It’s been more than a quarter of a century since the Colts arrived in Indianapolis, but many Baltimore football fans are still looking for revenge.

Many football fans in Baltimore will never forgive the Colts for abandoning the city without notice in 1984.

Baltimore got a new football franchise – the Ravens – 14 seasons ago. They delivered a Lombardi Trophy to the city after the 2000 season and have six playoff appearances to their credit.

Even so, Baltimore fans still hate the Colts.

To this day, Baltimore stadium announcers won’t address the team as the Indianapolis Colts when they visit.

Fans in Indianapolis see it as sour grapes, but if you put yourself in the shoes of Baltimore fans it’s easy to understand why the bitterness lingers.

Imagine if one morning your beloved Colts were gone – vanished into thin air. One night your city had an NFL team, the next morning all that remained was an empty complex and fresh tire tracks from moving vans peeling out in the wee hours of the night.

All of a sudden you had no NFL football team to follow. Even worse, your team didn’t simply disappear – it relocated to a new city. Same logo, same uniforms, same nickname … new city.

We can all relate to what Baltimore fans did next. They focused all their anger, hate, and grief on the city harboring their former team – Indianapolis. They rooted with all their might against their former team, hoping ownership would pay for their deceit.

It wasn’t as if the Ravens showed up a year or two after the move to ease the pain of a betrayed fan base. Baltimore football fans went 12 long seasons without an NFL team, their hate of the Indianapolis Colts slowly brewing as each year passed.

While the Ravens have experienced a good deal of success, they have yet to give Baltimore fans any tangible revenge against the city’s former team. In fact, Indianapolis owns a 7-2 series edge over the Ravens, including a 15-6 victory in Baltimore on their way to a Super Bowl championship in 2006.

Is there a revenge factor for the Ravens on the field Saturday? No. At least not for the reasons Baltimore fans seek revenge. Many players competing Saturday weren’t alive when the Colts packed their belongings in the middle of the night and bolted for Indianapolis.

But for most Baltimore fans over the age of 40, tonight is a chance to finally deliver a punishing blow to the franchise that broke their hearts back in 1984.

A Ravens win would not only knock the Colts out of the playoffs, it would also bring intense scrutiny upon a franchise that stubbornly balked at perfection to carry out a conservative philosophy that has failed them in the past.

So while it’s easy to scoff at Baltimore fans that still hold a grudge against the Colts, it’s not hard to understand why they do.

We’ll soon see if Baltimore fans finally get the revenge they’ve been waiting for, or if the Colts can add to the persisting animosity.

Advertisements