New England Patriots: The history behind the rivalry with the Colts

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New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 26: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the recent events of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backing out of the Colts head coaching job last-second to stay with New England, the classic Patriots-Colts rivalry was revived after nearly three years of inactivity between the franchises.


On the morning after the news of Josh McDaniels’ decision broke to stay with the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard declared at a press conference that “the rivalry is back on.”

The history of these two teams battling it out dates back nearly five decades. Back when the Patriots were stationed in Boston and the Colts in Baltimore. The two teams first met in 1970, as new division rivals thanks to the AFL-NFL merger and the complete realignment of the league.

The first few meetings did not go well for the Patriots, however. Although the Colts were at the tail-end of their reign of dominance from the 50s and 60s, they were still the superior team to the Patriots in the early-70s. However, the Patriots began to grab some traction in the rivalry during the late-70s. Great players such as Steve Grogan and Mike Haynes really put the Patriots on the map.

In the 80s, there was a full-swing of momentum in the Patriots’ favor. It wasn’t even much of an intense rivalry since for the most part the Patriots would cruise right by them. This continued on for most of the 1990s as well. According to, from 1980-1999, the Patriots won 27 out of the total 39 matchups. Meaning the Colts walked away with only 12 victories.

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