore the 23-17 win in a game that, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, "captured the collective attention of the nation and as a result, pro football exploded across the country in the following years. By the mid-1960s, professional football became the nation's favorite sport to watch and has remained on top ever since."