In the final analysis, no name was better than a new name for Jim Speros.
In the end, a one-year tradition outweighed the merits of a fresh start.
Yell to your heart's delight, Baltimore. The appropriate cheer at yesterday's name-the-team news conference at Memorial Stadium was C-O-L-T-S.
Saying he had lost the battle but won the war over the Colts name, Speros announced he has chosen Baltimore Football Club as the official -- and only -- designation for his Canadian Football League team.
"It would be very awkward to walk into the stadium and have fans chant one name and you have another," Speros said after putting to rest the team's eight-month identity crisis. "It's very unique what happened here."
Speros, the owner/president of the team, reached a decision after 18,076 votes were counted in a fan poll conducted by Sundial, The Baltimore Sun's telephone information service.
The name CFLs drew the most votes with 6,649, or 37 percent. Second was Stallions with 6,388, at 35 percent.
Because the Canadian Football League also will undergo a name change (most likely to the Can-Am Football League) before next season, CFLs was no longer a viable option. Because the trademark rights to Stallions are owned by the NFL -- a legacy of the 1993 expansion process -- the alternative carried legal ramifications.
Speros said the NFL did not want him to use Stallions. He estimated he had spent roughly $570,000 in the lengthy legal battle with the NFL over trademark rights to Colts.
The only option left, it seemed, was no name.
"Looking into our crystal ball, we saw more court action," said E. J. Narcise, the team's vice president of business operations. "We didn't think it was fair to the fans to drag them through eight months of courtroom drama. There's a lot of merit in Baltimore Football Club."
The NFL gave its approval to the no-name approach. "There is a permanent legal injunction against using the name [Colts]," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. "We were forced into taking action to protect the trademark of one of our clubs. After eight months of litigation, we're pleased with the outcome."
What Speros gives up in name recognition, he'll try to recoup with marketing strategy. The team will use a slogan of "Big, Bad and Blue," playing off the predominant team color and the hostility Baltimore faced in the playoffs. The team will retain its horse-head logo.
Speros insisted the team had created its own identity this season with a historic run to the Grey Cup.
But in the long run, if the no-name approach hurts merchandising, Speros might make a change.
"I always reserve the right to change the name," he said. "But I do not see that in the near future."
Name .. .. ..Votes .. .. ..Pct.
CFLs .. .. ..6,649 .. .. .. .37
Stallions ...6,388 .. .. .. .35
Other .. .. .1,734 .. .. .. .10
Pride .. .. .1,493 .. .. .. ..8
Steeds .. .. ..618 .. .. .. ..3
Hosses .. .. ..615 .. .. .. ..3
.. .. .. ...293 .. .. .. ..2
Thoroughbreds .250 .. .. .. ..1