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Ravens History Part 4: The Dark Ages

The Irsay-Mobile
The Irsay-Mobile

Please welcome a new addition to the "Baltimore History" series, this article is about the nearly 3 decades of struggle in the city of Baltimore and the evil treacherous act of Bob Irsay.... I hope you enjoy this new installment in this popular series.

(More after the "Jump"...)

The next 13 years were embarrassing for the Baltimore Colts. More than 5 losing seasons, disappointing playoff losses, and probably the worst of all was the John Elway fiasco. In the 1982 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Colts held the first overall pick. With that pick they decided to take QB John Elway out of Stanford. John Elway was going to be the replacement for Johnny Unitas, who left the Colts in 1972, and was succeeded by 11 years of make-shift quarterbacks that had poor performances, and ultimately led the Colts to 13 years of shame. Baltimore Colts' owner, Bob Irsay, was tired of this. His solution was to draft the highest ranked QB in the draft, and turn him into the next Johnny Unitas. His plan backfired to say the least; Elway publicly stated he refused to join the Colts, feeling the team would not allow him to be successful After Baltimore selected him anyway, he demanded a trade. Eventually, Irsay gave in, and traded Elway to the Broncos for a first-round draft pick (OT Chris Hinton).

The next two years were terrible to say the least. In 1983 they had a poor 7-9 season finishing on the bottom of the AFC East. Because of dwindling attendance causing a lack of income for the franchise, there were talks of relocation to another city, where they could attract more guests in a nicer stadium to make a higher income. But late at night on March 29, 1984 when all of the citizens of Baltimore were asleep, owner, Bob Irsay, committed one of the most atrocious acts in Baltimore history; he packed up the team and moved to Indianapolis, taking all of the Baltimore Colts' history and records with him as well. To this day, Bob Irsay is one of the most hated men in Maryland. While Bob has since passed away, his son Jim is the current owner of the Indianapolis Colts and is considered a decent guy. However, all Baltimore fans see is the last name, which makes him no different than his father to most Baltimore fans.

This act left the city of Baltimore without football for the next 12 years. But then a miracle happened; the owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, announced his intentions to relocate the Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore. In February, 1996, the NFL announced that the Cleveland Browns would be "deactivated'" for 3 years, and that a new stadium would be built in Cleveland for an expansion team that would be established and begin play in 1999. Unlike Bob Irsay, Art Modell had the decency to leave all of the previous franchise's history in its former city, instead of stealing the city of its history.