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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Olney, MD (Baltimore native)
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    317

    Lightbulb 30th anniversary of Colts departure (3-28-84)



    Need to 'set the record straight' about what led to that notorious move. There are too many misconceptions both inside and outside of Maryland. The ones in Indianapolis are not important enough to consider since their confusion about the legacy of the Baltimore Colts has always been well deserved.

    First and foremost, the drop in attendance in Baltimore was never the result of disinterest. It was instead a PROTEST of the incredible mismanagement of the organization under Robert Irsay. Its purpose was to persuade Irsay to sell the franchise and, thereby, AVOID the embarrassment of moving a national icon out of its domain. Of course, the rest of the country saw it instead as Baltimore's embarrassment.

    On the other hand, the move was inevitable. From the very beginning, Irsay was in hot pursuit of the sweetheart deal to move elsewhere. His lawyer-partner (Chernoff) perceived the constant threat of a move as effective leverage to negotiate a new, costly and unnecessary venue to replace Memorial Stadium (less than 20 years old). When the City Council refused to 'knuckle under', they eventually made the kind of 'mistake' that Chernoff was hoping for: legal action to attempt an eminent domain takeover (i.e., a desperate attempt to separate Irsay from his property and thereby prevent its relocation). In retrospect, what the action really accomplished was the accelerated expulsion of Irsay's abuse of my hometown. Once he 'sunk his claws' into the organization it was doomed. Well within the 11 years, he transformed the best NFL franchise into, by far, the worst.

    But the real 'tragedy' of the post-move era was the naive efforts of Baltimore politicians in using the courts to force the franchise to return. Ownership is ownership. And because those efforts took the place of a far more important consideration, old Baltimore Colt fans quietly suffer EVERY DAY the indignity of having THEIR Colts name and image represent another city. Moreover, and far more important, Baltimore's heritage and its place in twentieth-century American history suffer simply because the Colts uniform hasn't been retired and returned to its origin ... now thirty years and counting.




  2. #2

    Re: 30th anniversary of Colts departure (3-28-84)

    I was 23. These were my impressions at the time.

    1. It became obvious to any fan that reasonably followed the Baltimore Colts that Robert Irsay did absolutely nothing to improve the Colts for 6 years on purpose - so that attendance would decrease and he would have a readily available excuse to move the team.

    2. New construction was at a low in the early 80's and the City did not have the money to build a Stadium. I knew a lot of folks in the construction biz at the time and they weren't working much.

    3. I talked with alot of fans at the time about going to the games because it was obvious to me this guy Irsay was gonna split. There were two big impressions I got from talking to folks:

    a. A surprising number of fans were still pissed that Johnny U was traded and thought no one would ever be as good as Johnny U and if Johnny U wasn't out there they weren't going to the games. And this was 10 year after John went to SD.

    b. Even if the City had the money to build the stadium, nobody wanted to give anything to this drunken jerk who was obviously trying to hold Baltimore hostage right in front of everybody while deliberately letting the team go down the tubes and I quote:
    "It's not your team it's MY g-damn team!"
    "I'm not moving the g-damn team"
    "I don't have the money to re-sign Curtis Dickey"

    4. I went to a lot of games (that I normally couldn't afford) the last 4 years because a lot of Memorial Stadium ushers hung out at our neighborhood bar. They'd tell you what gate to go to, slip 'em 4 bucks and sit anywhere. The place was half empty. Nobody wanted to pay Irsay a dime. We usually sat in the upper deck in the closed end of the horseshoe where Big Wheel was. Almost every game people chanted "IRSAY SUCKS!" Right before the last game of 1983, Robert Irsay announced that he had no intention of re-signing 1,000 yard rusher Curtis Dickey, the ONLY star on the ENTIRE team, even though he had all offseason to work something out smfh. He fuckin hated us and it was as obvious as the bright red alcoholic fuckin beak he called a fuckin nose on his fat pimply fuckin face.

    5. At the last game, Curtis Dickey ran for a hundred yards. Andrew Lucks daddy threw a couple INT's and we beat the Houston Oilers. Big Wheel tried to get everybody to chant "We Want Dickey!" but it kept changing to "IRSAY SUCKS! IRSAY SUCKS!" It sounded like 100,000 people were there. We all knew he was gone. The fans talked about it on the ramps out of the stadium. Everybody knew Irsay was going to move the team. And even though it was obvious I was still in shock when I woke up that March morning and our team was gone.

    6. At the time I thought Irsay ran out in the middle of the night AND THEN the City sued for emminent domain. Then I heard the dick Chernoff used it as an excuse to run. Later I heard the City sued and Chernoff told Irsay and they hauled ass. Then people blamed the City for trying it and they said that's why Irsay left. There are other folks who knew Irsay and they knew Irsay wanted to leave Baltimore almost from the first day he ever came here.

    In summation: I know some of our politicians screwed up. I know a lot of our fans gave up. But more than that, I know that Robert Irsay purposefully and with great malice destroyed one of the greatest and most successfull and most beloved sports franchises in the history of sports just so he could have his own way. He broke a hundred thousand hearts and his POS son named an enormous price to return the name, colors and history to Baltimore. Sadly it is way too late now. Both cities have won Super Bowls. At the end of this season the Indy Colts will have existed for 31 seasons - same as the Baltimore Colts - 31 years deeply beloved in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Baltimoreans. Our neighbors. Our friends. Our family. Nothing even close to that will ever exist again.

    There were mistakes made on all sides, but even in the face of massive opposition from the NFL, Baltimore has recovered very nicely. The Irsay family however, remains a disgrace.

    That's all i have to say about that.
    Last edited by Real Fan Dan; 04-01-2014 at 04:32 PM.
    If you break the rules you can't make the rules.
    - Remove Coach Tomlin from the NFL Competition committee.




  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Olney, MD (Baltimore native)
    Posts
    317

    Re: 30th anniversary of Colts departure (3-28-84)

    It's never too late to demand justice (i.e., retiring the Colts name or returning it to Baltimore). I believe that it will happen one day in the hopefully not too distant future. I personally don't think it is necessary to replace the Ravens legacy with that of the Colts, but retiring the Colts name is a priority with me. I don't care how long the team has been in Indianapolis, it is an affront that needs to remedied. Making changes at the NFL Hall of Fame would not correct the problem.




  4. #4

    Re: 30th anniversary of Colts departure (3-28-84)

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus Corax View Post
    It's never too late to demand justice (i.e., retiring the Colts name or returning it to Baltimore). I believe that it will happen one day in the hopefully not too distant future. I personally don't think it is necessary to replace the Ravens legacy with that of the Colts, but retiring the Colts name is a priority with me. I don't care how long the team has been in Indianapolis, it is an affront that needs to remedied. Making changes at the NFL Hall of Fame would not correct the problem.
    I hope it happens Corvus, and I hope we all live to see it.
    If you break the rules you can't make the rules.
    - Remove Coach Tomlin from the NFL Competition committee.




  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    OCMD
    Posts
    461

    Re: 30th anniversary of Colts departure (3-28-84)

    I doubt it ever happens. As much as we don't like it, teams move. Brooklyn wasn't happy when the Dodgers left, and Deacon Jones never played a down for St. Louis. As pissed as I was when our beloved Colts left, it is what it is and life goes on.

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