Memorial Stadium: Our Colts

September 29, 1991

My most vivid memory of Memorial Stadium took place on Sept. 27, 1953, when the new Baltimore Colts played their first home opener in the National Football League.

Our gang from Belair Road did not have tickets for this game -against the Chicago Bears -- and out of desperation, we rushed through the ticket gate at the open end of the stadium minutes before the kickoff. We sat in the temporary seats in the north end zone.

The Colts' first touchdown of 1953 was scored by BerRechichar, who made an exciting 34-yard return of an intercepted pass. As the conversion play was setting up, our group and approximately 20 other people were massed in the north end zone. Buck McPhail made the extra point and a mad scramble ensued for the football. A tall guy in front of me tipped the ball, which fell into my arms as I fell to the ground with several bodies on top of me.

The final score: Colts 13, Bears 9. In that game, Rechichar kicked a 56-yard field goal that stood as a league record for many years.

I still have the ball, and whenever I grasp it, I reflect back to our beloved Colts and the most vocal and enthusiastic fans that filled the equally loved Memorial Stadium, which will remain forever in our hearts.

Robert C. Lynch Baltimore

My fondest memory of an event at Memorial Stadium occurred on Sunday, Dec. 3, 1972. It was a football game between the Colts and the Bills. I went to the game with my father and my older brother. It was twice the treat for me because my father couldn't take me to many games because of the hours he worked. I did follow the Colts, so I knew this might be the last time we would see Johnny Unitas play as a Colt in Memorial Stadium.

The Colts were winning going into the fourth quarter when Marty Domres was injured on a running play. A cheer began to shake the stadium and I looked to the sidelines to see Johnny U. removing his warm-up jacket. At this point, as if on cue, a small plane appeared overhead, trailing a banner that read "Unitas We Stand."

We all rose to our feet and began to cheer wildly for Unitas because, with only six minutes left in the game, we would get our wish to see him one more time. As if that wasn't enough, a few plays later, he threw a 63-yard touchdown, his last at home as a Colt.

I remember thinking this only happens in the movies or in a dream.

My father has since passed away. I still have my ticket stub, a few newspaper clippings and some photos from the game. But my fondest memory is something that I can never hold in my hands. It's remembering the sound of the cheering and sharing a few emotional tears of joy with my father on that day.

Ken Chodnicki Abingdon

My fond memories of the stadium were in the 1940s when the Colts were in the AAFC. You could get tickets the day of the game and watch Charlie O'Rourke quarterback the Colts up and down the field.

Jim McAdams Glen Burnie

My special Memorial Stadium moment is the time the plane crashed in the stadium just after the conclusion of the Colts-Steelers game in 1976.

My father and I had season tickets for the Colts since their inception. This particular year my father did not get the playoff tickets in our box. After receiving much grief, my father bought two tickets in Section 1, upper reserved. At the end of the game, my friends and I waited for most of the people to leave our area before we left.

As were were leaving, we were walking through the ramps when we heard a loud bang. We didn't think much until we had reached the bottom and saw many people scurrying to the open end of the horseshoe.

When we reached the open end, we were in awe of the plane resting in the seats. We did not realize we had just been sitting in those seats. Later when my father picked us up, he informed us that we were sitting in those seats.

The following year, for the Colts-Raiders playoff game, a fan made a sign and hung it from the brick facade rising above the seats in the closed end. The sign read: "Welcome to the first

annual Donald Kroner playoff game."

Rob Meager Baltimore

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