2 more join name game for NFL team Railers, Steamers evoke industrial past

March 09, 1996|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's new NFL team is scouring the city's gritty industrial history for possible names, and has come up with two new ones for consideration: the Railers and Steamers.

The names -- which join Bombers, Marauders and Ravens -- hark back to the city's role as the birthplace of American railroading. -- The team solicited ideas from the B&O Museum.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, running from Baltimore to the Ohio River, was the nation's first major railroad. And the team's stadium will be built at Camden Yards, near Camden Station -- once the B&O's headquarters and the world's biggest train station.

"The Steamers" also evokes images of the city's port, where steamships have called for centuries, and the steamed crabs Baltimoreans devour by the bushel. The Bombers and Marauders speak to the city's World War II-era contribution to avia- tion. A number of bombers were developed here by the Glenn L. Martin Co., a forerunner of the Lockheed Martin Corp. Among the best-known planes built here: the B-26 Marauder, built between 1939 and 1945.

Team officials have expressed reluctance at the connotations of calling the team the Bombers in light of recent terrorist bombings, and find the Marauders less offensive, but also less lyrical.

Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke wrote the team last week, objecting to Bombers. "The Ravens" refers to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven." Poe died in Baltimore and is buried here.

The team and league have drawn up prospective logos for the five names, which were among the names tested before focus groups in Baltimore in recent weeks.

Team owner Art Modell confirmed that the five names are under consideration but said that it's too early to call them the final five.

"There will be others that will be under consideration," Mr. Modell said. "I know those names are being kicked around." He said he hopes to have a name picked in the next week or so.

Some team officials also like the Americans, a play on the city's and state's many contributions to early American history. It also was the name of a railroad locomotive built in Baltimore.

There also has been discussion of the Mustangs, possibly in connection with a sponsorship with the Ford Motor Co. that could include naming rights at the stadium, although it's not known if the league would favor the commercialization of a team name.

Mr. Modell agreed to leave the Browns name and uniform colors behind as part of a settlement of lawsuits Cleveland brought against him after he announced his intentions to move the club.

Team officials say that Mr. Modell will approach Indianapolis Colts general manager Jim Irsay next week at league meetings in Florida to inquire again about buying the name from the franchise, which played in Baltimore until 1984.

As part of a 1986 agreement that settled lawsuits filed against the team by the city, the Colts agreed to give the name to a franchise if one moved here by 1991. After that, the team is obligated only to consider selling the name. Pub Date: 3/09/96

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