I guess it's all a question if who truly owns the legacy: the fans or the team owner. The team has a city's name attached, and that city's fans pay to watch, but the team owner takes the financial risks to field that team.
I take issue with the idea that a team owner works to assemble, field and maintain a team, but is somehow obligated to forfeit the history of what was done because he operated his business in an ungrateful city. I didnt forget that Modell was stuck in a crap stadium, i just dont really care. And as for your "solid NFL city" comment, why were they struggling so mightily for so long to fill the stadium?
Frankly, I really don't care what Bob may or may not have promised. The guy never earned much respect from me. His son, though, is something special. From my perspective, "Colts" is still first and foremost an Irsay legacy, and as a fan, I pay (through season tickets and merchandise) for the right only to enjoy that legacy.
Again, it's my perspective, but neither you nor the city of Baltimore own any more than the right to have enjoyed it while it was there. Perhaps if you (collectively) took a more active part in that role then, Memorial would have sold out more, the city could have justified investing in a better stadium, the State could have avoided its stupid impulse to steal the team, the trucks wouldn't have been hired, and we wouldn't be having this rediculous conversation.
You have to understand that the history we are talking about occured before the Irsays swapped for the Colts. This would be pre-1972. Bob Irsay got the team in 1972, so all of this occured before his family owned the franchise, and he was in Chicago probably. As I said earlier, the Baltimore Colts had record sellouts before Bob Irsay ran the team into the ground. Yes, attendance was low in Baltimore during the final years, but I would also remind you the Indianapolis attendance was quite low the last years of Bob Irsay. When fans have no hope, many stay away. It's that way in most cities. I would also remind you that Baltimore has had sellouts since 1996, with combined with the years before Irsay, make it a great NFL city. I would also say that Indy has also proven itself to be a solid NFL city, with a great stadium.
If this was an Irsay legacy, the NFL would have awarded the Super Bowl 5 replica trophy to Indianapolis, and Jimmy would have put a second diamond on your 2006 Super Bowl ring. He was asked about this and basically said this was the Indianapolis Colts first NFL Championship. I actually think he showed alot of class and sensitivity in this act.
I'm not replaying the move from Baltimore , or the reasons why. All I'm saying is that Jim Irsay could do what Modell was forced to do with Cleveland, and at least give the old records back and put the Baltimore Hall of Famers in their rightful place. The Colts moniker will obviously remain in Indianapolis, and the Ravens in Baltimore. For people that are merely Colts fans, and have no affinity to the cities of Baltimore or Indianapolis, you can just enjoy both eras.
I'm sure alot of people in Indianapolis have alot of civic pride , as they should have. I've been to Indy many times, and it's a great city, good NFL town, nice stadium, and of course St. Elmos. Bob Irsay once told Baltimore, " This isn't your team, our team, this is my team, my family's team. " While that may be technically true, these were the kind of comments , and shopping the team around, that killed attendance and hope in Baltimore. If he would have said this about Indianapolis, I would aslo have been insulted, because these NFL teams are important to the cities, a great source of civic pride, and we , as fans, do believe it is our team. I was also a season ticket holder in Baltimore from 1967-1983, and as I was there, I also believe I have a right to this leagcy, as well as the current Raven's legacy.