KRAVITZ: Picking the Indianapolis Colts' top 10 moments on their 35th Indy anniversary

Peyton Manning holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLI.
Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Thirty-five is kind of a weird year to celebrate an anniversary. Like, I'm closing in on 29 years of marriage to my wife, but counter to her insistent claims, the 29th is not the diamond anniversary. (For the record, she has insisted that the previous 28 anniversaries all were diamond anniversaries. She should be forewarned: To the extent that there's any gift associated with the 29th, it's furniture).

That's right, furniture.

So enjoy the new end tables.

Anyway, I digress. The Indianapolis Colts are heading into this season celebrating their 35th season in Indianapolis, and they're using the occasion to choose the 35 greatest moments in the team's Indy history. The team has come up with 53 moments, both on the field and off, and eventually online fan voting with determined the top 35, which will be announced each week during the upcoming regular season. Our job, as media, is to offer up our final 10 nominees.

Now, I didn't arrive in Indianapolis – no Mayflower moving vans were involved – until 2000, so I lack some institutional knowledge when it comes to pre-2000 moments like the trade for Eric Dickerson, etc. That said, there weren't a whole lot of pre-2000 moments. This franchise was an also-ran through the best part of their first 16 seasons in Indianapolis. So what I'm saying is, I didn't miss much. But I'm not completely ignorant to the Colts pre-2000 history, so I feel like I've given it its just due.

Without further ado, my top 10 Indianapolis Colts moments:

1: Marlin Jackson intercepts Tom Brady to win the AFC Championship game and send the Colts to their first of two Super Bowls while in Indianapolis. I don't need to tell you the history of the Colts and Patriots. This wasn't just a victory; it was an exorcism. The sound I heard that day at the Dome was unlike anything I'd ever heard, and have heard since.

2: Colts win the Super Bowl by beating the Chicago Bears. I know it sounds crazy, but virtually every player and coach from that glorious 2006 season will tell you that beating the Patriots was the forever moment, and knocking off the Bears in the Miami rain was something of an afterthought. Still, it was Indy's first and only Super Bowl championship.

3: Colts move to Indianapolis in 1984. Without the Mayflower moving fans and Mayor Hudnut and all the other movers and shakers who made this happen, none of these aforementioned moments would have happened. Yes, we (sort-of) stole the Colts from Baltimore, but after 35 years, it seems to me the guilt (and Baltimore anger) should have dissipated by now.

4: Colts' 1995 miracle run ends when Aaron Bailey fails to hold on to a Jim Harbaugh Hail Mary in the final seconds of the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh. The wildcard Colts came from nowhere that season, knocking off San Diego and Kansas City before facing the Steelers. It was the first truly thrilling moment in Indianapolis Colts history after several years of wandering the wastelands of mediocrity and far worse.

5: Colts draft Peyton Manning in 1998. All his selection did was set the Colts up for the winningest decade by any team in the 2000's. I can't wait for the Hall of Fame Selection Committee to get together a few years from now. OK, Peyton Manning…Right, first ballot…Let's get some lunch. He is, without question, among the top five quarterback who've ever lived, and you can make the argument for top three.

6: This was not on the list the Colts released and probably for good reason, but if you're talking about gigantic, franchise-altering moments, moments that left an entire city polarized, the decision to let Manning walk in May of 2012. Manning, who had undergone four neck surgeries, recovered and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos. The Colts, who drafted Andrew Luck, reached the post-season three times in three seasons before Luck's injuries changed everything. Even now, locals still debate whether it was the right move to make. You know my opinion; I felt from the beginning the Colts had to move on and embrace Luck.

7: Colts and city announce the construction of a new football (really, multi-purpose) stadium, which would eventually be known as Lucas Oil Stadium. At the time, owner Jim Irsay made no threats to leave Indianapolis – none – but everybody knew the score. Los Angeles was out there. No denying it. Truth is, Irsay wanted to stay in the Dome and rake in the dough from a very favorable deal negotiated by an earlier administration. But he was convinced to get on board once he saw the stadium plans, and as a result, the Colts not only got a new home, but a Super Bowl came here, to great fanfare and tremendous reviews.

8: I will never forget the Monday night when the Colts came back from 21 points down with 5 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in Tampa in October of 2003. Those were my writing-on-deadline days, and my column – everybody's column – was done. It was just a matter of sticking the final score in the copy, taking a deep breath and grabbing a relaxing post-game libation. But then Brad Pyatt happened (yes, he said Brad Pyatt). Then Marvin Harrison happened. Then Manning happened. Then the Bucs were called for leaping on a missed Mike Vanderjagt field-goal attempt. It was insane. Meanwhile, we all sat in the press box dying a million little deaths, hitting define/delete and starting anew, leaving maybe 10 minutes to capture the essence of one of football's all-time greatest comebacks. After I was done writing, I saw a Tampa Bay writer, and we both looked like we'd just run a marathon. "I should have gone to law school,'' he said.

9: Colts trade with Carolina for the services of General Manager Bill Polian. My relationship with the redhead was not, um, what's the word I'm looking for? – good – but there is no denying his role as the architect of a team that was the winningest franchise of the 2000's and reached two Super Bowls, winning one of them. The man was brilliant. Difficult, mind you, but brilliant.

10: This moment was not included on the more than 50 selections offered up by the Colts, but this one is a top-tenner for me: The day the Colts threw away a chance to finish off a perfect season by replacing Peyton Manning with Curtis Painter while leading the Jets at home 15-10. Just because it wasn't a good moment doesn't mean it wasn't an extraordinarily important moment, setting off one of the greatest media firestorms in franchise history.

There are so many moments from which to choose. The come-from-behind victory over Green Bay the week after Chuck Pagano began treatment for leukemia. The 1987 Eric Dickerson trade. The Vanderjagt miss after Nick Harper, who'd been stabbed by his wife the night before the game, was somehow tackled by Ben Roethlisberger in the open field. I could go on and on, good moments and bad, moments that altered the trajectory of the franchise.

Now it's your turn.

Tell me how wrong I am. Don't worry: I have a thick skin. That, and I'm never wrong.

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