Throwback – Indianapolis (né Baltimore) Colts

throwback-baco2 Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Blue
Grey
White

No courtesy notifications were sent to Baltimore that a popular source of revenue/city morale is going away.  Robert Irsay just loaded a fleet of moving trucks and hauled ass to Indianapolis as soon as Indianapolis sweetened their loan deal.  So by midday of March 29, 1984 the Baltimore Colts were no more.  Robert Irsay’s Midnight Ride also took with him the Colts history he shaped in Baltimore (including Superbowl wins, historical rosters, records, and team colors). For all parties involved this situation sucked.  Baltimore Colts fans witnessed their team slide from playoff perennials to mediocrity.  They wanted their team to be relevant again yet all they witnessed were politicians and Bob Irsay playing chicken.  Baltimore legislature liked the goodwill the Colts gave them but had no money to foot the bill for stadium repairs.  Their city coffers did not have that kind of funding to support the Colts*.  Robert Irsay rightly believed that retrofitting and upgrading Memorial Stadium could help bring the Colts back to playoff contention.  Irsay also did not have that kind of funding.  Irsay also knew a good deal when he saw one.  He left for new opportunities and left Baltimore to spiral into a violent crack town in the 1980s and 1990s.  He should have left a press statement or give a press conference to explain the move to long time Baltimore Colts fans. The Baltimore Ravens with their Superbowl victories have helped ease the hurt.  There is a generation of children that only know the Ravens as their team in the Baltimore area.  Their parents and older relatives would have to retell the glory of the true team that came before, the Baltimore Colts, and the scary story of Robert Irsay’s Midnight Ride.

*  I am assuming local politicians had good intentions.  Like many local political stories I’m sure there was corruption and dick waving that played a factor into Robert Irsay’s Midnight Ride. Continue reading

Throwback – Jacksonville Jaguars

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Black
Gold
White
Teal

The Jaguars filled a void for professional football in the southern United States.  During those early years (roughly 1996-2000) they were a force to be reckoned with.  Things like winning streaks, playoff appearances, and stomping out NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino on his last bid for the Superbowl.  Did you know current New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars at that time?  Well, even he couldn’t keep a good thing going.  Many of the starting lineup were cut due to salary cap, an coach Tom couldn’t plug his replacements back into the winning formula.  The Jaguars franchise is now old enough to start “finding” iteself.  I hope they find a way to be relevant in the playoff picture again.  The only real headlines they made lately were those godawful helmets they debuted last season.

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Throwback – Tennessee Titans (né Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers)

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Columbia Blue
Red
White

Texas football is ingrained since birth and you root for your local team only.  Normally Houston teams looked down on Dallas teams and vice versa.  This didn’t happen to the Houston Oilers.  Poor attendance, average records, no press support, and the popular Dallas Cowboys stealing the potential fan base forced owner Bud Adams to move the team east.  The new location didn’t do much for the Oilers.  Both seasons were they were the Tennessee Oilers they were 8-8.  The other new NFL expansion teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Caroline Panthers) could boast better records or more exciting football to watch.  The Oilers changed their name to the Titans.  The Titans found early success in a Superbowl bid in their inaugural season (1999).  Ever since that Superbowl loss the Titans are back to where they started with a mediocre record, a team with few standouts, and getting little media attention.
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Throwback – Buffalo Bills

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Red
White
Blue

Athletic abilities does not equate to a decent human being.  Take O.J. Simpson.  He was a lightning quick as a Buffalo Bills running back in the 1970s.  His record for fewest games to 1000 yards and 2000 in a single season still hold up.  He made Hall of Fame defenses look like high school JV linemen, especially the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I’m sure O.J. Simpson would regularly be in the list of greatest rushers of all time if it weren’t for his life outside of football.  Where to begin?  The murder trial circus, bankruptcy, jail time, drug addiction, and a tell all “confession” book that made more headlines from the circumstances of the publication rather than the contents of the actual publication.  Well, his acting career wasn’t that bad.

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Throwback – Miami Dolphins

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Turquoise
Orange
White

There is a reason why the 1972 Dolphins Perfect Season and Superbowl victory is heralded:  No other team has yet to repeat it.  The Patriots came very close in Superbowl XLII (42) but the New York Giants stomped those hopes.  The number of things that have to go right for your team and wrong for your opponents to get to perfect season and Superbowl victory is mind boggling.  Here is one possible way to simulate the dominance of the 1972 Dolphins:  Completely load up your fantasy Madden team and max out stats for all of your players.  Make sure that you are ranked #1 in offense and defense every week for the entire season.  Your rushers and pass catchers have Hall of Fame numbers.  Finally, you must be a tactical genius on the offensive side of the ball.  We have to use a video game to fathom what actually happened to the 1972 Dolphins.

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Throwback – New England Patriots

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Team Colors 

Note: Names not official
Red
White
Blue

I have put the following entry on my bucket list:

Go to the Patriots Hall of Fame in Gillette Stadium to see the snow plow involved in the Snowplow Game.

The Snowplow Game is schadenfreude when reading Miami Dolphins’ history, but an amusing boon in New England Patriots’ history.  December 12, 1982 is when Miami faced New England.  There is 4:45 left in the 4th quarter and the score is 0-0.  Bad weather the previous day made the field icy and weather during game day was snow.  Patriots coach Ron Meyer requested for part of the field to be plowed before Patriots kicker John Smith attempts to score a field goal.  The snow plow went across the field, then made a little curve right at the area where John Smith would kick, then continued plowing to the other side.  The curve made the perfect kicking area and the Patriots won the game.  Miami coach Don Shula was understandably upset but the final score stood.  0-3 New England was the final score.

Yes folks, that snowplow can be seen in Gillette Stadium.  I’m sure we’ll both be chuckling when we gaze upon this relic and its moment in football lore.

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Throwback – New York Jets (né Titans)

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Green
White

The Jets’ 1968 season led to their well chronicled Superbowl victory, but it also changed sports TV broadcasting forever.  Their game against the Oakland Raiders ( November 17, 1968) had to go past the TV scheduled slot.  Despite a very close game ( 32–29 Raiders) and having a little over a minute left in the 4th quarter, many stations (except for the west coast) switched over to a broadcast of the film Heidi right on schedule.  Only a little ticker at the bottom of the screen showed the final score (43–32 Raiders).  The viewing public that was forced to watch Heidi flooded their local NBC stations with calls, understandably upset that they didn’t see the end of the game.  In response TV broadcasters changed their sports broadcast policy.  All games are now seen to their conclusion, scheduled programs and sponsors be damned.  This moment in TV history is affectionately known as the Heidi Incident.
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