DATE: Sunday, December 28, 2008
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. (EST)/12:00 p.m. (CST)
The Colts earned their seventh consecutive playoff berth, and a ninth such accomplishment in the past 10 seasons, with a 31-24 victory last Thursday at Jacksonville. The victory secured a playoff spot, as the club joined Tennessee as post-season representatives from the AFC South. The Colts notched their eighth consecutive victory, along with producing eleven-plus victories for the sixth consecutive year. The Colts (2003-07) joined Dallas (1976-81) as the only teams to record six consecutive seasons with at least eleven victories. Indianapolis is the only NFL team to earn 12 victories in five consecutive seasons, and the club hopes to extend that record this Sunday. Tennessee clinched the AFC's top playoff seed with a 31-14 home win last Sunday over Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis has produced its seventh consecutive playoff appearance under Head Coach Tony Dungy. The victory last Thursday allowed Dungy to guide his 10th consecutive team to the playoffs (1999-01, Tampa Bay; 2002-08, Colts), a mark that sets the post-Merger NFL record for most consecutive playoff appearances by a head coach (9, Tom Landry, Dallas, 1975-83). Overall, Dungy has guided eleven of his 13 teams to playoff appearances. The Colts have extended their streak of double-digit victory seasons to seven, a streak spanning Dungy's tenure in Indianapolis. The club's streak of seven consecutive double-digit victory seasons ties the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81). Indianapolis produced its eighth consecutive victory last week, making the franchise the only one in NFL history to win seven or more consecutive regular-season games in five consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 8, 2008).
Owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (113-46) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn nine playoff appearances in the last 10 seasons, Indianapolis has won 58 of its last 72 regular-season games. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 31-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 95 of 118 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.
PERSONNEL REPORT: LB-Gary Brackett (fibula), WR-Marvin Harrison (knee) were out; RB-Joseph Addai (shoulder), DB-Antoine Bethea (ankle), TE-Dallas Clark (hip), DE-Dwight Freeney (foot), LB-Tyjuan Hagler (knee), OT-Charlie Johnson (shin), LB-Freddy Keiaho (shoulder), DB-Bob Sanders (knee), C-Jeff Saturday (calf), RB-Chad Simpson (ankle), OT-Tony Ugoh (knee) were questionable. Last game's inactive players were: RB-Najeh Davenport, LB-Rufus Alexander, DT-Eric Foster, DE-Charles Johnson, DE-Marcus Howard, DB-Jamie Silva, Brackett and Harrison.
TELEVISION/RADIO: The CBS Sports telecasts with the crew to be determined. 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey and Will Wolford.
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis plays in the Wild Card Playoffs against the AFC's fourth-seeded team. Kickoff day and time is to be determined.
**WWW.COLTS.COM**: Please check the official website of the Indianapolis Colts for the latest in team information and merchandise.
TONY DUNGY is 84-27 at the Colts' helm. Dungy joined the Colts on January 22, 2002, after serving as Tampa Bay's head coach for six seasons (1996-01). Dungy's career regular-season record is 138-69, and he has an overall record of 147-78. Dungy became the 35th coach in NFL history to earn 100 career victories with a 38-20 win at Houston on 10/23/05. Dungy became the 20th coach since entering the league in 1970 to win 100 career games. Of those 20, only George Seifert (132), Joe Gibbs (148), Mike Ditka (151), Mike Holmgren (160) and Mike Shanahan (161) reached 100 career wins faster than Dungy's pace of 163 games. Dungy recorded his 100th regular-season victory vs. Tennessee 12/4/05, becoming only the 6th coach to win 100 regular-season games in the first 10 years as a head coach (113, Seifert; 105, Don Shula; 103, John Madden; 102, Dungy; 101, Gibbs; 101, Ditka).
Dungy coached his 200th regular-season game on 11/2/08, and the 24-20 victory over New England was his 131st, the third-highest total by any NFL head coach over the first 200 regular-season career games (147, Shula; 131, George Halas). With an overall mark of 91-32, Dungy became the winningest coach in Colts history with a 31-7 win at Carolina on 10/28/07, bettering the prior total of 73 by Shula and Ted Marchibroda. Dungy owns a 114-45 mark since the start of the 1999 season (30-18 at Tampa Bay; 84-27 with Colts), and he is the NFL's winningest coach during that span. He has directed eleven of his 13 teams into the playoffs, while leading Tampa Bay (1999) and the Colts (2003, 2006) to the conference championship game, and his 2006 Colts squad won Super Bowl XLI. Dungy took Tampa Bay to four playoff appearances during his tenure as field general. From 2002-08, Dungy has directed the Colts to 10-6, 12-4, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4, 13-3 and 11-4 records, becoming the only coach in club history to produce 10 victories and playoff appearances in the first seven seasons with the team. In 2008, Dungy helped produce the 18th 10 -victory season in franchise history, and he is one of five Colts head coaches to earn double-digit victory totals (7, Dungy; 4, Shula; 3, Marchibroda; 2, Don McCafferty; 2, Jim Mora). Dungy has 10 career double-digit victory seasons (10-6, 1997; 11-5, 1999; 10-6, 2000 with Tampa Bay; 10-6, 2002; 12-4, 2003; 12-4, 2004; 14-2, 2005; 12-4, 2006; 13-3, 2007; 11-4, 2008 with Colts), and he was the first coach to defeat all 32 NFL teams. Under Dungy, Indianapolis has seven consecutive 10 -victory seasons (2002-08), tying the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81). The Colts join Dallas (6, 1976-81) as the only franchises to earn at least eleven victories in six consecutive seasons. The Colts have produced a 113-46 regular-season record since 1999, a victory total that leads the NFL. The Colts are the only team to qualify for post-season play nine times in the last 10 seasons. Indianapolis won five consecutive AFC South titles from 2003-07, and has owned or shared the division lead in 95 of 118 weeks of AFC South existence. The Colts were wire-to-wire divisional leaders from 2005-07. Under Dungy during the regular season, the Colts are 43-12 at home and 41-15 on the road. Dungy (1999-08) has earned 10 consecutive playoff appearances (1999-01 at Tampa Bay; 2002-08 with Colts), surpassing Tom Landry (9, Dallas, 1975-83) for the most consecutive playoff appearances by NFL coaches since 1970. Indianapolis (14-2, 2005; 12-4, 2003, 2004 and 2006; 13-3, 2007) is the only team to earn 12 victories in five consecutive seasons, snapping the league mark it had shared with Dallas (1992-95). In 2008, Indianapolis became the only NFL team to win at least seven consecutive games in five consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 8, 2008). The Colts own an 81-25 record (counting the playoffs) since the start of the 2003 season and are 67-20 since 2004. Dungy held a 54-42 record as head coach with Tampa Bay, qualifying for the playoffs four times in six seasons. Dungy produced some of the NFL's stingiest defenses during his years at Tampa Bay. His units ranked no lower than 11th during his stay and ranked 6th or higher in four of his last five years. His 2007 Colts unit ranked 3rd in the NFL and 1st in scoring defense. Dungy also served 1981-88 with Pittsburgh, including 1984-88 as defensive coordinator. After serving 1989-91 as DB Coach at Kansas City, Dungy was the defensive coordinator at Minnesota from 1992-95. During his years in Minnesota, the Vikings intercepted an NFL-high 95 passes and made three playoff appearances. The Chiefs made two playoff appearances during Dungy's tenure. At Pittsburgh in 1984, he became the NFL's youngest coordinator (age 28). In five seasons as Pittsburgh's coordinator, the Steelers averaged 24 interceptions and 37 takeaways, while scoring 20 touchdowns. Dungy entered the coaching ranks in 1980 at his alma mater, Minnesota, where he was a quarterback (1973-76). He made the Steelers as a free agent in 1977 and was a member of the Super Bowl XIII title team, then was traded to San Francisco in 1979. Dungy is a native of Jackson, Mich.
JEFF FISHER became the 15th head coach in franchise history on January 5, 1995. Fisher was elevated to head coach-defensive coordinator on November 14, 1994 and guided the 1-9 squad through the final six games of the season. His 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2006 teams made the playoffs. His 2008 team won the AFC South. The Titans advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV following the 1999 season, dropping a 23-16 decision to St. Louis. Fisher joined the team as defensive coordinator for the 1994 season, after serving 1992-93 as DB Coach at San Francisco. He was defensive coordinator with the L.A. Rams in 1991. He served 1986-90 at Philadelphia, the final two years as coordinator. Fisher was a D7-81 pick of Chicago, playing 1981-85 as DB/KR. Fisher was a DB at USC 1977-80. He is a native of Culver City, Calif.
COLTS/TITANS SERIES NOTES
The Colts lead the regular-season series, 15-12. The clubs met on October 27 in Nashville, as Tennessee overcame an eight-point second-half deficit by scoring 25 consecutive points to top Indianapolis, 31-21. The Colts and Titans battled to a 7-6 halftime count before the Colts took a 14-6 lead early in the second half. Tennessee countered by scoring on four consecutive possessions to gain the victory. QB-Kerry Collins was 24-37-193, while the Titans rushed for three scores. DB-Chris Hope had two interceptions for the game's only takeaways. QB-Peyton Manning was 26-41-223, 2 TDs/ints. Indianapolis out-rushed Tennessee, 94-88, but the Titans controlled the ball for 34 minutes. The clubs split the meetings during the 2007 season, with each winning on the road. On last December 30, in a game void of playoff significance for Indianapolis, the Colts dropped a 16-10 decision to Tennessee. Missing five starters and playing front-liners mostly through the first half, the Colts battled Tennessee, needing a win to gain a playoff berth, to a 10-10 tie through three quarters before falling. K-Rob Bironas scored the game's final nine points on field goals of 40, 54 and 33 yards to gain the win. The contest was the last regular-season game in the RCA Dome. In the season's first meeting on September 16 in LP Field, the Colts took the lead midway through the opening period and never trailed in a contest that was not decided until the final seconds. The Colts topped Tennessee, 22-20. Indianapolis posted a 6-0 first-quarter lead and grew the margin to 19-6 in the second half before a final defensive stand as the clock expired spelled victory. Manning (28-42-312, 1 TD/int.) directed the club to 381 net yards behind a trio of receivers and a productive running game. WRs-Marvin Harrison (6-87) and Reggie Wayne (5-70) and TE-Dallas Clark (7-69, 1 TD; 22t) had solid days, along with RB-Joseph Addai (20-81, 1 TD; 8t). The Indianapolis defense produced three sacks and two takeaways, led by DB-Bob Sanders (2.5 sacks). QB-Vince Young was 17-27-184, 1 TD. The teams split the series in 2006, with each club winning at home. Indianapolis triumphed on October 8, 14-13, and the Titans posted a 20-17 last-minute win on December 3. The Colts swept Tennessee in 2005, winning 31-10 in Nashville on October 2 and 35-3 in the RCA Dome on December 4. The Colts swept Tennessee in 2004. Indianapolis won, 31-17, in Nashville on September 19, then took a 51-24 decision at home on December 5. Indianapolis took both meetings in 2003. The Colts won at home on September 14, 33-7, then posted a 29-27 win in Nashville on December 7. The sweep by the Colts reversed Tennessee's sweep in 2002. The Titans won in Indianapolis, 23-15, and held service at home, 27-17. Tennessee owns the only playoff encounter between the clubs, earning a 19-16 win in Indianapolis on January 16, 2000 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
BEST NFL RECORDS DURING 1999-2008 REGULAR SEASONS
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 113-46 record during that span. Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy was 30-18 with Tampa Bay from 1999-2001. He is 84-27 with the Colts, and his 114 wins during that span are the most in the NFL.