Overall, the Indianapolis Colts jersey has held a very similar look since the team’s inception in 1953 as the Baltimore Colts, not to be confused with the original Baltimore Colts that were founded in 1947 and folded after 1950.
The team’s colors have almost always consisted of a shade of blue and white, along with silver at certain times as well.
When the team was founded in Baltimore, the jerseys consisted of a royal blue look with white Northwestern stripes at the sleeves and white numbering.
Come 1956, the team dropped the Northwestern stripes in favor of three similar-sized horizontal stripes with the same white, block numbering.
Related Article: Indianapolis Colts Helmet History
Come 1958, the team switched to shoulder stripes, familiar with what we see the team wearing today for both their home and road looks.
The home jersey was blue with white numbering while the road look was white with blue numbering, both block in nature, while the blue stripes arched the shoulders.
This look remained relatively unchanged throughout the next two and a half decades, except for a slight change to the numbering font, which became more blockish – a look that would hold until 2020.
The Colts introduced a new road jersey along with the color silver. While the home jersey remained unchanged, the team did wear silver pants with the home blues, necessitating a tweak to the team’s road look, adding silver between the two blue shoulder stripes.
This look remained when the team left Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984 and remained so until 1986.
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The team reverted their road jerseys back to their normal look following the 1986 season, leaving the look unchanged except in 1997, when the team added the horseshoe logo to the upper chest region for one season before scrapping it prior to 1998.
The Colts made a small tweak to both their home and road uniforms in 2002, when Reebok took over exclusive manufacturing for all thirty-two teams. The shoulder stripes, which the team had worn since 1958, were truncated due to an overwhelming request from all thirty-two teams for tighter-fitting jerseys to reduce the number of holding calls seen in the league.
This led to many teams shortening their stripes, but the Colts’ jerseys were by far the most recognizable at the time due to the location of their stripes as opposed to other teams.
Related: Indianapolis Colts Uniform History
The team switched from royal blue as their primary color to speed blue in 2004, a slightly darkened shade of royal blue.
In 2016, the Colts joined the league in their Color Rush campaign, but unlike most teams, their Color Rush jersey was exactly the same as their primaries, pairing the look with blue pants.
On April 13th, 2020 the Colts upgraded their jerseys slightly. The team’s new ‘C’ secondary logo now resides inside the jersey collar – a trend in the late-2010s and early-2020s. On the road uniform, the Colts introduced the color black for the first time in team history, with the color appearing on the Nike swoosh just above the sleeve number.
Take a closer look for yourself on the photo to the right. Also, if you look closely at the jersey, the numbering font has shifted back to the team’s heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. The font isn’t a huge difference but it’s less blocky than the numbering front shown from the 1970s to 2019. Overall, a decent change.
I like the team’s switch back to an older look and it would’ve been a ringer had they simply refrained from inserting black as a tertiary color – a look that I felt was long gone and forgotten among teams who never had the color in their scheme to begin with.
The Colts proved that wrong, and it takes away from what’s otherwise a timeless look. I can live with the change, but let’s hope that this is all the further black creeps onto the uniform and that the team does the right thing and switches the swoosh back to blue in five years. Something tells me that was a Nike move, and Nike thrives at screwing up traditional uniforms.
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Prior to 2002 Throwback – The color would be updated slightly in 2004.
2004-2019 Road Throwback
2020 Home Jersey – Notice the different numbering font and ‘C’ alternate logo.
2020 Road Jersey