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“Colts at Baltimore: How weird is that?”

January 8, 2007

Lancaster New Era sports columnist Jeffrey Reinhart made this point during our Football Free-4-All playoffs podcast when I said the NFL divisional playoff round would feature “The [Indianapolis] Colts at Baltimore [Ravens].”Colts helmet

Now, the blood is boiling over in Baltimore as a dish of revenge is looking to be served on the team that deserted the Charm City in what’s being called the “grudge match of the century” and the “biggest sporting event ever in Baltimore.”

For non-football fans, here’s the back story.

The Indy Colts used to be the Baltimore Colts. The team was secrety shopped around to other cities, and then relocated to Indianapolis in the middle of a snowy night in March 1984, aboard Mayflower Transit moving trucks, which still carry the stigma of helping the team move in that city.

Since that day, most Baltimore football fans have given up all attachment and allegiances to the horseshoe wearers.

Later, in 1996, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell pulled a similar move, and yanked the Browns from their long-time home, moving them to Baltimore and renaming them the Ravens.

Though, one major difference in this case, the NFL and Cleveland worked out an agreement to keep the team name “Browns” and the colors in Cleveland, and the city was awarded an expansion franchise in 1999 to carry on the team’s legacy.

Cleveland never had to endure seeing its team colors call another city home. I’m sure that irks Baltimore fans.

The Sun’s David Steele has more on the Baltimore Mayflower Transit grudge:

• Flash forward to October 2004, a month after I arrived at The Sun. I was getting a tire repaired on Howard Street, and a truck driver was waiting with me for service. A Mayflower truck driver. I find that hilarious, and tell him so, something along the lines of not expecting to see a Mayflower truck in Baltimore ever again.

“Man, all that Mayflower stuff, that’s a myth,” he says. “People never stopped hiring Mayflower around here. I’ve heard stories about people calling and cursing us out, people throwing stuff at the trucks, but that’s it.”

I get my car back, drive up the street, turn a corner, see the Mayflower building on Charles Street, figure that maybe I had been wrong. Two years later, a caller to a local radio station tells the host that he still hated the Colts and still threw things at the trucks every chance he got.

At roughly the same time, I come across the United-affiliated moving company that advertises its role in moving the Browns here from Cleveland – in broad daylight, it must be noted.

Just a glance at this blog at the Baltimore Sun gives you an idea of the bad blood held by the Charm City fans in this game.

But for the current Colts, it’s just another playoff game. Many of the Colts today are unaffected by the team’s former Baltimore roots.

Prediction: Sorry Baltimore. Unless the weather is nasty, go with the visiting Indy Colts by a TD. Colts 21, Baltimore 14. Here’s a breakdown of the game from ESPN.

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One Comment
  1. January 8, 2007 2:38 pm

    Ah, I feel the pain of Baltimore fans. I grew up an Oilers fan in Texas, only to see them desert us. But not before they were up by 30+ points at halftime in the AFC championship against Buffalo, only to lose it in the second half.

    They cost me $250 and a case of German import. Jerks. Well, I moved too later in life—to Buffalo. Yeah. Take that Titans. Back in my native Oklahoma now, I have no worries, the Sooners are the best show in town and we have no pro team.

    But I digress. Baltimore, I feel your pain. When the Colts come to town, get ya some…

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