Events of Note In Baltimore Colts History


The following abbreviated Colts history should satisfy short attention spans, but for legitimate, in-depth histories, visit the sites listed at the bottom of this page that I used to create this brief history of time.



The first team known as the Baltimore Colts played in the All-America Football Conference from 1947-1950.  The team joined the National Football League in 1950, only to be disbanded after financial difficulties.


The Baltimore Colts marching band is formed.



Memorial Stadium, the “world’s largest outdoor insane asylum” and the “Old Gray Lady of 33rd Street” is built on 33rd Street (of course), bounded by Ellerslie Avenue, 36th Street, and Ednor Road.  It cost $6.5 Million and had room for 31,000 fans.



Led by a Carroll Rosenblum-led group, Baltimore regained the Colts franchise in 1953 by adopting the defunct Dallas Texans team.



The Pittsburgh Steelers draft and release some guy named Johnny Unitas.



Colts sign Unitas as a free agent for $17,000.



Colts defeat NY Giants 23-17 for franchise’s1st NFL Championship.



Colts win franchise’s 2nd NFL Championship by defeating the Giants 31-16.



Colts lose to Cleveland Browns 27-0 in NFL Championship.



In the Western Conference Championship, the Green Bay Packers’ Don Chandler kicks a field goal near the end of the game to tie it at 10.  The Packers won in overtime, 13-10, and captured the first of its three consecutive NFL Championships by defeating the Browns.  Though the kick that tied the game at 10 was called good, several newspapers published photographs proving this was the incorrect call.  It didn’t help that Chandler’s body language suggested the kick missed right.  The ball traveled over the right field goal post which did not have a referee underneath (as there are two today).  This miscall made the NFL extend the field goal posts with the “Baltimore Extension” and add an official under each field goal post for attempts.  Here’s an article about the miscall and the referee in the Baltimore Examiner.




Baltimore defeats the Browns 34-0 in the NFL Championship game.  The heavily-favored Colts are then upset by the American Football League’s NY Jets 16-7 in Super Bowl III.



The AFL and NFL merge and move the Colts to the AFC.  Colts win Super Bowl V.



Colts make it to the AFC Championship, but lost to the Miami Dolphins 21-0.


Carroll Rosenblum trades the rights to the franchise to Robert Irsay for the rights to his Los Angeles Rams.



Led by QB Bert Jones and a defensive line known as the “Sack Pack,” the Colts capture three consecutive AFC East division titles.


On December 19, 1976, a Piper Cherokee plane, colored blue and white of course, crashed into Memorial’s Stadium’s upper tier after a game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers with a soldout crowd of 60,000.



Baltimore drafts John Elway with the first pick of the 1983 draft, only to trade him because he refused to play for the team.


Colts play final game at Memorial Stadium on December 18 versus the Houston Oilers.



Despite public statements that it would not occur, Robert Irsay moved the team in the early morning of March 29 to Indianapolis, fearing eminent domain after Baltimore officials did not agree to help build a new stadium.



Memorial Stadium is demolished.



Baltimore Colts History Sites


Wikipedia’s history of the Colts franchise provided much of the information here.


Visit Colts Heritage and help give the Baltimore Colts their own place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by signing the petition.


Sports Encyclopedia Colts history page


Raven’s Nest has great Baltimore Colts sections with a franchise chronology and team stadiums.




Season-by-season drafts, rosters, game results, and statistics.


The NFL History Network lists box scores for every game in NFL history.


Season records with rosters, stats, coaches, and other facts.




There are lots of Colts exhibits throughout the Babe Ruth Museum by Camden Yards.



For a video history of the Colts as well as a 30-second CNN report from that fateful night in 1984, visit the Video/Audio Clips page.


New York Times: New York and Baltimore's Role in the History of the NFL.