Speros might leave CFL team nameless

October 20, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

He was beaten in Indianapolis, hammered in Chicago, rejected in Baltimore.

But even if Jim Speros lost courtroom battles in each of those legal settings over use of the Colts name, the owner of Baltimore's Canadian Football League team still might give the fans what they want most.

That's the right to call the team the Colts -- no matter what the courts or the NFL's lawyers say.

"One option we have is Baltimore with no name," Speros said yesterday. "Just Baltimore and the horse logo.

"That's what the fans want. If I had to make a decision today, it'd be Baltimore with no name. How are they going to stop people from calling us the Colts?"

It would be one final tweaking of the NFL nose after nearly six months of legal maneuvering.

Even as Speros' attorneys attempt to negotiate a settlement to the trademark infringement case filed by the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts, the 35-year-old general partner of the team is headed back to square one of the name game.

He is preparing to turn the issue over to the fans in the form of a poll.

"What I envision is having seven or eight names as choices, and a write-in vote if they don't like the names," Speros said.

The choices almost certainly will stay within the horse family. Speros said the most suggested names have been Stallions, Mustangs and Hosses.

Then there is the intriguing suggestion of Tony Graham of Randallstown, who worked on the Colts' equipment staff in the mid-1970s. Graham's idea is to call the team the Baltimore Poulains, which is the French translation for Colts.

"I figure Poulains could be our official name, but here in Baltimore we can still call the team the Colts," Graham said.

Said Speros: "Not a bad option. I would certainly consider that."

Still, Speros said a decision to go without a name would not take away from the team's merchandising impact.

"We have a uniqueness about us," he said. "We are recognizable throughout the country. We've certainly got a lot of notoriety from it."

Although the team has been referred to as the CFLs, the CFLers and the No-Names, the official name is the Baltimore CFL Football Club.

"I don't think this is ever going to go away," Speros said.

"It's not something I created. It was created in 1947," when

Baltimore's All-America Football Conference team first adopted the name Colts.

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