See my opening monologue in this post.
In 1970 Johnny Unitas started 13 games, the Colts finished 11-2-1 and won the Super Bowl.
In 1971 Unitas and Earl Morrall split the starts, the Colts finished 10-4 and lost the AFC Conference Championship.
In 1972 Unitas and Marty Domres split the starts, and the Colts finished 5-9. They would drop even further in '73 and '74.
Tom Matte was the Colts’ 1st-round pick in 1961. He played 12 seasons (1961-72), all with the Colts, and was the starting halfback in ’63, ’67, ’68, ’69, and ’71. He was a 2-time Pro Bowl selection, and was First-Team All-Pro in 1969, leading the NFL with 11 rushing TDs.
Norm Bulaich was the Colts’ #1 pick in the 1970 draft. He was the starting fullback in his first 2 seasons, then missed 8 games in 1972. He played the next 2 seasons as the Eagles’ starting fullback, then finished his career with 5 seasons in Miami (1975-79).
Jim O’Brien was the Colts’ 3rd-round pick in 1970, and kicked for 3 seasons in Baltimore, including his last-second field goal that won Super Bowl V in his rookie season. He also started 8 games at wide receiver in 1972. He finished his career with the Lions in 1973.
Bubba Smith was the first-overall pick in the 1967 draft. After riding the bench in his rookie season, he was the Colts’ starting left end from 1968-71, making the Pro Bowl in the last 2 seasons. After missing 1972 with a knee injury, he started 25 games for the Raiders from 1973-74, then finished up as a backup with the Oilers in ’75 and ’76. I’m surprised to see he’s not in the Hall of Fame.
Ted Hendricks was selected by the Colts in the 2nd round of the 1969 draft. He started at outside linebacker from 1969-73, and was named to 3 Pro Bowls. After a season in Green Bay (1975 – Making First-Team All-Pro for the 2nd time), he played outside linebacker for the Raiders in his last 9 seasons, making the Pro Bowl again in his final 4 seasons. He was added to the Hall of Fame in 1990.
Jerry Logan was a 4th-round pick in 1963, and played strong safety for the Colts for his entire 10-year career (1963-72). He was a starter every season but his first, and made 3 Pro Bowls.
Rick Volk was the Colts’ 2nd-round pick in 1967, and was their starting free safety for his first 8 seasons. After playing part-time for the Colts in 1975, he finished up with the Giants and Dolphins from 1976-78.