Tackling Irsay The big game: Baltimore fans seek measure of revenge against franchise that left town.

November 29, 1998

THE COLTS vs. Baltimore. The billing has been in the making for 14 years, and it still sounds strange. Like the Celtics vs. Boston, the Yankees vs. New York, the Fighting Irish vs. Notre Dame.

But here we are: The Colts are here in Baltimore for the first time since Robert Irsay broke the fragile hearts of tough football fans and punctured the area's collective ego when he moved the franchise to the Midwest.

Now that Baltimore finally has regained its stature as an NFL city, it's time for payback. Or is it?

Can one game make up for the hurt, betrayal, agony, rejection jTC and jealousy that Baltimore football fans felt for 12 years? Would a Ravens victory over the crew from Indianapolis secure vengeance?

Hardly. But this is no ordinary game.

Never mind that both teams limp onto the field today with poor records. A victory would be especially sweet; a defeat devastating.

Baltimore fans who cheered for Unitas, Moore, Mackey and Berry find themselves in the bittersweet position of rooting against the team wearing the familiar blue and white uniforms and horseshoe-emblazoned helmets.

They will support the Baltimore Ravens, despise the Indianapolis Colts and continue to revere the Baltimore Colts.

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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