Friday, April 3, 2009

25th Anniversary of the Colts Move to Indianapolis

I have often heard the story of Robert Irsay moving the Colts "in the middle of the night," but I don't think I ever really heard the full story.

Unable to negotiate an agreement with the Colts to keep them in town, Baltimore tried to emulate the bizarre accomplishment of the city of Oakland, which had earlier persuaded the California Supreme Court that to take the Oakland Raiders’ NFL franchise by eminent domain and convey it to another, more municipally favored person or entity who would promise to remain in Oakland, was not impermissible under the “public use” clause of the Constitution.


Anyway, Baltimore thought it could do the same thing with the Colts, but it didn’t reckon with the fact that the Colts’ management wasn’t asleep and, having learned a valuable lesson from the Raiders fiasco, was ready for the city’s move. . . .. So, as the Maryland Legislature was putting final touches in legislation that would permit the city to condemn the Colts’ NFL franchise, the Colts got ready to split. And split they did. They made secret arrangements with the Mayflower moving company, and during the night of March 29, 1984, a fleet of moving vans appeared at the Colts’ headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., loaded up and headed out. As the sun rose the next morning, the Colts were gone, lock stock and barrel, well on their way to Indianapolis, and safely out of the Maryland territorial limits.

(Man-caused tip to Ilya Somin)

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