Five Greatest Moments in Indianapolis Sports History

In the hundreds of years of sports in central Indiana there have been many unforgettable moments in history.

With Indianapolis sports in full effect – from professional and collegiate football and basketball – now is a good time to think about all the unforgettable moments in Indianapolis sports history.

Now Indianapolis is no sports mecca or title town, but central Indiana is home to many sports teams and great moments in history. Here are the five best moments in Indianapolis sports history:

#5: Peyton Manning‘s record-breaking 49th touchdown pass in 2004

The 2004 Indianapolis Colts team was a really good one. With three separate receivers achieving 1,000 yard seasons in the same year, Peyton Manning had a huge record-breaking season as the Indianapolis Colts finished with a 12-4 record.

December 27, 2004 versus the San Diego Chargers – Peyton Manning was ready to make his mark in the NFL record books. Before the game, Manning was one touchdown pass away from tying Dan Marino‘s 48 touchdown passes in a single season. Late in the game, Manning found Brandon Stokely behind the safeties for his second score of the game and ultimately the record breaker.

Tom Brady went on to top Manning’s 49 by one touchdown in 2007. However, Manning got the last laugh in 2013, in his first year with the Denver Broncos when he shattered he single-season touchdown record with 55.

#4: Reggie Miller‘s 8 points in 9 seconds

The Indiana Pacers were down 6 points to the New York Knicks in game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals with 18.9 seconds in regulation, Reggie Miller did the unthinkable in Indianapolis.

With just under 19 seconds to go in the game, Miller got the in-bounds pass and immediately put up a three and of course it splashed through. Reggie then stole the Knicks’ in-bounds pass and turned around to run back behind the 3-point arc and splashes another one through. It was a tie game with only 3.1 seconds taken off the clock. After the Knicks missed two free throws, Miller found himself at the line and hit two game-winning free throws. All while talking trash with Spike Lee at court side.

#3: Christian Watford sinks buzzer beater to knock off #1 Kentucky

No stadium in America wanted to knock off the number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats in 2011 than the Hoosier faithful in Assembly Hall. Christian Watford will never, ever have to buy a meal in the state of Indiana ever again.

After Kentucky converted on the second of two free throws to go up 72-70, the Hoosiers, with no timeouts, needed to take the ball up the court and get a shot off to tie or win the game with only 5 seconds left in the game. Watford in-bounded the ball to Verdell Jones, who took it all the way down the court, then kicked the ball back to Watford who put up a three with the entire stadium lying in wait. As soon as the ball swished through the net, the buzzer sounded and the Hoosier faithful spilled onto the court in a sea of red.

#2: Kelvin Hayden‘s pick six seals Indianapolis’ first Super Bowl win

With the Colts only leading the Chicago Bears by five points in Super Bowl XLI with twelve minutes to go, the Bears were mounting a decent drive to try and take the lead. On a rainy Sunday night in Miami, the game had not been pretty with plenty of turnovers by each team. One proved to be pivotal.

On first and ten, Bears quarterback Rex Grossman tried to hit wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad on a deep pass. The two were obviously on different pages, and it led to an easy interception by Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who took it to the house to essentially seal the Indianapolis Colts’ first ever Super Bowl victory.

#1: Keith Smart wins the national championship for IU

31 years ago, Indiana was playing Syracuse in the championship game of the NCAA basketball tournament of 1987. The Hoosiers were down by one with less than five seconds to go when Keith Smart took a shot he will never forget.

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Smart put up the 16-foot shot that was nothing but net and will live on in Indiana sports lore forever as the Hoosiers won the 1987 NCAA tournament.