1976 Baltimore Colts season

1976 Baltimore Colts season
Head coach Ted Marchibroda
General manager Joe Thomas
Owner Robert Irsay
Home field Memorial Stadium
Results
Record 11–3
Division place T-1st AFC East
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Steelers) 14–40
Pro Bowlers T George Kunz
QB Bert Jones
WR Roger Carr
RB Lydell Mitchell
DE John Dutton
K Toni Linhart

The 1976 Baltimore Colts season was the 24th season for the team in the National Football League. Led by second-year head coach Ted Marchibroda, the Colts finished with a record of 11 wins and 3 losses, tied for first in the AFC East division with the New England Patriots.[1] Baltimore won the AFC East title based on a better division record (7–1 to Patriots' 6–2).

Marchibroda, the reigning NFL coach of the year, resigned a week before the regular season opener, due to a power struggle with general manager Joe Thomas and owner Robert Irsay.[2] Baltimore had won its first two preseason games, then dropped the final four.[2] Several Colts assistant coaches threatened to leave the team, and quarterback Bert Jones publicly came to his coach’s defense.[3] Thomas and Irsay quickly made amends with the coach before the season started.[4][5][6][7] (Thomas would be fired by the team shortly after the season.)

The Colts offense was dominant in 1976: they led the league in scoring with 417 points (29.7 per game). Jones was named league MVP after passing for a league-best 3,104 yards, 9.27 yards-per-attempt, and a passer rating of 102.5, second best in the NFL. Running back Lydell Mitchell also had a spectactular year, rushing for 1,200 yards,[8] and catching 60 passes. Wide receiver Roger Carr proved to be a valuable deep threat in the passing game, leading the league 1,112 receiving yards and 25.9 yards per reception.[9] All three offensive players made the Pro Bowl team.

Personnel

Staff/Coaches

Final roster

Regular season

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game Site Attendance
1 September 12 at New England Patriots W 27–13 1–0 Schaefer Stadium
43,512
2 September 19 Cincinnati Bengals W 28–27 2–0 Memorial Stadium
50,374
3 September 26 at Dallas Cowboys L 27–30 2–1 Texas Stadium
64,237
4 October 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 42–17 3–1 Memorial Stadium
40,053
5 October 10 Miami Dolphins W 28–14 4–1 Memorial Stadium
58,832
6 October 17 at Buffalo Bills W 31–13 5–1 Rich Stadium
71,009
7 October 24 at New York Jets W 20–0 6–1 Shea Stadium
59,576
8 November 1 Houston Oilers W 38–14 7–1 Memorial Stadium
60,020
9 November 7 at San Diego Chargers W 37–21 8–1 San Diego Stadium
42,827
10 November 14 New England Patriots L 14–21 8–2 Memorial Stadium
58,226
11 November 22 at Miami Dolphins W 17–16 9–2 Orange Bowl
62,104
12 November 28 New York Jets W 33–16 10–2 Memorial Stadium
44,023
13 December 4 at St. Louis Cardinals L 17–24 10–3 Busch Memorial Stadium
48,282
14 December 12 Buffalo Bills W 58–20 11–3 Memorial Stadium
50,451

Game summaries

1 2 3 4 Total
β€’ Colts 3 14 0 14 31
Bills 3 10 0 0 13

[10]

Standings

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Baltimore Colts(2) 11 3 0 .786 7–1 11–1 417 246 W1
New England Patriots(4) 11 3 0 .786 6–2 10–2 376 236 W6
Miami Dolphins 6 8 0 .429 5–3 6–6 263 264 L1
New York Jets 3 11 0 .214 2–6 3–9 169 383 L4
Buffalo Bills 2 12 0 .143 0–8 2–10 245 363 L10

Postseason

The team returned to the playoffs as a No. 2 seed and hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round. The Colts fell behind 26–7 at the half, and lost 40–14.[11] This game is better remembered for the post-game crash of a private plane into an unoccupied section of Memorial Stadium.[12][13][14][15]

Round Date Opponent (seed) Result Venue Attendance
Divisional December 19 Pittsburgh Steelers (3) L 14–40 Memorial Stadium
60,020

See also

References

  1. ^ "A romp in Baltimore sets up playoff scene". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 13, 1976. p. 18.
  2. ^ a b "Marchibroda quits Colts". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. September 6, 1976. p. 1, part 2.
  3. ^ "Colts claim front office ruined team". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. September 7, 1976. p. 1, part 2.
  4. ^ "Marchibroda back; Colts' standoff over". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 8, 1976. p. 23.
  5. ^ "Marchibroda is back with Colts". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. September 8, 1976. p. 1, part 2.
  6. ^ Lea, Bud (September 8, 1976). "Irsay bows to pressure". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  7. ^ Neft, David S.; Cohen, Richard M.; and Korch, Rich The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Football, 12th Edition, p.306, Martin’s Press, August 1994, ISBN 0-312-11073-1
  8. ^ fourth-best in the NFL, second-best in the NFC behind O.J. Simpson
  9. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1976 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards
  10. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  11. ^ "Pittsburgh's easy victory averts tragedy". Milwaukee Journal. press dispatches. December 20, 1976. p. 13, part 2.
  12. ^ "A year in sports". Sports Illustrated. (photo). February 17, 1977. p. 47.
  13. ^ "Rout was a blessing when plane crashed". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). UPI. December 20, 1976. p. 1B.
  14. ^ "Touch Down". Milwaukee Journal. (Washington Star Service). December 20, 1976. p. 13, part 2.
  15. ^ "Small plane crashes into stand minutes after 60,000 leave". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. December 20, 1976. p. 1.

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