Mike 'Mad Dog' Curtis, Legendary Colts Linebacker, Dead at 77

Mike Curtis, legendary linebacker for the Baltimore Colts, died on Monday, the team announced. He was 77 years old. Known as "Mad Dog," Curtis played for the Colts from 1965-1975. He then played for the Seattle Seahawks in 1976, and he finished his career with the Washington Redskins. He retired from the NFL after the 1978 season.

"Rest In Peace, Mike Curtis," Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter. "One of the game's most legendary non-Hall-of-Famers. Ferocious on the field, a gentleman off the field." Curtis made a name for himself while he was with the Colts. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 1968, which was the same year the Colts won the NFL championship. Curtis was Pro Bowler in 1970, 1971 and 1974, and he was named the All-Pro First Team in 1968 and 1969.

One of the most memorable performances from Curtis came in Super Bowl V. The game was tied at 13 with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter. Curtis intercepted Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton, and the Colts went on to hit the game-winning field goal to earn their first Super Bowl win in franchise history. The win came two years after the Colts lost to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. Curtis told the Talk of Fame Network: "What it did was make us understand the seriousness of the game, Playing the Jets and the AFL ... it wasn't as intense. If we had played Green Bay (in Super Bowl III) we would have been much more competitive, put it that way."


One of the other things Curtis is known for is tackling a fan during a 1971 game against the Miami Dolphins said. Curtis said: "We're winning, our momentum is significantly better than Miami's, and here comes Mr. Fan who wants to join in on the momentum. So he comes running out on the field and picks up the ball. When I saw he pick it up I immediately ran over and knocked him down."

Tackles aren't an official stat, and sacks didn't become an official stat until 1982, so Curtis' tackles and sacks weren't recorded during his time in the NFL. However, he finished his career with 25 interceptions and two touchdowns in 166 career games.