Two of the NFL's most storied franchises resume a rivalry that spans but 14 total meetings over a half century as the Indianapolis Colts, 6-5, host the Dallas Cowboys, 3-8, on Sunday, December 5. Kickoff in Lucas Oil Stadium is 4:15 p.m. (EST)/3:15 p.m. (CST) in a contest telecast by FOX Sports. Sports USA provides national radio coverage.
The clubs first met during the inaugural 1960 season of Dallas. The first post-Merger clash was Super Bowl V, and the teams have met six times during the Colts' 27 years in Indianapolis. Dallas owns an overall series edge of 8-6, and the teams have not met since 2006. Sunday's contest will close NFC action for the Colts during 2010 regular-season play. Indianapolis bested the New York Giants (38-14; 9/19) and Washington (27-24; 10/17), but fell to Philadelphia (26-24; 11/7). The Colts are 27-8 against the NFC since the 2002 Realignment. Dallas is 1-2 against the AFC South with a victory over Houston (27-13; 9/26) and losses to Tennessee (34-27; 10/10) and Jacksonville (35-17, 10/31). Indianapolis reaches Sunday's contest after a 36-14 home loss last week to San Diego.Dallas dropped a dramatic 30-27 home decision to New Orleans on Thanksgiving Day.
The Colts are owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (134-53) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn 10 playoff appearances in the last eleven seasons, including a league-best eight consecutive post-season berths. Indianapolis has won 79 of its last 100 regular-season games. The Colts own a 104-34 record (counting the playoffs) since the start of the 2003 season and are 90-29 since 2004. From November, 2003 to December, 2009, the Colts produced a regular-season record of 81-19, tying New England (2003-09) for the NFL's best 100-game regular-season mark. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 39-12 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 120 of 148 weeks of the division's existence. The Colts won five AFC South championships from 2003-07, the best divisional-title streak in club history. The Colts were wire-to-wire divisional leaders during the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons. The club's nine playoff berths in the 2000-09 decade tied the NFL record set by Dallas (9) in the 1970s. Indianapolis is the only team since 2002 Realignment to earn annual double-digit victory totals and playoff berths. From 2008-09, the Colts set an NFL record with 23 consecutive regular-season victories (21, New England, 2006-08). The streak was the sixth 10 -game regular-season winning streak in franchise history (23, 2008-09; 13, 2005; 11, 1964; 11, 1975-76; 11, 1999; 10, 2005-06), the fourth since 1999. Indianapolis extended its NFL record as the only franchise to win seven or more consecutive regular-season games in six consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009). Additionally, the Colts posted their eighth consecutive 10 -victory season, setting the 2nd-longest such streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98). Indianapolis earned its seventh consecutive season with 11 victories, surpassing the NFL record it had shared with Dallas (6, 1976-81). The Colts extended their league mark to seven consecutive seasons (2003-09)with 12 victories. The Colts produced 115 victories for the 2000-09 decade, surpassing the league record of 113 by San Francisco from 1990-99.
PERSONNEL REPORT: DB-Bob Sanders (biceps), WR-Austin Collie (concussion) were out; RB-Joseph Addai (neck) was doubtful; LB-Gary Brackett (toe), TE-Brody Eldridge (rib), RB-Mike Hart (ankle), RB-Javarris James (knee), LB-Clint Session (elbow), DB-Justin Tryon (foot), WR-Reggie Wayne (knee) were questionable for the last game. Deactivated players for the last game were Tryon, Eldridge, OG-Jaimie Thomas, Collie, Addai, Session, Brackett and Sanders.
TELEVISION/RADIO: FOX Sports telecasts with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver (field reporter). 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolfordand Kevin Lee (field reporter). Sports USA broadcasts nationally with Larry Kahn, John Robinson and Troy West (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis visits Tennessee on Thursday, December 9 at 8:20 p.m. (EST).
WWW.COLTS.COM: Please check the official website of the Indianapolis Colts for the latest in team information and merchandise.
* JIM CALDWELL* was named head coach of the Colts on January 13, 2009, and this marks his ninth season with Indianapolis. Caldwell joined the club in 2002 as quarterbacks coach before adding the title of assistant head coach prior to the 2005 season. Caldwell was promoted to associate head coach with the club prior to the 2008 season. From 2002-09, Caldwell has been a part of Colts teams that produced 10-6, 12-4, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4, 13-3, 12-4 and 14-2 records. Indianapolis is the only team to earn 12 victories in seven consecutive seasons, setting the NFL's all-time standard. Indianapolis has had eight consecutive 10 -victory seasons, setting the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81), and the Colts have surpassed Dallas (1976-81) as the only franchise to earn at least eleven victories in seven consecutive seasons. The Colts also have earned an NFL-best eight consecutive playoff appearances, and Indianapolis is the only team to post double-digit victory seasons and playoff berths each season since the 2002 realignment. From 2008-09, Indianapolis set the NFL record with 23 consecutive regular-season victories (21 New England, 2006-08). Indianapolis also won 115 regular-season games from 2000-09, the most by a team in a decade in NFL history. From 2004-09, Indianapolis became the only NFL team to win at least seven consecutive games in six consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009). In 2009, Caldwell became the 5th NFL rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl. Caldwell joined Chuck Knox (L.A. Rams, 1973), Red Miller (Denver, 1977), Mike Martz (St. Louis, 2000) and Josh McDaniels (Denver, 2009) as the only rookie head coaches in the Super Bowl era to start 6-0. He became the fourth coach ever to start 6-0 when succeeding a head coach who won 100 games (Blanton Collier, Cleveland, 1963, succeeded Paul Brown, 111 wins; Jack Pardee, Washington, 1978, succeeded George Allen, 116 wins; Josh McDaniels, Denver, 2009, succeeded Mike Shanahan, 146 wins; Caldwell, Colts, 2009, succeeded Tony Dungy, 139 wins). Caldwell joined the Colts after serving as quarterbacks coach with Tampa Bay in 2001. Caldwell has more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience. He spent 1993-2000 as head coach at Wake Forest. He served as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois (1978-80), Northwestern (1981), Colorado (1982-84), Louisville (1985) and Penn State (1986-92). Caldwell has coached in six bowl games and won a national championship with Penn State in 1986. In addition to serving on Joe Paterno's title staff, Caldwell tutored under three other coaches who won collegiate crowns (Rey Dempsey, Southern Illinois; Bill McCartney, Colorado; Howard Schnellenberger, Louisville). Caldwell was a four-year starter at defensive back at Iowa and worked as a graduate assistant for Iowa in 1977. He holds a bachelor's degree from Iowa. Caldwell was born on January 16, 1955 in Beloit, Wis.
JASON GARRETT was named interim head coach of Dallas on November 8, 2010. Garrett spent the previous three seasons as offensive coordinator and the past two and a half seasons with the additional title of assistant head coach with Dallas. Under Garrett's tutelage, eight Cowboys players have earned Pro Bowl trips. Prior to Dallas, Garrett coached quarterbacks at Miami 2005-06. Garrett's playing career as a QB was with Dallas 1993-99, the New York Giants 2000-03, Tampa Bay 2004 and Miami 2004. He was a member of three Super Bowl champions with Dallas, and he went to the Super Bowl with the Giants. Garrett was an assistant at Princeton 1990, then played in the CFL (Ottawa) and World League (San Antonio). Garrett played QB at Princeton 1987-88. He is a native of Abington, Pa.
COLTS/COWBOYS SERIES NOTES
The Colts and Cowboys regular-season series spans 13 games, with the Cowboys owning an 8-5 advantage, and the Colts own the only post-season series outcome. The teams last met on November 19, 2006 in Texas Stadium. Scoring all of its points in the second half, Dallas topped the Colts, 21-14, halting a 9-0 start to the season for Indianapolis. Dallas intercepted QB-Peyton Manning (20-39-254, 2 TDs/ints.) on the club's first second-half possession, and LB-Kevin Burnett's 39t return tied the contest early. Dallas put an end to the club's perfect seasonal start with 68- and 80-yard TD fourth-quarter drives that ended with 5t and 1t rushes by RB-Marion Barber. Manning's two scoring tosses (23t to WR-Reggie Wayne; 4t to TE-Dallas Clark) accounted for the club's tallies. Indianapolis reached the Dallas eight-yard line late in the contest before the Cowboys held on downs. The Dallas win stopped a three-game series winning streak by the Colts. The last series meeting in Indianapolis was on November 17, 2002 in the RCA Dome. A 17-point fourth-quarter burst, spurred by a defense that produced five sacks and limited Dallas to 178 yards, plus the passing tandem of Manning (29-38-252, 2 TDs/1 int.) and WR-Marvin Harrison (14-138, 2 TDs; 31t, 1t), propelled the Colts to a 20-3 win. DE-Dwight Freeney had two sacks and one forced fumble. Manning teamed with Harrison on two late scoring tosses, after K-Mike Vanderjagt had given the club a 6-3 lead. Harrison produced his 33rd 100 game, surpassed 600 career receptions in an NFL-record 102 games and broke the club record of WR-Raymond Berry (68) with his 69th and 70th career touchdown receptions (Berry's mark had stood since 1967). RB-Edgerrin James was 24-106 rushing. The teams met on October 31, 1999 in Indianapolis, as the Colts captured a 34-24 comeback win. The Colts rallied from a 17-3 second-quarter deficit, producing 28 of the game's final 35 points, including a 13-0 fourth-quarter burst, to notch the win. Manning was 22-34-313, 1 TD, teaming with Harrison (6-85, 1 TD) on a 40t strike on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Colts the lead. RB-Emmitt Smith (22-93, 2 TDs rushing, 2t and 4t) and James (27-117, 1 TD rushing, 1t/7-92 receiving) starred in the contest. QB-Troy Aikman was 19-24-159, but was sacked 4-27, twice by DE-Chad Bratzke, before leaving the game. Vanderjagt booted four field goals. James produced the 11th 80/80 rushing/receiving game and the 2nd 200 scrimmage yards game by a rookie in club history. These teams met in a thriller on September 15, 1996. The game was decided at the final gun as K-Chris Boniol's 57-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar as the Colts prevailed at Texas Stadium, 25-24. The Colts rallied from a 21-6 second-quarter deficit to post the win. K-Cary Blanchard booted field goals of 23, 25, 52 and 43 yards. Aikman was 17-27-184, 1 TD, while Smith was 26-101, 1 TD. Aikman hit TE-Daryl Johnston on a 5t pass, while Smith tallied on a 2t rush and DB-Deion Sanders had a 22t fumble return to stake Dallas to its early lead. QB-Jim Harbaugh was 19-28-244, 2 TDs/1 int. Harbaugh connected with TEs-Marcus Pollard (48t) and Ken Dilger (8t) on third-quarter scoring passes to give Indy a 22-21 lead. Boniol hit a 52-yard field goal early in the final quarter, and the lead held until Blanchard's last-minute boot. Dallas earned a 27-3 win on October 10, 1993 in Indianapolis. The series began in Dallas' inaugural season in 1960, however, the most memorable meeting between the clubs came on January 17, 1971 in Super Bowl V, as the Colts claimed their third championship with a 16-13 win in the Orange Bowl. K-Jim O'Brien's 32-yard field goal with :05 left capped a title tilt that featured eleven turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
COLTS ARE NFL'S WINNINGEST TEAM FROM 1999-2010: The Colts stand as the NFL's winningest team since the start of the 1999 season. The Colts own a 134-53 record during that span.