March 29, 1984, the city of Baltimore was just three months removed from a triumphed parade in the streets of the city with the Orioles winning the 1983 World Series. Only to wake up in tears to hear the news of their beloved Baltimore Colts gone, leaving history, broken hearts and a vacant home for an NFL team for twelve years.
Thirty years ago, snow was lightly dropping on a fateful night, the infamous Mayflower moving van that was photographed pulled away from the Colts training facility in Owings Mills and headed to Indianapolis. Never to be seen in Memorial Stadium ever again.
Robert Irsay is a name that has grown in infamy around Baltimore football history. As early as in January of 1972, Irsay started to move the team out of Baltimore. Next, in 1973, the Colts owner traded Johnny Unitas to the San Diego Chargers.
Irsay's tenure in Baltimore was unpopular.The Colts was on a slump in the 1980s. Crowd attendance went down with only twenty people showing up at some games. Alternatively the sense from fans that the owner was driving their beloved franchise into the ground. This sparked outcries from the fans such as the "Impeach Irsay" shirts as shown in the Baltimore Sun album. In the twilight of the team's tenure in Baltimore, the enraged frequent shouting matches transpired more often between news reporters and Irsay.
From January to March rumors of moving the team to Phoenix, Indianapolis and other cities enticed the owner in secrecy while mentioning to the public that he was not going to move the team.
Then came the next morning and Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer never received a phone call that Irsay promised. They were now the Indianapolis Colts. Despite multiple attempts with eminent domain, the Colts was gone from Baltimore.
Multiple expansion teams went to Carolina or Jacksonville, and Art Modell moved the Browns. Leaving the name and colors to the city of Cleveland. Creating the Baltimore Ravens. Since 1984, the Baltimore sports world is thriving out of the dark and cold twelve years without an NFL team due to Irsay moving the team.
Two Superbowl Championships and a Hall of Fame induction in Johnathon Ogden rewarded this city in more ways than one since that heartbreaking move. Even though the Colts are gone and the Ravens now have taken over that empty spot, their first love remains in charm city as memories that will not go away anytime soon.