Thursday, March 26, 2009

Discussing Baltimore hate: Colts v. Steelers as Silver Anniversary of Colts' moves nears

This Saturday is March 28th and for those of you old enough to remember, it marks the silver anniversary of the Colts departure from Baltimore. Under the cover of a snowy night on March 28, 1984, Bob Irsay and his merry band of yes-men escaped to Indianapolis.

For those wounded by the move, has the pain subsided?

Have you moved on?

While listening to Rob Long’s show earlier this week on Fox 1370 Sports Radio, Rob raised an interesting question: “Do you feel more hatred towards the Steelers or towards the Colts?”

My guess is that the Steelers pump up your blood pressure far more than the Colts.

Rob leaned towards the Colts and stated that the venom directed towards Peyton Manning & Co. exceeded that directed towards Mike Tomlin’s crew. Rob’s measuring stick was the level of disappointment following the Ravens’ loss to the Colts during the Divisional Playoff in 2007 compared to the level of disappointment following the loss to the Steelers in the AFC title game this past January.

I completely and respectfully disagree with Rob’s assessment.

In 2006, the Ravens finished the season at 13-3. Heading into the playoffs many proclaimed them to be the 2007 postseason’s most dangerous team and they were hosting a team in the Indianapolis Colts that appeared to be a good matchup for the Ravens. Ravens’ fans expected a win and even looked ahead with hopes that the New England Patriots would defeat the San Diego Chargers so that Baltimore could host the AFC Championship Game.

It didn’t happen.

To make matters worse, the Patriots did beat the Chargers.

Conversely no one expected the Ravens to be remotely near postseason play in 2008-09.

And when they did make it, every win seemed like a bonus for a team already playing with house money. So when the Ravens ultimately lost to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the third loss against the Steelers during the same season, most fans got what they expected.

After the loss fans were consoled by the fact that their expectations were far exceeded in 2008-09.

No the bitterness of the loss did not approach that of the loss to the Colts in January ’07. But it had nothing to do with hating the Colts more than the Steelers. Nothing!

It had everything to do with the level of postseason expectation.


Jerry B said...

This poses an interesting conundrum for me, TL. As a native Baltimorean who has lived through the loss of a football franchise twice, I will always harbor resentments for Bob Irsay, not just for moving "his" team, but also in the deceitful and reprehensible manner in which he literally snuck out of town like a thief under the cover of darkness! To me, that is another date that will "live in infamy"! That being said,I have to admit to having developed a loathing for all things Pittsburgh that now transcends my enmity for Bob Irsay's Colts. In fact, Peyton Manning and his team are a "class act". Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the Steelers.........