No. 44: 1968 Baltimore Colts
Head coach: Don Shula
Regular season record: 13-1 (first place, NFL Coastal Division)
Postseason results: Defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the Western Conference Championship Game (24-14); defeated the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game (34-0); lost to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III (16-7)
Pro Bowlers: Defensive back Bobby Boyd, linebacker Mike Curtis, tight end John Mackey, running back Tom Matte, defensive tackle Fred Miller, quarterback Earl Morrall, wide receiver Willie Richardson, tight end Bob Vogel
First-Team All-Pros: Defensive back Bobby Boyd, linebacker Mike Curtis, tight end John Mackey, quarterback Earl Morrall
NFL Most Valuable Player: Quarterback Earl Morrall
Storyline: With future Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas suffering a season-ending injury during preseason play, the 1968 Colts, led by another future Hall of Famer in head coach Don Shula, would turn to Earl Morrall to lead the offense – and Baltimore wouldn’t look back from there. Led by Morrall, who would be named league MVP that year, the Colts easily won their first five games, then fell to the Browns, 30-20, in Week 6, before reeling off 10 straight wins including postseason play; in the NFL Championship Game, the Colts were sure to exact revenge on the Browns, shutting them out 34-0 at Memorial Stadium. Baltimore was heavily favored in Super Bowl III over the AFL’s Jets, but New York’s popular young quarterback, Joe Namath, guaranteed victory three days before the game, and he would make good on his words at the Orange Bowl on Jan. 12, 1969, as the Colts would fall 16-7 in one of the biggest upsets in American sports history.