Some people need lesson in history of real Colts

January 10, 2007|By GREGORY KANE

Open Letter to Clueless Jim Irsay, Owner of the Baltimore Colts Playing in Indianapolis

From: G. Kane, Disgruntled Former Colts Fan

Dear Clueless Jim:

You still don't get it, do you pal?

I caught the article Sun reporter Rick Maese did on you yesterday. You know, the one where you tried to make nice with Baltimoreans. The one where you said, "and to me, it's all about taking the high road. I don't have one ounce of anything but good feelings for Baltimore."

Save it for those suckers who believe it, Jim. Folks may call us Balti-morons, but there are still plenty of us left who aren't channeling Boo-Boo The Fool, which is what we'd have to be doing if we believed your nonsense. Do you really think we buy your claim that you had "empathy" for us poor Baltimoreans after your father took the team out of town in 1984?

Look, Jimbo, we didn't mind losing the team. Frankly, I was glad to get your dad and his team out of here. I figured that one day, Baltimore would get another National Football League franchise.

But your dad took more than that. He could have left with the team, renamed it for something unique to Indiana or Indianapolis and left the Colts horseshoe logo, colors, history and legacy here in Baltimore where they belonged. He chose not to do that. Why? Because he didn't just want to take the team. He wanted to stick it to Baltimoreans.

You were with your dad, working in the Colts front office, for all that time. Did you once suggest to your dad that maybe, just maybe, he should change the name of the team and return the Colts horseshoe logo and colors to the city of Baltimore? I mean, since you have so much empathy and all.

I don't think you did, Jim. Aren't you the guy who, according to news reports, flies around in a private jet with a Colts horseshoe logo on the tail? And aren't you the guy who couldn't even be happy for us after we did get another franchise, courtesy of Art Modell?

What was it you said at the time, Jimbo? "People can appreciate a businessman trying to improve his situation. But you hate to see instability in the league"?

You said that, didn't you, Jimbo? Kind of forgot your dad started the trend toward "instability in the league" when he crept out of here with our Colts, didn't you, pal?

Rather than accusing Modell of helping the trend toward instability in the league, you and your dad should have been trying to learn some class from the man. When Modell moved his Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, he moved the team only. The name Browns, the team colors, the history, the legacy all stayed where they belonged: with the people of Cleveland.

Maybe that's why Modell was able to do in five seasons in Baltimore what you and your dad weren't able to do in what at the time was 17 seasons in Indianapolis: win a Super Bowl. Some folks here believe the Irsay theft of our colors, logo, history and colors has called down a curse on the Colts franchise.

I don't believe in curses. Nor do I believe you have any idea what things like the history and legacy of a professional football team mean to a town like Baltimore. But I'll try to explain it to you.

I'll use my favorite Baltimore Colts season, the year they didn't win a championship. It was the second game of the 1965 season. With the Colts trailing the Green Bay Packers by three points and driving for a touchdown when Tom Matte fumbled the ball into the arms of a waiting Herb Adderley.

The next 10 games saw the Colts win nine and tie one. The Horseshoe Helmets lost, 13-0, to the streaking Chicago Bears - who were bolstered by two rookies named Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus - at Memorial Stadium. Colts quarterback John Unitas was injured in that game.

The Colts lost the next week to the Packers. Backup quarterback Gary Cuozzo went down in that one. The team's record was 9-3-1 to the Packers 10-2-1, and the Colts needed a miracle to beat the Los Angeles Rams while hoping the then-dreadful San Francisco 49ers beat or tied the Packers in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The impossible happened: The Colts beat the Rams, and the 49ers tied the Packers, setting up a Colts-Packers playoff for the Western Conference championship. Colts halfback Tom Matte had to be pressed into service as a quarterback. Wearing a wristband with plays on it, Matte led the Colts to a 10-10 regulation tie in one of the most exquisite and classic NFL games ever played. For Colts fans, it was a real heartbreaker. The game ended, 13-10, a little over a minute into the second overtime period on a 25-yard field goal that kicker Don Chandler actually missed. The hopes of an entire city were dashed by a bad call.

This game - including Matte's wristband, which is in the NFL Hall of Fame - are part of the Baltimore Colts history and legacy, not the Indianapolis Colts history and legacy. Do you see how it grates on us that the Indianapolis Colts are trying to convince the world that they won Super Bowl V, 16-13, over the Dallas Cowboys, not the team that actually did it - the Baltimore Colts?

No, you probably don't. And that's precisely my point.

gregory.kane@baltsun.com

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