March 29 is a significant day in NFL history. On this day in 1984, the Colts franchise picked up and moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis overnight. Then on this day in 1996, the Ravens franchise was established in Baltimore.
The city of Baltimore had NFL football back in town, and it turns out they almost had the Colts back, too. CBS Sports' John Breech today dug up an article from the Baltimore Sun in 1996 that included a very interesting report. Apparantly, when Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and was deciding on a team name, he tried to buy the "Colts" name from the Irsay family for $5 million in February of 1996.
Jim Irsay was willing to listen, but his pricetag was considerably higher than Modell's - Irsay was looking for something between $25-50 million for the name, which is something Modell wasn't willing to pay. In fact, the Baltimore Sun reported at the time that the talks never even reached the negotiation stage.
The only reason that Jim Irsay was even considering selling the team name (for the right price, of course) was because of an estate tax issue. His father, Robert Irsay, had suffered a stroke and Jim Irsay was concerned that he might not be able to afford the estate taxes, and he realized that the extra $25 million could help. Even then, however, it sounds like he never seriously considered it, only that he was open to listening to see if he could get a good price.
It doesn't matter much today, but it's an interesting piece of history to consider on this significant day in the history of Indianapolis and Baltimore NFL franchises.