America weighs in on loss

Viewpoints

January 15, 2007

A sampling of opinion from around the country on the Ravens-Indianapolis Colts game:

Dave Anderson, The New York Times: The Colts didn't dare return the way they left nearly 23 years ago: in a dozen yellow Mayflower moving vans.

Instead, the Indianapolis expatriates arrived for Saturday's divisional playoff in the Super Bowl tournament in their usual caravan of buses, which exposed them to an ugly welcome from Ravens loyalists as well as to Thomas Wolfe's observation that you can't go home again. At least not in the playoffs to Bawlmore, as the natives pronounce it. ...

As the Colts whooped into their dressing room, linebacker Cato June thought back to the franchise's departure in 1984.

"Where's the Mayflower?" he said with a big smile, alluding to the vans that went to Indianapolis. "Let's get out of here."

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times: The buildup to this first-ever old-Baltimore-vs.-new-Baltimore playoff game, in this city that refuses to forget and never will forgive, held that linebacker Ray Lewis and the Ravens' defense would take no prisoners. A crowd of 71,162, a record for a football game in Baltimore, showed up to see just that.

Instead, while keeping the Colts out of the end zone in a game without a touchdown, it allowed the golden toe of veteran Adam Vinatieri to deliver yet another Indianapolis indignity to Baltimore. The last of Vinatieri's five field goals, from 35 yards with 23 seconds left, was the clinching score. It was also a kick delivered to a team and a city that is down now. Way down.

Ravens coach Brian Billick could only state the obvious.

"I'm disappointed for the fans," he said. "They were deserving of better than that."

In general, so were fans watching at home. As NFL playoff games go, this one left an odor.

David Neal, The Miami Herald: Baltimore, the city, and the Ravens called the fight. They called the opponent, those high-scoring pretty boys who left this city to live indoors in Indianapolis, outside for an Inner Harbor pregentrification, lip-fattening, welt-raising brawl.

The Colts obliged - and survived, winning, 15-6, on five field goals by Adam Vinatieri.

Truly, this was a game that needed the Colts' old Baltimore home, the grand sandlot called Memorial Stadium. The light rain that fell before kickoff would have made the field mucky enough that all the players would have left with browned uniforms and dirt-caked faces.

Rick Gosselin, The Dallas Morning News: I've been to several Ravens games in Baltimore over the years. You would always see fans wearing vintage Colts jerseys with the names Unitas, Moore and Berry on the back - tributes to Hall of Famers Johnny, Lenny and Raymond, who helped the Colts win those NFL championships for Baltimore.

But there were no such Colts jerseys on this day. There were a smattering of Peyton Manning No. 18 jerseys in the stands - but this was the day Baltimore intended to finally divorce itself from the Colts.

Mike Vaccaro, New York Post: The citizens of Baltimore had waited 23 years to exact this kind of revenge on the Colts. Robert Irsay, the man who moved them to Indiana, has been dead ... 10 years, but that didn't much matter. Manning was 8 years old when the team relocated. That didn't matter much, either. The fans greeted the Colts with a Greek chorus of middle fingers and obscene chants. Behind their Colts' bench, a sign stretched across the field-level 50-yard seats: "19 will always be greater than 18."

"Well," Manning would quip later, "I can't say that I disagree with that."

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