Thirty years ago on a fateful snowy night in March of 1984, a Mayflower moving van was photographed pulling away from the Baltimore Colts training facility in Owings Mills. The van was transporting the Colts NFL franchise to Indianapolis and leaving Baltimore without a professional football team.
The Colts departure came eight years after owner Robert Irsay began flirting with other cities. He wanted a new stadium. Irsay watched Baltimore, Phoenix and Indianapolis try to outbid each other for the pleasure of his team’s company. In the end, he left for a new sports palace in Indianapolis.
The decision by the contentious owner to finally pull the plug in Baltimore was long rumored and feared by fans and politicians alike. The once vaunted franchise known for winning championships had not only slipped to mediocrity by the early 1980’s, but had stole away into the night.