Although not many expected the 2012 Colts to match the futility of the squad's 2-14 record in 2011, even fewer expected Indianapolis to win nine of its last 11 games and make the playoffs. All of this was done not with Peyton Manning at the helm -- he had been allowed to sign with the Denver Broncos -- but rather with rookie Andrew Luck and interim head coach Bruce Arians, who stepped in after coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer. Running back Vick Ballard did his part by making plays like this dive across for a game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Titans. Here's a look at the biggest one-season turnarounds in NFL history.
2 of 14Doug Benc/Getty Images
2008 Miami Dolphins
In an NFL record-tying turnaround, the Miami Dolphins (11-5) won 10 more games in 2008 than they did in 2007, when they went 1-15.
3 of 14Al Tielemans/SI
1999 Indianapolis Colts
In his second season as the Colts' starting quarterback, Peyton Manning cut his interceptions nearly in half (from 28 in '98 to 15), and, after a 2-2 start, led his team to 11-straight wins and the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
4 of 14AP
1929 N.Y. Giants
After a disappointing fourth 1928 season, Giants owner Tim Mara bought the entire squad of the Detroit Wolverines, principally to acquire star quarterback Benny Friedman (pictured), and merged the two teams under the Giants name. It worked.
5 of 14AP
1963 Oakland Raiders
In Al Davis' first year in Oakland (as head coach and GM), he not only changed the team's colors to silver and black, but instituted a new scheme based on the West Coast Offense, producing a surprising turnaround and AFL Coach of the Year honors.
6 of 14Bob Rosato/SI
1999 St. Louis Rams
Kurt Warner's first full season in the NFL was one of the most prolific in NFL history, as he led the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a Super Bowl win, and earned both the regular season and Super Bowl MVP awards. Warner threw for 4,335 yards and 41 touchdowns during the season.
7 of 14Bob Rosato/SI
2004 Pittsburgh Steelers
After an injury sidelined starting quarterback Tommy Maddox, Ben Roethlisberger took over the squad, and won an NFL rookie record 13-straight games to start his career. The Steelers finished the year 15-1, and earned home field advantage, but lost the AFC championship game to the Patriots.
8 of 14AP, Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1975 Baltimore Colts
Despite a 1-4 start, the Colts, led by new head coach Ted Marchibroda and running back Lydell Mitchell, reeled off nine consecutive wins to close out the '75 campaign and win the AFC East.
9 of 14Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1976 New England Patriots
After posting a losing record in eight of their previous nine seasons, the '76 Patriots erupted for 2,957 rushing yards (then the fifth-highest total in NFL history), mostly on the legs of Steve Grogan and Sam Cunningham, with help from Hall of Fame guard John Hannah (pictured).
10 of 14Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1988 Cincinnati Bengals
Following a season of feuding between Boomer Esiason and Sam Wyche (inset), the quarterback and coach set aside their differences, and posted one of the best seasons in franchise history. Esiason passed for 3,572 yards and 28 touchdowns, earned the NFL MVP, and the Bengals played their way into Super Bowl XXIII.
11 of 14Gary Mook/Getty Images, John Iacono/SI
1992 Indianapolis Colts
9-7 wasn't exactly an amazing season, but with Jeff George famously unable to get along with coach Ted Marchibroda, it was quite an accomplishment, especially given the club's 1-15 record the season before.
12 of 14John Iacono/SI
1997 N.Y. Jets
The departure of Rich Kotite coupled with the arrival of Bill Parcells worked wonders for the Jets. Led by Neil O'Donnell and Adrian Murrell, New York narrowly missed the playoffs, finishing at 9-7.
13 of 14Bob Rosato/SI
2001 Chicago Bears
Led by the stingiest defense in the league (allowing just 12.7 points per game), Brian Urlacher and the Bears pulled off a spate of comeback and narrow wins, before losing to the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs.
14 of 14John W. McDonough/SI
2004 San Diego Chargers
With breakout stars Drew Brees and Antonio Gates, not to mention a backfield featuring LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers boasted one of the league's most explosive offenses, racking up 27.9 points per game, as they reached the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons.
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