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Bill Belichick was a huge Colts fan growing up

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Jets Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Before Bill Belichick was one of the greatest coaches in NFL history who had plenty of success against the Colts, he was a big Colts fan.

Belichick grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and was a huge fan of the Baltimore Colts. His first job in the NFL was actually as an assistant coach with the Colts in 1975, and it’s clear that he still remembers his time as a Colts fan fondly, as he talked at length today about it. The Patriots will face the Baltimore Ravens this week, so it was a natural chance to talk about his love for the Baltimore Colts.

“Where I grew up, the Colts were my team,” Belichick said today, according to ESPN’s Doug Kyed. “In Annapolis we were fortunate because from a football standpoint, I mean at that time, there weren’t many games on TV but we got the Colts and the Redskins. But it was kind of all Colts for me. Those great Colt teams of the 50s, late 50s and 60s, I could give you a starting lineup on both sides of the ball, all of those guys. I got to meet many of them through the years, Johnny Unitas, and Alex Sandusky working my dad’s football camp and things like that, meeting the coaches up there. So that was really a dram for me to be able to just wear the horseshoe helmet on my shirt when I worked for the Colts. That was a great source of pride and I learned an incredible amount that year working with Coach [Ted] Marchibroda and the Colts organization.

“It’s always a little - when you’re from that area and you’re connected to the team and you see that team playing somewhere else and the way it happened and came down, it’s a little bit of that childhood nostalgia that it’s just not the same anymore. The Ravens - I mean the look is about as different from the Browns, but it really was the Browns. But that’s - agin, the world we live in. I don’t have any control over any of those situations so I’m not going to worry about them, but you think back to the way things were in the 60s when I grew up and you had Coach [Don] Shula and the Colts and Unitas and [Raymond] Berry and all those guys. [Jimmy] Orr’s corner and the great defense, [Gino Marchetti] and [Gene] Lipscomb, [Art] Donovan, [Don] Shinnick, [Bill] Pennington, Bobby Boyd, I mean all of those guys, Lenny Moore. I mean, what great teams, great stadium, great environment. Baltimore loved the Colts. I mean, they just loved the Colts. From a Baltimore standpoint, I know they love the Ravens and it’s great that they have a team there that they can love because they’re great sports fans. They’re great football fans, they’re great baseball fans and they’re great lacrosse fans. They support their teams in a phenomenal way, and I was one of them. So it’s a great area; love Baltimore, love Annapolis. I hope we do well against the Ravens Monday night and then I’ll get back to loving them some more for the holidays.”

The Indianapolis Colts still consider the Baltimore Colts a part of their history, and Johnny Unitas and the others are still very much a part of the franchise’s record books. There’s been a lot of debate over that, but it’s still pretty cool - and somewhat ironic - that Bill Belichick was a huge Colts fan growing up. His first job was with the team as well, and now he’s had a ton of success against them as a head coach, so I guess it’s come full circle.