Posted in Hot Take of the Week

What the Indianapolis Colts don’t get about the Baltimore Colts

By Chris Schisler

The Indianapolis Colts have a history stealing problem. They constantly have claimed the Baltimore Colts’ records and accomplishments as their own. If you go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio there is a chart of all the Super Bowls organized by the franchise that won them. Somehow the Indianapolis Colts have two Super Bowl victories (Super Bowl V was won by the Baltimore Colts though).

This is a continual thing with the Colts franchise. The other day they tweeted this out.

That’s right guys, you have $15 to build your ultimate Indianapolis Colts offense. An Indianapolis Colts offense that can somehow include Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, Raymond Berry, John Mackey, Bert Jones, and Bob Vogel…

Although Johnny Unitas never wanted to be associated with the Indianapolis Colts and made that quite clear, we have this. The Colts relocated to Indianapolis in 1984. The city of Baltimore was without an NFL football team until 1996. The Ravens have wisely never claimed the Baltimore Colts history as part of theirs, but they do acknowledge the Baltimore Colts as a great part of Maryland’s football culture. The Irsay family, from which the apple doesn’t far from the tree, is like the kid who licks another kid’s food and says “Mine!’

The link between eras of Baltimore Football:

When Art Modell took his franchise to Baltimore he considered it a start of a new franchise, a new history. Modell isn’t completely innocent here. He will forever be a villain to the city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio. We’re not about to start praising either Bob Irsay or his son Jim. We get it. That being said Browns’ legends Otto Graham and Jim Brown aren’t considered greats of the Baltimore Ravens. If they were that would be the equivalent of what the Indianapolis Colts continually do.

I was born in 1990. I got into the game of football between the years nine and ten of my life. The first year I decided I was a Ravens fan, Baltimore won the Super Bowl. It catapulted my obsession and I’ve lived a charmed life as a sports fan. I don’t claim to have felt much of the pain from the Colts relocation. My grandfather and my mother had a strong connection to the Baltimore Colts. Were they obsessive football fans? Not to the level that I would end up being (though nobody is at that level if we’re being honest). But they genuinely cared about the Colts. It was their team. There are a lot of people who felt this loss of a team that they loved.

Take-Home Points:

Some would argue that the Baltimore Colts fight song being repurposed for the Baltimore Ravens breaks the very same rule I’m railing against here. It doesn’t though. The Baltimore Colts marching band persisted as a Baltimore tradition long after the Colts left. Their loyalty to the city and their advocacy helped Baltimore get back into the NFL. The Ravens are the only NFL team with a marching band. The Marching Ravens are the continuation of the Baltimore Colts’ marching band. It’s a Baltimore thing. It’s what links Baltimore football’s history together.

Baltimore’s football history is linked not by the franchises that were a part of its history, but by the love of Baltimore football. There is a boundary that the Colts repetitively cross, that the Ravens never do. When the Baltimore Colts’ history gets celebrated by the Indianapolis Colts, it feels wrong. You can feel this in your gut. It’s the same franchise, but the players and coaches would tell you it’s not the same team, it’s not the same thing.

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The Colts never had to send this tweet out. They are literally known for Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. They’ve had so many great offensive players in Indianapolis, they could have easily done this game in an unoffending fashion. I can assure you that very few people from Indiana remember Raymond Berry or Lenny Moore. They don’t care. Who’s benefit was this era and fanbase bending exercise for?

It may not be worth getting too angry about a silly tweet. It is however worth reminding the Indianapolis Colts franchise that they have a problem. It’s clear they don’t understand this. When we ignore this, it’s just giving the Irsay’s a pass they never even earned.