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Know Your Colts History: Can't Avoid the Subject

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Considering the name of this weekly post is Know Your Colts History, I suppose it's my duty to make some sort of comment about the Colts moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis, in light of the ESPN documentary this week.  It's an especially good week to talk about this given that my laptop is in the shop (again) and I don't have a good way to take snapshots from last week's game without it. 

I should probably preface my thoughts on the subject by saying that I don't have any geographical ties to Indianapolis or Baltimore, so I don't have a bone to pick with either side.  Both cities have a unique charm, and I would highly encourage checking out both cities if you ever get the chance.  I should probably also mention that my boss grew up near Baltimore, so he haaaaaaaaates the Colts.  Despite this, we still manage to talk about football quite a bit and I haven't been fired yet, so yay for me.  Of course, I try to avoid bringing up the whole move thing whenever possible.

Anyways, here are some bulleted thoughts on the debate:

  • Nobody was in the right in this situation, but no one was in the wrong either.  Robert Irsay should have been more patient with a fanbase who remained strong despite some lean years for the team.  Still, you can't blame him for moving once Baltimore tried to exert eminent domain.  Baltimore should have done more to build a new stadium in support of everything they meant to the city, rather than trying to exert eminent domain.  Still, I can understand why Baltimore tried to do what they did, because the team was such an integral part of the city.  As always, the losers are the fans.  Baltimore had to go 12 years without a football team and Indianapolis has to deal with scorn of Baltimore fans, even though they weren't the ones responsible for what happened.
  • I love the Colts' identity, the blue horseshoe, the shoulder strpies, everything.  That said, I think it would've been best for both sides if the team had taken a new identity when they arrived in Indianapolis, like Browns did when they moved to Baltimore.  Keeping the identity is a not-so-subtle slap in the face to fans who had their team stripped away from them.  It's like seeing your ex-girlfriend making out with her new boyfriend in the sweater you bought her.
  • I understand Baltimore's bitterness, I really do.  It's hard to say "Get over it" without understanding the passion they rooted for their team with, but it's time to move on.  Robert Irsay is gone, Baltimore won a Super Bowl before Indy, and you have a baseball team.  Life isn't bad.
  • Regardless of what side of the debate you fall on, you should read this book if you get the chance and watch this for sure.

One of the times that I did talk to my boss about the move he told me that there was a Sports Illustrated article from a while back where Robert Irsay's mother called her son the devil.  At first I assumed that he must have had the quote wrong or something.  I mean, who on earth calls their son the devil?  But after a little research, I can tell you that the story is true. 

Irsay's mother, Elaine, is 84 years old and in failing health. Reached by phone at her home in Rolling Meadows, Ill., Mrs. Irsay, who still has a rich Hungarian accent, said, "He's a devil on earth, that one." Every few seconds she paused for breath, her voice rising at the start of each thought, then quickly tiring. "He stole all our money and said goodbye. He don't care for me. I don't even see him for 35 years. My husband, Charles, sent him to college. I made his wedding. Five thousand dollars, it cost us. When my husband got sick and got the heart attack, he [Bob] took advantage. He was no good," she said. "He was a bad boy. I don't want to talk about him."

Yeah.  When a mother calls her son A DEVIL ON EARTH, that's pretty crazy.  Perhaps Elaine's mind had wandered in her closing years and all of the thing she was accusing Robert of were false, I don't know.  But I get the feeling that there had to be some serious dysfunction in that household for things to reach the point they did, regardless of which side was in the wrong.  I wonder if it was anything like living in the Boucher household. 

Thank goodness Jim managed to steer clear of all that.  I don't think that it's coincidence that the Colts have become one of the premier franchises in sports since he took over as owner.  Sure, Peyton had a little bit to do with the turnaround, but Jim has done more than his fair share to help turn this team into the powerhouse that it is.  In an era where power-hungry owners like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder run their teams into the ground by putting their hands in everything, Irsay's ownership approach is a breath of fresh air.