DATE: Sunday, September 13, 2009
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. (EDT)
The Indianapolis Colts open their 57th National Football League season, their 26th in Indianapolis and their first under Head Coach Jim Caldwell on Sunday, September 13, when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kickoff for the contest, telecast regionally by CBS Sports, in Lucas Oil Stadium is 1:00 p.m. (EDT).
Indianapolis will be playing its first game under new Head Coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell succeeded Tony Dungy as field general this past January, and he is in his eighth season with the club. Caldwell earned titles of assistant head coach (2005) and associate head coach (2008) during his tenure with the club. Caldwell will direct Indianapolis in its second-ever season opener against Jacksonville. The clubs last met in an opener on September 8, 2002, the inaugural year for the AFC South, with the Colts winning, 28-25, at Jacksonville. That contest was Caldwell's first with the team. Indianapolis owns a 12-4 series edge against the Jaguars, with each team posting road wins in 2008. The Jaguars earned a 23-21 victory in Lucas Oil Stadium last September 21, before the Colts took a 31-24 verdict on December 18. Indianapolis is 6-2 as hosts against Jacksonville. Since 1953, the Colts own an opening day mark of 31-25, including a record of 15-16 against AFC clubs and 16-9 versus NFC clubs. The Colts are opening a season at home for the third consecutive year.
Owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (114-46) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn nine playoff appearances in the last 10 seasons, including a league-best seven consecutive post-season berths. Indianapolis has won 59 of its last 73 regular-season games. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 32-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 95 of 119 weeks of the division's existence. The Colts won five AFC South championships from 2003-07, the best divisional-title streak in club history. Indianapolis is the only NFL team to have double-digit victory totals and playoff appearances each season since the 2002 NFL Realignment. In 2008, Indianapolis produced its seventh consecutive 10 -victory season, tying the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81). Indianapolis extended it NFL record with a sixth consecutive season with 12 -victory season.
The Colts begin the 2009 season with 12 new players on the roster. The current roster breakdown of experience revealing the club with only four players exceeding 30 years of age, 30 players being 25 years of age and under and an average age of 25.9. The NFL experience of the roster finds 25 players with four or more years of service, while 28 of 53 active players with the club have three years experience or less. The average experience for a Colts player on the opening-day roster is 4.0 years. A total of 41 of 53 players on the active roster finished last season with the club, while 12 new players are on hand (six via the draft, four via free agency and two via trades or waivers). As of 9/13, the ages of Colts players are as follows: 22- 6; 23- 3; 24- 16; 25- 5; 26- 7; 27- 2; 28- 4; 29- 2; 30- 3; 31- 1; 32- 1; 33- 1; 34- 1; 36- 1. The roster composition reflects 33 draft picks, four players acquired via waivers/trades, one acquired via unrestricted free agency and 15 acquired via free agency (including 11 rookie free agents). A total of 50 of 53 active players have played a regular-season game only for the Colts. The players who have NFL experience other than with the Colts are DB-Aaron Francisco, DT-Daniel Muir and K-Adam Vinatieri.
TELEVISION/RADIO: CBS Sports telecasts with Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots. The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolford and Kevin Lee (field reporter). Sports USA provides national radio coverage with Larry Kahn, Ross Tucker and Troy West (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis visits Miami on Monday, September 21 at 8:30 p.m. (EDT).
**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 eighth 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. The club's offense has produced levels prolific enough during Caldwell's tenure to allow the club to earn an NFL-best seven consecutive playoff appearances. The club has earned 10 victories in seven consecutive seasons, tying the second-longest NFL streak, and the club's six consecutive 12 -victory seasons set the NFL's all-time standard. From 2004-08, Indianapolis became the only NFL team to earn winning streaks of at least seven games in five consecutive seasons. 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 hold a bachelor's degree from Iowa. Caldwell was born on January 16, 1955 in Beloit, Wis.
JACK DEL RIO became the second Jacksonville head coach on January 17, 2003. He has guided the Jaguars to 5-11, 9-7, 12-4, 8-8, 11-5 and 5-11 finishes. Del Rio joined Jacksonville after serving 2002 as defensive coordinator at Carolina. Del Rio started his NFL career as an assistant strength coach with New Orleans in 1997 before serving 1998 as LB Coach. He was LB Coach with Baltimore 1999-01 as the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. Del Rio had an eleven-year playing career with New Orleans (1985-86), Kansas City (1987-88), Dallas (1989-91) and Minnesota (1992-95). He played in the Pro Bowl following the 1994 season. Del Rio was a four-year starting LB at USC 1981-84, and was drafted by baseball's Toronto Blue Jays. Del Rio is a native of Castro Valley, Calif.
COLTS/JAGUARS SERIES NOTES
The Colts lead the league series, 12-4, with the rivalry standing 10-4 in Indianapolis' favor since the clubs were paired in the AFC South prior to the 2002 season. The teams split last year's outings. Jacksonville won in Lucas Oil Stadium on September 21, 23-21. Indianapolis prevailed at the Jaguars on December 18, 31-24. In the second meeting last year, erasing a 14-point deficit and two 10-point deficits with 17 fourth-quarter points, Indianapolis posted a playoff-clinching victory. The Colts earned their seventh consecutive playoff appearance, and their ninth in 10 seasons with the victory. DB-Keiwan Ratliff's 35t interception return with 4:48 left gave Indianapolis its only lead. QB-Peyton Manning's outstanding performance (29-34-364, 3 TDs) helped pace the Colts. WR-Reggie Wayne (7-108; 1 TD; 41t), TE-Dallas Clark (8-105, 1 TD; 1t) and RB-Dominic Rhodes (6-62, 1 TD; 10t) had scoring receptions, while the Colts defense produced three sacks. Manning set a club record by completing 23 consecutive passes (including six straight from the previous week), and his total fell one shy of QB-Donovan McNabb's NFL record (Philadelphia, 2004). It marked the club's fourth seasonal road win after trailing by 10 points, tying the NFL seasonal mark of Dallas (1983), and it was the third road win after trailing by 14 points, setting a new NFL seasonal record. Jacksonville took the first meeting last year, 23-21 in Indianapolis. In that contest, K-Josh Scobee converted field goals of 26, 21 and 51 yards, the final one coming with :04 remaining as Jacksonville prevailed. The Jaguars controlled the ball for 41:35 of the contest, including for 26 minutes of the second half. Jacksonville rushed 48-236 and totaled 403 yards. RBs-Fred Taylor (26-121) and Maurice Jones-Drew (19-107) paced the ground attack. Indianapolis had leads of 7-0, 14-10 and 21-20, with the final lead coming with 1:07 remaining on RB-Joseph Addai's (16-78, 2 TDs rushing) 2t burst. Manning was 15-29-216, 1 TD/2 ints. Scobee's game-winning boot capped a late 47-yard drive. The Colts took both 2007 meetings, 28-25 in the RCA Dome on December 2, and 29-7 in Jacksonville on October 22. In that year's second meeting, the Colts jumped to 14-0 and 21-7 leads before having their margin trimmed to 21-17 in the final quarter. Manning (20-29-288, 4 TDs/1 int.) tossed his final scoring pass to RB-Luke Lawton (1t) with 8:26 left to provide the eventual winning points. Manning teamed with Wayne (8-158, 1 TD) on a 48t strike, and he hit Clark (7-60, 2 TDs; 5t, 14t) on two scoring strikes to offset a Jacksonville offense that netted 27 first downs, 411 net yards and 168 rushing yards, while controlling the ball for 35:45. QB-David Garrard hit 24 of 29 passes as the Jaguars failed to punt. In the 29-7 win in first meeting of 2007, the Colts scored in the final minute of the first quarter and led the rest of the way. Indianapolis produced 384 net yards, including 141 yards on 33 rushes. Manning was 23-37-259, 1 TD/int., while Wayne was 9-131 and Clark was 4-66, 1 TD (35t). The Indianapolis defense surrendered 226 net yards. DE-Dwight Freeney had two sacks, two forced fumbles and a safety, while DBs-Bob Sanders and Kelvin Hayden had interceptions. Indianapolis took the first meeting in 2006, 21-14 in the RCA Dome on September 24, then dropped a 44-17 decision in Jacksonville on December 10. Indianapolis took both games in 2005, 10-3 in the RCA Dome on September 18 and 26-18 in Jacksonville on December 11. The series was split in 2003 and 2004. Indianapolis gained a 24-17 win in Jacksonville on October 3, 2004, then the Jaguars topped the Colts, 27-24, in the RCA Dome on October 24. The teams split the meetings in 2003, with each club winning at home (Colts, 23-13 in the RCA Dome on 9/21; Jacksonville, 28-23 in Alltel Stadium on 11/9). The teams met twice in 2002 as members of the new AFC South Division. Indianapolis took a 28-25 decision on September 8 at Jacksonville to open the season and a 20-13 win in the RCA Dome on December 29 to close the season. The two prior meetings came before the clubs were divisional foes. Indianapolis took a 41-31 road win on December 10, 1995, and a 43-14 MNF win in the RCA Dome on September 25, 2000.
COLTS ARE NFL'S WINNINGEST TEAM FROM 1999-2008: The Colts stand as the NFL's winningest team since the start of the 1999 season. The Colts own a 114-46 record during that span.