In a new special series, I’ll be ranking each major professional sports franchise (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, etc.) in each of the states with at least two teams.
The teams will be ranked by the amount of success they’ve had in their current market, not accounting for previous locations of the franchise. However, if the team played in a different league but still played in its current home state, those records will contribute to the rankings.
Any playoff or tournament appearances, wild card berths, division titles, conference/league titles, major championships, and the franchise’s single-season wins/points records are accounted for, as well as the overall success of the team and certain eras of its history.
Next up is the state of Indiana, home of the NBA’s Pacers, NFL’s Colts, and the WNBA’s Fever.
No. 1 — Fever (est. 2000)
- 13 playoff appearances
- 3 Eastern Conference titles
- 2012 WNBA champions
- Franchise-best record – 22-12 in 2012
While they haven’t been successful as of late (six straight non-playoff seasons), the Fever have only been around for barely 20 years but have still been able to make some noise in the WNBA.
From 2005-16 the Fever reached the playoffs 12 straight times, led by Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, who was named the WNBA’s MVP in 2011.
After reaching its first WNBA Finals in 2009, the Fever returned in 2012, winning its only championship to date while setting a franchise single-season wins record. They returned to the Finals for the third time in six years in 2015.
No. 2 — Pacers (est. 1967, joined NBA in 1976)
- 36 playoff appearances (27 NBA, 9 ABA)
- 9 division titles (1971 ABA Western, 2 ABA Eastern, 6 Central)
- 5 ABA Finals
- 3 ABA championships
- 2000 Eastern Conference title
- Franchise-best record – 61-21 in 2003-04
An original member of the American Basketball Association, the Pacers reached the playoffs during each of the nine seasons they were in the league. They were also considered the ABA’s best team during the league’s existence from 1967-76, winning three ABA championships (1970, 1972-73) and reaching two other ABA Finals (1969, 1975).
Joining the NBA through a merger before the 1976-77 season, the Pacers struggled to adapt to a new league, reaching the postseason only twice in 13 years.
However, the development of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits led the Pacers to become one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. From 1990 to 2006 they missed the playoffs just once, winning four division titles and appearing in five conference finals. During the 1999-00 season, the Pacers won the Eastern Conference title, reaching the NBA Finals for the first time.
After a few down years following Miller’s retirement, the Pacers reemerged behind Paul George. They made the playoffs nine times in 10 years from 2011-20, winning the Central Division twice and reaching back-to-back conference finals in 2013-14.
No. 3 — Colts (est. 1953, relocated 1984)
- 19 playoff appearances
- 11 division titles (9 AFC South, 2 AFC East)
- 2 AFC titles
- Super Bowl XLI champions
If it weren’t for Peyton Manning, who knows where the Colts would be?
After relocating from Baltimore following the 1983 season, the Colts reached the playoffs just three times in the next 14 seasons.
After drafting Manning No. 1 overall in 1998, the Colts reached the postseason 11 times in the next 12 seasons, winning eight AFC South titles, a pair of AFC titles, and Super Bowl XLI.
After Peyton left following the 2011 season, Andrew Luck guided the team to the playoffs in three straight seasons from 2012-14, winning a pair of division titles while reaching an AFC title game.
After returning to the playoffs in 2018, Luck retired at age 29 due to injury. Since then, the Colts returned to the postseason in 2020 and narrowly missed out the following year.