’75-’83 Cowboys vs. ’02-’10 Colts

The Indianapolis Colts tied the Cowboys’ NFL record for most consecutive seasons to make the playoffs. Dallas had set the record from 1975 to 1983.

The team’s records during this time period were quite similar. During three of the years for the Cowboys, the league only played a 14-game season. And during the 1982 season, teams only played nine regular season games because of the strike. While the Colts have the edge in overall record, Dallas had a better playoff mark.

Incidentally, like the 1983 Cowboys, the 2010 Colts lost at home in the first round of the playoffs.

Below are the numbers.

Overall Record

Dallas: 98-33 (0.748)

Indianapolis: 109-35 (0.757)

Playoff Record

Dallas: 12-8

Indianapolis: 9-8

Super Bowl Appearances

Dallas 3

Indianapolis 2

Super Bowl Wins

Dallas 1

Indianapolis 1

Some Colts fans rightfully point out that Indianapolis accomplished all of this during the free agency period. On the other hand, fewer teams made the playoffs during the time that Dallas set the mark. Until 1978, only 4 teams per conference made the playoffs, and from after 1978, only 5 out of 14 teams made the playoffs. The Colts have played at a time when 6 out of 16 teams per conference make the playoffs.

I also think it’s a fair conclusion that NFC East during that time was generally stronger overall than the AFC South has been during the past nine seasons. During the time that Dallas continued to make the playoffs, the Redskins, Eagles, and Giants all became playoff teams; between 1978 and 1983, at least two teams in the NFC East made the playoffs.  The Eagles made a Super Bowl appearance in 1980, and the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1982. The Colts’ competition in the AFC South consists of the Titans (four playoff appearances in nine years with five non-winning seasons), the Jaguars (two playoff appearances and three winning seasons in nine years), and the Texans (one winning season since 2002 and no playoff appearances).

Anyway, here are the complete records.

Dallas Cowboys, 1975-1983

Off Rank Def Rank
Year Tm W L T Pts PtsO PtDif Pts Yds Pts Yds
1983 Dallas Cowboys* 12 4 0 479 360 119 2 5 20 17
1982 Dallas Cowboys* 6 3 0 226 145 81 5 5 3 11
1981 Dallas Cowboys* 12 4 0 367 277 90 6 5 7 20
1980 Dallas Cowboys* 12 4 0 454 311 143 1 9 13 17
1979 Dallas Cowboys* 11 5 0 371 313 58 5 2 12 8
1978 Dallas Cowboys* 12 4 0 384 208 176 1 2 3 2
1977 Dallas Cowboys* 12 2 0 345 212 133 2 1 8 1
1976 Dallas Cowboys* 11 3 0 296 194 102 10 4 5 7
1975 Dallas Cowboys* 10 4 0 350 268 82 8 3 9 5
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/11/2011.

Indianapolis Colts, 2002-2010

Off Rank Def Rank
Year Lg Tm W L T Pts PtsO PtDif Coaches Pts Yds Pts Yds
2010 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 10 6 0 435 388 47 Caldwell 4 4 23 20
2009 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 14 2 0 416 307 109 Caldwell 7 9 8 18
2008 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 12 4 0 377 298 79 Dungy 13 15 7 11
2007 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 13 3 0 450 262 188 Dungy 3 5 1 3
2006 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 12 4 0 427 360 67 Dungy 2 3 23 21
2005 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 14 2 0 439 247 192 Dungy 2 3 2 11
2004 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 12 4 0 522 351 171 Dungy 1 2 19 29
2003 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 12 4 0 447 336 111 Dungy 2 3 20 11
2002 NFL Indianapolis Colts* 10 6 0 349 313 36 Dungy 17 9 7 8
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/11/2011.
  • Had Dallas not missed the playoffs in 1974 and 1984, they would have had an amazing twenty year playoff run (not just a run of winning seasons) from 1966-1985. Alas, it was not to be . . .