|1972 Baltimore Colts season|
|Head coach||Don McCafferty (1–4)|
John Sandusky (4–5)
|General manager||Joe Thomas|
|Home field||Memorial Stadium|
|Division place||3rd AFC East|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
Robert Irsay, who had recently taken over the Los Angeles Rams, traded ownership of the NFL franchises with Colts' owner Carroll Rosenbloom, with players and coaching staffs remaining intact. However, the Colts were getting older and started 1–4 before third-year head coach Don McCafferty was fired by new general manager Joe Thomas. In their final nine games under interim head coach John Sandusky, Baltimore won four to finish at 5–9, their first losing mark in sixteen years. The entire coaching staff was let go after the season concluded.
- July 13 – Robert Irsay bought the Los Angeles Rams and transferred ownership to Carroll Rosenbloom, in exchange for ownership of the Baltimore Colts.
|1972 Baltimore Colts staff|
The season began ominously for the Colts when they were defeated at home on opening day by the St. Louis Cardinals and their journeyman quarterback, Tim Van Galder. In week two, Johnny Unitas threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, but it was far from enough as Joe Namath threw for 496 yards and six touchdowns to power the New York Jets to a 44–34 victory at Memorial Stadium, the Jets' first victory over the Colts since Super Bowl III.
In October, the Colts' season reached its nadir when it was shut out twice at home in a three-week stretch by the Dallas Cowboys, who undoubtedly wanted revenge for their loss to Baltimore in Super Bowl V, and the Miami Dolphins, who were on their way to a 17–0 season and their first Super Bowl championship under former Colts coach Don Shula.
Unitas, age 39, made his final appearance in Baltimore in the fourth quarter of a 35–7 victory over Buffalo on December 3, and threw a 63-yard completion for his 287th career touchdown pass. Two weeks later, he played his final game as a Colt, with a completion and an interception.
For the third consecutive year, the Colts played their season finale at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Only this time, it was not in the postseason, but a humbling 16–0 shutout to the Dolphins in Week 14 in a game which was nowhere near as close as the final score. Baltimore ended the 1970 season with a win over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V, and ended the 1971 season with a loss to the Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game.
|1||September 17||St. Louis Cardinals||L 3–10||0–1||Memorial Stadium|
|2||September 24||New York Jets||L 34–44||0–2||Memorial Stadium|
|3||October 1||at Buffalo Bills||W 17–0||1–2||War Memorial Stadium|
|4||October 8||San Diego Chargers||L 20–23||1–3||Memorial Stadium|
|5||October 15||Dallas Cowboys||L 0–21||1–4||Memorial Stadium|
|6||October 22||at New York Jets||L 20–24||1–5||Shea Stadium|
|7||October 29||Miami Dolphins||L 0–23||1–6||Memorial Stadium|
|8||November 6||at New England Patriots||W 24–17||2–6||Schaefer Stadium|
|9||November 12||at San Francisco 49ers||L 21–24||2–7||Candlestick Park|
|10||November 19||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 20–19||3–7||Riverfront Stadium|
|11||November 26||New England Patriots||W 31–0||4–7||Memorial Stadium|
|12||December 3||Buffalo Bills||W 35–7||5–7||Memorial Stadium|
|13||December 10||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 10–24||5–8||Arrowhead Stadium|
|14||December 16||at Miami Dolphins||L 0–16||5–9||Orange Bowl|
|New York Jets||7||7||0||.500||6–2||6–5||367||324||L2|
|New England Patriots||3||11||0||.214||0–8||0–11||192||446||L1|
- "Colts owner trades club for Rams". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. July 14, 1972. p. 1, part 2.
- "Colts' owner now sole owner of Rams". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. July 14, 1972. p. 12.
- Maule, Tex (August 14, 1972). "Nay on the neighs, yea on the baas". Sports Illustrated. p. 67.
- "Colts pick Sandusky as coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. October 17, 1972. p. 2, part 2.
- "Colt players meet secretly on McCafferty dismissal". Milwaukee Journal. press dispatches. October 17, 1972. p. 16, part 2.
- "Curry criticizes McCafferty firing". Free Lance-Star. (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. October 17, 1972. p. 6.
- "Colts players unhappy; rap coach's firing". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. October 18, 1972. p. 36.
- "Miami succeeds, but Morris fails". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 17, 1972. p. 2D.
- "Thomas fires entire Colt coaching staff". Bangor Daily News. (Maine). UPI. December 21, 1972. p. 26.
- "Coach Sandusky ousted by Colts". Nashua Telegraph. (New Hampshire). Associated Press. December 21, 1972. p. 23.
- "Mass firing starts Colt housecleaning". Free Lance-Star. (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. December 21, 1972. p. 8.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p.283
- "Domres stars as Colts whip Bills". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. December 4, 1972. p. 3, part 2.
- "287th TD pass". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). (AP wirephoto). December 4, 1972. p. 25.