The Indianapolis Colts’ logo history spans across two cities, from the team’s time in Baltimore from 1953-1983 to their current city, Indianapolis, in which they’ve played since 1984. Despite many fans believing the Colts have only worn the iconic horseshoe as their primary logo, the team has had a few historic logos that have acted as the primary.
This article will show you the classic primaries plus some alternates you may not know about.
Let’s dig into Indy’s incredible logo history.
When the Baltimore Colts were founded in 1953, their primary logo resembled that of the former Baltimore Colts franchise, which played from 1947 to 1950 in the AAFC and NFL before folding. the logo consisted of a colt leaping over a goal post while holding a football.
Unlike the green and silver logo of the original Colts, the new Colts utilized the colors blue and white – which was a holdover from the team’s days as the Dallas Texans, who played for a single season in 1952. While the Colts and Dallas Texans are considered to be separate entities, the remnants of the Texans were sold to the Colts, who themselves trace their history back to 1913 as the Dayton Triangles.
Related: Indianapolis Colts Uniform HIstory
So, the Colts’ initial primary logo was basically a hybrid between two ill-fated NFL teams.
In 1961, the team kept the leaping colt with the football but strapped a Colts helmet onto the creature rather than just a generic one. They also got rid of the goalposts and the ‘Baltimore Colts’ marking.
In 1979, the Colts utilized their helmet logo was the primary, which at the time was royal blue. This carried through the team’s move from Baltimore to Indianapolis prior to the 1984 NFL Season. And finally in 2004, updated the look to speed blue and the logo has been unchanged ever since.
Alternate Logo and Anniversary Logos
In 1963, the Colts unveiled an alternate logo that consisted of their primary logo within a diagonal, silver football which itself was surrounded by a royal blue circle. Within the blue portion, the words ‘Baltimore Colts’ were displayed in white.
On April 13th, 2020 the Colts unveiled their first alternate logo since 1963. This logo consists of a horseshoe turned onto its side in the shape of a ‘C,’ which of course represents ‘Colts.’
Seven grommets within the logo represent the team’s primary logo – which holds the same number of grommets. Finally, the State of Indiana is carved into the middle of the ‘C.’
Take a look at the new piece of art to your right.
The Colts have had a few anniversary logos to go with the alternate. The first came in 1993 to celebrate the team’s 10th-anniversary in Indianapolis. The second was in 2002, where the team celebrated 50 seasons since its founding – despite tracing its roots to the Triangles, the Colts are legally to have considered starting play in 1953 – also bearing no connection to the original Baltimore Colts.
While the horseshoe is one of the most iconic logos in football and one of my favorites, it’s a travesty the team has yet to revert to one of its two classic logos used in Baltimore. This may simply be due to the fact the logos have zero connection to the fans in Indianapolis, but unlike the Baltimore Ravens to the 1946-95 Cleveland Browns or the Tennessee Titans regarding the 1960-96 Oilers, there is a true connection between the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts – given zero changes to the franchise’s name (other than the city, obviously) and little change to the uniforms.
Related: Indianapolis Colts Helmet History
Coupled with the fact the Colts have now been in Indianapolis longer than they were in Baltimore, the team could get away with reviving the old logo and it’ll appeal to the fans in Indianapolis as much as it would’ve appealed to fans in Baltimore. Couple this fact that there’s hardly any nostalgia in Baltimore for the Colts due to the success of the Baltimore Ravens, the latter city’s fans would probably feel lesser animosity toward the Irsay family if they went this route.
After all, the Indianapolis Colts have only won one Super Bowl while the Baltimore Ravens have won two. And the City of Baltimore itself has won three – even if the Indianapolis Colts claim the victory.