Forgotten Dynasty, Episode 1: In the Beginning:
In episode 1 of “Forgotten Dynasty” we take a look at both the origins of the Baltimore Colts, and some of their early glory days in the 1950’s. Born in Baltimore at the turn of the 20th century, Carroll Rosenbloom was a man of great intellect and business chops, to the point that he found himself somewhat bored amidst all the success he was having. When the opportunity for him to get into sports ownership came up, he reluctantly took it, unsure of the stability of the fledgling National Football League, and worried about the pressures of owning a public trust in his hometown. It was the great fortune of hiring a brilliant head coach, who in turn found one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the sport on the scrap heap that brought championships to Charm City, and quickly alleviated his concerns. As for Baltimore itself, they got to witness greatness unfolding before them; greatness that in turn influenced much of the rest of the power players in the young NFL, raising the profile and stakes of and for all who were involved.
Episode 2: Thoroughbreds:
The 1960’s were an extremely formative decade in the United States. It was a clash of many different things, namely the old world values of late 40’s and 50’s suburban postwar boom culture, and the new era of freewheeling young baby boomers and hippies that represented the first new generation post Golden age. They were also a formative, tumultuous, successful, and volatile decade for the Baltimore Colts. Still led by mainstay Johnny Unitas under the watchful eye of owner Carroll Rosenbloom, they were poised to take on the football world after making the addition of wunderkind head coach in Don Shula. But it was Shula’s frayed relationship with Unitas that dated back to his days as a player, as well as some difficulty with winning big games that put his relationship with Rosenbloom to the test. Meanwhile, the dawn of a new league that deliberately ran counter to the NFL simmered for years, until finally culminating in a merger that would allow for the age old debate of “old vs. new” decided on the gridiron in an entirely new championship format that raised the stake for all parties involved. One of those parties was the old guard Colts, and another one, a team in this new league that was led by a scrappy, long haired quarterback who could talk a big game. Could he win a big game though? As the decade came to a close, the world of sports (and the greater one at large) came to find out in dramatic fashion.
Episode 3: A New Era:
As the tumultuous 1960’s came to a close, the Baltimore Colts were on unfamiliar shaky ground following their loss in Super Bowl III, and all the fallout that came from it. The most important piece of that was the complete and total fracture of the already tenuous relationship between Carroll Rosenbloom and Don Shula, the latter whom finally said enough was enough, and bolted from Baltimore for the warm shores of South Beach. Needing a replacement for him, Rosenbloom turned to an interior option in offensive coordinator Don McCafferty, a cool-headed, soft spoken individual who was beloved amongst the players for his easygoing nature. Anyone who thought he would prove to be too lax of an option that would allow the team to get complacent for the near future was wrong though, and they would learn that in short order. Mac and the 1970 Colts entered the season with one goal in mind: Ride the last legs of an all-time great in Johnny Unitas to the promised land at last. Would they prove themselves up to the task? Or would the old legend be put out to pasture without another ring to show for his immeasurable impact on the game?
Thanks for listening to Forgotten Dynasty: An Oral History of The Baltimore Colts - stay tuned next week for episode four.
This podcast is produced by Jake Louque (@Jakelouque) as a Baltimore Beatdown Podcast Limited Series, presented by SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown.