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50 years ago, Colts had a bizarre NFL beginning

November 05, 2000|By John Steadman

Misery on the field was a regular occurrence. They led the Chicago Cardinals 13-7 at halftime but gave up 48 points in the second half to lose, 55-l3. To the Rams, in their regular-season meeting, they lost, 70-27, after being hammered in the earlier exhibition, 70-21. They had a chance to beat the 49ers in Kezar Stadium, except end Hal Crisler's jersey tail came out and the shirt flapping in the breeze enabled a 49ers' defender to make the desperate tackle.

When the 1-11 season was concluded, with the team setting all kinds of embarrassing records for giving up yardage and points, Watner decided he wanted to sell the team. The league took it off his hands for $50,000, which covered all the players on the active and reserve lists. Uniforms, training room, and office equipment were sold to anyone interested.

The only problem, which had serious legal complications, was that Watner didn't officially own the team. The stockholders, led by the late Zanvyl Krieger, brought suit. The league was in deep trouble, and to get off from a serious financial penalty agreed to put a team in Baltimore in 1953 - which turned out to be the bankrupt Dallas Texans.

Although 1950 was Baltimore's first in the NFL, after spending three in the All-America Conference, it turned out to be a comic book season - the most mixed-up, confused, disorganized, chaotic, and bizarre series of events any team or city ever had to endure.

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