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A Little Bit of History - ESPN 30 for 30

There are some thing that have to be seen to be believed, and reality has a way of writing fantastic stories that almost seem like they must be fiction.

My only memory of the Colts leaving town is remembering the news reports the next day watching footage of trucks pulling out in a snowstorm. I was way too young to have an idea of what it really meant for a major sports team to leave town, and none of the actual circumstances of the event.

This film is eye-opening. I can hardly imagine the twists from the story it tells.

There are short clips of a now infamous press conference held by the then owner of the Colts, Robert Irsay. The mayor of Baltimore (and the media) met him at the airport for a press conference after an out-of-town trip where rumors were flying about discussions with other cities like Phoenix. He vehemently denied all the rumors and attacked the press-writers.

Owner wants renovations to the stadium, city and state balk at putting up the money, we've heard this story many times and that is part of what led Art Modell to move the Browns to Baltimore. So what's interesting about this story?

1) The press conference itself is absolute train-wreck TV. He cuts off the mayor multiple times, accuses members of the press of being out to get him, and weasel words his way out of questions by declaring that he's never been to Arizona. The clips in the story are the first I've seen from the press conference. Urban legend has it that he was drunk and it is now fairly well-known that he was an alcoholic. This show does include the beginning of the video from the press conference where Irsay does fail to open the door.
2) The focus of the story is the band, not just the team departure. They kept going by marching in parades and even playing in other NFL cities just to keep marching as the Baltimore Colts Marching Band. They even played at the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1991, seven years after the team left! Why? Inducted into the hall that year was Johnny Unitas.
3) How did the band keep their uniforms when everything else was boxed up and shipped out? The uniforms were at the cleaners! How did they keep them away from repo men before they could work out a deal with the team to buy them outright? The band hid them in a MAUSOLEUM!

Wow.

- Pookah

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
chrysalis
Oct. 18th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Wow, impressive. I may actually have to let Dad have one of his lecture/rants for a change!

Stuff like this is why I miss cable sometimes. :)
pookah
Oct. 20th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
Good point. I'm going to consider talking to my folks about it the next time I get a chance.

How are you doing? Are things settling back to normal after the weekend?

- Pookah
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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