Sports Graveyard: Indianapolis Capitols

Indianapolis Capitols pinI ran across this interesting pin while looking for old sports memorabilia, and was immediately intrigued. The only football team I ever thought called Indianapolis home is the Colts.

So who were the Indianapolis Caps?

Turns out the Caps — actually the Indianapolis Capitols — were a member of the short-lived Continental Football League. The CFL began play in 1965, five seasons after the American Football League, and folded after the 1969 season. The Caps joined the league in 1966 as the Montreal Beavers before moving to Indiana two years later.

In their first year in Indianapolis, the Caps won the Central Division with an 8-4 record. They repeated that record in the league’s final season, but managed to also win the last-ever CFL championship by beating the San Antonio Toros.

Perhaps the biggest splash the franchise ever made took place off the field, when it offered star USC running back O.J. Simpson a $400,000 contract in 1969 to play for them. Simpson, of course, opted to sign with the Buffalo Bills of the AFL instead.

The Caps, along with the CFL’s Jersey Jays, Norfolk (VA) Neptunes, and Orlando Panthers, defected to join the minor league Atlantic Coast Football League (ACFL) for the 1970 season. The CFL folded without playing another game, while the Caps ceased football operations after the 1970 ACFL season.