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IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME ALTHOUGH BALTIMOREANS STILL PINE FOR JOHNNY U AND THE OLD COLTS, THEY'RE GLAD TO HAVE THE RAVENS

Dec. 23, 1996
Dec. 23, 1996

Table of Contents
Dec. 23, 1996

Faces In The Crowd
Sportsman Of The Year

IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME ALTHOUGH BALTIMOREANS STILL PINE FOR JOHNNY U AND THE OLD COLTS, THEY'RE GLAD TO HAVE THE RAVENS

To understand what the NFL's return means to Baltimore, you
could start at Memorial Stadium. It's a throwback, a luxury-box-
and Jumbotron-free zone that is as fan-friendly as the Colosseum
in Rome. Oh, 46-year-old Memorial Stadium has its antiquated
charms, including bathrooms that overflow on schedule, like Old
Faithful, in the third quarter. (Game-day tip: Drink your beer
early.) For a stadium to be a throwback, though, all you need
are uncomfortable seats, bad sight lines and an absence of
designer coffee. Any place can have that. But turn your stadium
into a time machine, and you have something. In the case of
Memorial you have Diner meeting Back to the Future each
home-game Sunday at precisely 12:40 p.m. That's when the
Baltimore Colts band marches onto the field before a Baltimore
Ravens game. And the fans go slightly nuts. Fellini would have
loved it.

This is an article from the Dec. 23, 1996 issue Original Layout

This is as close to surrealism as you're likely to find in a
football stadium. The Colts band, outfitted in familiar blue and
white, hits the field playing that old standard Let's Go You
Baltimore Colts, as if it were 1958 and Johnny Unitas and Alan
Ameche and Big Daddy Lipscomb and Raymond Berry were waiting in
the tunnel. Remarkably, unaccountably, the band never disbanded.
Composed of believers in the one true faith, the Baltimore Colts
marching band has outlasted the Baltimore Colts football team by
12 years. It's music's answer to cryogenics.

"I know it sounds strange," said band member Ken Stastny, 28, as
the horns blared Jailhouse Rock during a recent rehearsal. "Why
did we stay together when, for all intents and purposes, that
friend we called the team had died? It's like we watered the
flowers every day even though we knew the flowers were dead.
But, lo and behold, the resurrection has come, and now we have a
team again. People thought we were the town idiots for so many
years. But now we can say, 'Hey, that was all worthwhile.'"

Football-crazy Baltimore survived 12 wilderness years without an
NFL franchise, 12 years of false hopes and failed expansion
dreams. But when it got a new team, well, that team was
Cleveland's old one. With one week left in the 1996 regular
season, the Ravens are 4-11. Their beat-up defense (nine
starters have missed at least one game because of injuries)
gives up nearly 30 points a game. Early in the season the Ravens
played tough against good teams--the Denver Broncos, the
Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots--only to fall short
at the finish. Since the middle of the season they have played
tough, only to blow leads at the end.

But more important than how the Ravens have played on the field
is how they've played in the stands. Yes, the games sell out.
No, it's not the same as the old days when the Colts were in
town. (Note to readers: This may be a recurring theme.) And
that's the problem. Ask anyone.

Ask Jim Phillips, 59, a 26-year member of the Colts Corral, the
old booster club, and now president of the Council of Baltimore
Ravens, the new booster club. It took Phillips seven years on
the waiting list to get into his chapter of the Corral.
"Somebody had to die," he explains. So far he's got about a
thousand Ravens Roosters. Still, the club is not what its
predecessor was. "Of course it's not the same," says Phillips.
"But it will be. You have to give it time."

Ask anyone who parks in the same place near Memorial Stadium
that he did when the Colts were here, who eats his pregame
brunch at the same restaurant, who sits on the same old and now
possibly threadbare Colts cushion. Everyone at a Ravens game
seems to have been an old Colts fan or to imagine that he was.
It's said that the past is a foreign country, but in Baltimore
it's the past that's familiar. The Ravens are unfamiliar.

If you go to a game, you'll see. There appears to be forced
enthusiasm. Ravens wide receiver Michael Jackson said early in
the year he felt he needed to hold up a sign: cheer now. When it
rained (yes, rained, not snowed, as it usually did in Cleveland)
on the day of the big home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers,
there were 12,623 no-shows. That's not exactly hysteria. That's
more like being in touch with your inner Weather Channel. That's
saying, Yeah, I put down my $150 for two tickets, but it's not
worth getting wet for, man. Hysteria meets common sense, and
common sense wins? What kind of football town is that?

But in an important way, football never left Baltimore, despite
that snowy night of March 28, 1984, when the Mayflower trucks
sneaked the team out of town and deposited it in Indianapolis.
The Colts weren't just a team in Baltimore, the way, say, the
Buccaneers are around Tampa Bay. The Colts were a religion,
which may be the oldest and most enduring football cliche, as
old as the single wing and as enduring as the halftime beer run.

If the Colts were not a religion, explain this: A new team has
come to town, but the old church keeps calling.

Forget Memorial Stadium. If you want to find football fans, go
to a bar. That's one thing that will never change. Baltimore has
many bars, but only a few of them have shrines.

In Brooklyn, a working-class neighborhood in south Baltimore,
near the docks and the factories that once made the city a
leading industrial center, there's a tavern called Club 4100,
and outside it is a shrine to Unitas, who used to stop in after
games. His handprint, of the right hand that threw the ball
39,768 yards for the Colts, is cast in a block of cement sitting
outside the joint. Every Easter for the last 28 years Manny
Spanomanolis, 56, and his brother Dino, 52, who run the place,
have had a party for hundreds of neighborhood kids. According to
Manny, Unitas has made it to the party 25 of those years and has
tossed a football with the kids. "He's a great gentleman," Manny
says, without risk of argument.

On this November night at Club 4100, Chuck Thompson, the Hall of
Fame voice of the old Colts, is having a book-signing party for
his memoir, Ain't the Beer Cold! And many of the old faithful
have shown. At the bar, sipping whiskey, is George Kelch. He's
wise in the ways of Baltimore and the Colts. He was a fan from
the beginning, back in 1947, when the first incarnation of the
Colts came to Baltimore as part of the All-American Football
Conference.

Kelch offers you a seat, a drink and his wisdom. Eventually,
inevitably, the conversation turns to the night the Colts stole
out of town. "Do I remember the day they left?" Kelch says. "Do
I remember Pearl Harbor? Do I remember my wedding day? The night
they left was a very sad, strange night. It was devastating,
personally devastating. For me, for thousands of people, it was
something we couldn't put into words. People would just look at
each other, and we knew we were all thinking the same thing: How
could this happen?"

Kelch nursed the wound for 12 years. And when the Ravens came to
Baltimore to be the new home team, he went to see them. He had
to. But the last thing he expected to happen was what happened:
He was let down. "The feeling just wasn't there," he says.
"Maybe I'm too old. But I just didn't feel anything. I looked at
those ugly damn uniforms--they look like Halloween costumes--and
they didn't look like my team. The Colts belonged to Baltimore.
You knew the players. You lived down the street from them. You
ate in the same restaurants. Johnny Unitas would come in here
and have a beer. How's that going to be the same?"

Maybe, Kelch muses, it's not the same because Baltimore stole
the team from Cleveland. "You know what it's like?" he says.
"It's like your wife left you, and then your best friend's wife
left him, and now you're living with her. It just doesn't feel
right."

As Kelch talks, there's sports on the TV over the bar, and
country music is playing in the background. Meanwhile, Madge,
who works behind the bar, and Big John, who drinks on the other
side, are talking Ravens. Madge is a fan, and Big John is not,
although he can tell you exactly how the Ravens blew the game
the previous Sunday.

"When the Colts left, it broke my heart," Madge, a woman in her
50s, says, "but now my children have a team. And their children
will have a team. I go there, and it feels the same--very
exciting. Some Colts fans can't accept this team. But I wanted
it so much. I just never got used to Sundays without a team. If
I had my way, everyone would be a Ravens fan. I know for all my
kids, all my grandchildren, it's going to be an all-Ravens
Christmas. All Ravens gifts."

Big John, a 61-year-old guy in a cowboy hat and boots, is a Club
4100 regular. He grabs you around the shoulder, presses you
close to his bearded face and speaks the truth. "My sports days
are over," he says, not sadly but loudly. "Let the young kids
have this team if they want. But it won't be the same. When the
Colts were here, you'd go to church on Sunday and pray for these
guys. I'd pray that [Green Bay Packers linebacker Ray] Nitschke
didn't get to Unitas. You going to pray for these guys today?
They'll be playing for somebody else before you finish. Look, I
wouldn't trade that time for nothing. I had my time. Let the
young people have theirs. At least they got something."

This is an argument that plays all over the city. The debate
began on the day the Browns (yet to be rechristened the Ravens)
came to Baltimore, stolen from Cleveland as surely as Esau's
birthright was swiped by Jacob. Most of the speakers at the news
conference heralding the Browns' arrival knew it was a somber
day: Although Baltimore was getting football back, Cleveland was
hurting in exactly the same way Baltimore had hurt 12 years
before.

Only Maryland governor Parris Glendening didn't seem to get it.
"It was fun," he shouted amid all the somber faces around him.
He thought the occasion was about politics and not about broken
hearts. He's not from Baltimore, of course, or he would have
known better. There were even whispers that he must be
a--gasp!--Washington Redskins fan, as if that explained his
insensitivity.

In Baltimore they're having to learn to love again. (For much of
the year it has been more like a first date. A little necking,
maybe, nothing more.) Once, the Colts owned the town. They sold
out every game, while the Orioles had empty seats during the
World Series. Now the Orioles draw 3.6 million a year. Turn on
sports talk radio, and if the announcer says, "Let's talk
Ravens," the next 15 calls are on whether the Orioles should
have kept Todd Zeile.

The Ravens are lovable, though, in the way that the 1962 New
York Mets were. They lose consistently, but they lose with
style. They're coached by lovable Ted Marchibroda, who coached
here the last time the Colts were any good. The stadium, though
packed, is not as noisy as when it was called the world's
largest outdoor insane asylum. It's impolitic even to say
"insane asylum" anymore. Times have changed, despite the
Baltimore Colts band.

Season highlights, in case you weren't paying attention.

Sept. 1: Ravens win opener, which might have been the big news
of the day if Baltimore hadn't decided to outlaw tailgating at
stadium parking lots. Riot narrowly averted.

Sept. 15: Ravens quarterback Vinny Testaverde throws three
interceptions. Guarantees he'll never have a day like that
again. Promises to see what he can do about tailgating situation.

Oct. 13: Ravens lose 26-21 at Indianapolis to hated Colts.

Nov. 3: Ravens start a four-game losing streak. Cop in parking
lot says, "I'm supposed to be writing tailgating tickets. Damn,
lost my pen."

Nov. 24: Ravens coaches, five of them, trapped in elevator for
most of third quarter. Maintenance crew spends much of that time
working on wrong elevator. While coaches are trapped, Ravens
outscore Jacksonville Jaguars 6-0. Upon coaches' release, Jags
outscore Ravens 18-3.

Dec. 1: Ravens beat Steelers in rain, breaking seven-game
franchise losing streak to Pittsburgh. Testaverde has sixth
three-touchdown game of season. Headed for Pro Bowl? Vinny? Yep.

Dec. 22: Ravens season ends. Indications are that city will
allow tailgating at new stadium when it opens in 1998. Who says
you can't have a happy ending anymore?

If you're looking for a sense of displacement, check out the
large men with large tattoos, the large men with large bank
accounts, the large men with tiny cellular phones in the Ravens'
locker room. These guys know what Baltimore is going through.
They're going through the same thing. "I may be a Baltimore
Raven," says Michael Jackson, "but I'm a Dawg for life. I guess
right now I'm a Dawg with wings."

Ah, the Dawgs. You can take the man out of the Dawg Pound (the
end-zone section at Cleveland Stadium where the Browns' most
rabid fans congregated), but you can't take the Dawg Pound out
of the man. In Cleveland it was acceptable to do a group strip
in subfreezing temperatures to spell out (sometimes correctly)
the team's name. It was also acceptable to dress up as a dog.
You can see how a player's attachment to this kind of fan would
develop.

Ravens center Steve Everitt, who was the Browns' first-round
draft pick in 1993, still feels the tug. He loves Cleveland. Not
likes Cleveland, loves Cleveland. Anyone can like Cleveland.
It's got the lake and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it
used to have Albert Belle. Here's what love is: Everitt grew up
in Miami yet decided to make Cleveland his year-round home. The
fans loved him for that and for his long hair and for the tattoo
of a knife down the middle of his back. And so, in honor of
those fans, Everitt wore a Browns bandanna under his helmet
during a Ravens preseason game--for which the ever-vigilant NFL
thought police fined him $5,000. To Everitt's amusement, the
letter from the league said the fine would come out of his
Browns paycheck.

"That was something I planned from Day One," Everitt said in
early November, while sitting out with a torn pectoral muscle.
In Cleveland, Everitt's torn pec would have been front-page
news, complete with medical diagrams and prognosis. In Baltimore
it's just a torn pectoral. "I felt like such a sellout," Everitt
says, his voice rising. "I've got tons of people back in
Cleveland who were hurting. Wearing the bandanna was just my way
of saying I appreciate the people back there. It was nothing
against Baltimore. I don't blame Baltimore for getting a team,
no way. And the Baltimore fans have been great. But it's
football season, and there's nothing going on in Cleveland, and
it kills me, man."

Ravens tackle Tony Jones, who played eight years with the
Browns, says Cleveland fans related especially well to linemen,
and linemen related right back. It was a blue-collar thing. You
wouldn't understand. "Those people knew that every Sunday I
would do whatever it took to give my team, my organization, my
city, a chance to win, and they loved that," he says. "I go out
in Cleveland, and I can't go nowhere without, 'Hey, T-Bone, man,
let me get you a drink.' In Baltimore the people don't know me.
They see me in the mall, and you can see them thinking, That's a
pretty big guy. If they find out I'm Tony Jones and I play for
the Ravens, they say, 'Dude, I hear you're supposed to be pretty
good.'" He laughs, and the big gold T-BONE necklace bounces
against his massive body. "Yeah, pretty good. You can't expect
nothing else. No way it's going to be like Cleveland, not for a
few years."

The Ravens player who probably fits in best is Testaverde, who
never fit in anywhere else before. His former life in Tampa is
best described in medieval terms. In Cleveland it wasn't much
better. "That was Bernie Kosar's town," Testaverde says. "No
matter what I did, short of a Super Bowl win, it was always
going to be Bernie Kosar's town.

"And then I come to Baltimore, which hasn't had a team all these
years, and now it's not even named the Colts. So it's not Johnny
Unitas's team or Bert Jones's team. That's something I hope to
make the best of. I know we haven't made it to the Super Bowl,
but one thing the Baltimore fans can say, we've played exciting
football. They've gotten their money's worth. And the fans have
been absolutely incredible."

Maybe this is the greatest indictment of Baltimore: There's no
quarterback controversy. Testaverde throws an interception at a
crucial moment, and the radio talk shows don't light up. And if
life is peaceful for Vinny, what does that say about the passion
for football here? Or maybe it's just that he is having such a
good year that he's won over the people.

The Ravens are starting to get a better sense of Baltimore--"The
food is great," Tony Jones says, "which is dangerous when you're
an offensive lineman"--and Baltimore is getting a better sense
of the Ravens. "It's growing on me," Jackson says. "That's the
best I can say when people ask me about Baltimore: It's growing
on me."

"People don't know," Art Donovan says, sitting in the kitchen of
the country club he owns in suburban Baltimore. "Believe me,
they have no idea."

Donovan is talking. And what you do when you're with Donovan is
listen. You've probably caught his act on Letterman. What makes
the act work is that it's so genuine. In the mid-1950s, before
the big money hit the game, Donovan nearly gave up the Colts to
be a New York City cop. In those days it wasn't a clear-cut
choice.

"We were Baltimore's college team," says Donovan, who came to
play for the Colts in 1950 and has been around Baltimore ever
since. "The people thought we were their kids. They knitted for
us, hats and scarves and sweaters, whatever you needed or didn't
need. They'd bake cakes for us. Loudy [the late superfan Hurst
Loudenslager] and his wife, Flo, made a cake for you on your
birthday every year. When we returned from a road game, they'd
be at the airport at 4 a.m. with a phonograph and a mile-long
extension cord to play the Colts' fight song. Didn't matter if
we'd won or lost. They'd be there. This is nuts, right? The
band. The fan clubs. I'm telling ya, it was like a college team.
All you had to do was be halfway nice to the people, and they
ate it up."

The Colts were at least halfway nice. In the era before Pete
Rozelle made pro football America's game, the Baltimore players
were out in the neighborhoods selling Colts football. If you
went to church before a game, one of the players might be there
for the Holy Name breakfast. If you went to a bar, it might be
Colts night. If you belonged to the Optimists, some Colt was
going to be at your meeting. The Colts were the community; the
community was the Colts. And by the late 1950s, when they were a
championship team, they sold out every game, which back then was
considered a phenomenon.

"We had this general manager, Don Kellett," Donovan says. "He
was a cozy guy, very cozy. He'd tell us we gotta go here, gotta
go there, gotta meet the people. We'd say, 'Mr. Kellett, why we
gotta go?' He'd say, 'It's your civic duty.'" Donovan laughs.
"Civic duty? Oh, he was something. And they didn't pay us a
penny, not a cent for that. He was cozy all right. People just
don't know."

When Donovan wasn't out in the neighborhood working for the
Colts, he was out in the neighborhood working for a local
distillery. Donovan was probably the first Mr. Baltimore Colt.
Unitas is an icon. But Artie is just Artie. Everybody in town
knew Art Donovan, and Art knew everyone right back.

"There was this guy," Donovan says, "we called him The Fan. What
the hell was his name? We went to his funeral. He took too much
interest in the Colts, and his plumbing business went to pot. I
remember this other man, Mr. Martin, who worked for the B&O
Railroad. He told me he was such a fan that if we lost, he
wasn't right again until Thursday. Couldn't do nothin' all week.
I told him, 'Mr. Martin, when we lose, we go out and get loaded
and forget about it the next day.'

"This is what it was like in Baltimore. It wasn't like anyplace
else. I tell the guys, if we'd played in Chicago or New York or
somewheres, we'd be forgotten. Baltimore is different. People
just don't know."

The Ravens, having been not so long ago the Browns, have some
idea. For the first game the old Colts were brought back to
Memorial Stadium. Johnny U handed off the ball, old to new. The
Ravens front office rounded up about 40 former Colts and put
them in Colts jerseys and then handed them Ravens jackets. Guess
what? The players couldn't rip those jackets off fast enough. "I
didn't want to be there," Donovan says. "What the hell should I
do this for? I'm not a Raven. They conned us into it. They got
their own team. Let them make their own history."

You can locate the future in a giant hole in the ground. By July
the hole will begin to look like a stadium. By September 1998 it
will actually be the Ravens' stadium, a companion piece to the
adjacent cathedral that is Oriole Park at Camden Yards. "It will
be on a par with Oriole Park--a cousin, not a sister," says John
Moag as he lunches in the Stadium Club, on the top floor of the
wonderfully idiosyncratic former B&O warehouse just beyond
rightfield, from where you can almost see the giant hole. "It
will be intense. Baseball is played in a park. This will be a
football stadium."

You probably don't know Moag's name, which might be all right
with him. As head of the Maryland Stadium Authority, Moag
clinched the deal with Browns/Ravens owner Art Modell. Moag, a
lawyer who fits in well with the other lawyer types eating at
the Stadium Club, never anticipated the reaction the move would
get--a nationwide media assault and the excoriation of Modell.
"I think all of us believed that there would be a couple weeks
of outcry and then resignation that that's the way life is,"
Moag says. "I knew it would be more serious than the other
franchise moves because the Browns are a storied franchise and
because they drew 70,000 a game. But I never guessed it would be
what it was."

He did guess, though, that football and Baltimore would be a
good match. He understands the city's contradictory attitudes:
an inferiority complex versus a certainty that there's no better
place to live. There's a New Yorker cartoon showing a guy on a
tropical isle sitting beside a pool framed by palm trees. He's
talking into the phone: "Hey, it's not Baltimore, but then what
is?" A true Baltimorean would enjoy the cartoon but wouldn't get
that it was supposed to be funny.

"The demographics in this city are just perfect for the NFL,"
Moag says. "Football is a blue-collar sport. And, whatever has
changed in Baltimore, it's still a blue-collar town. You look at
the crowd, it's real Baltimore. There's a huge population in
this town that considers a ticket to the Ravens game a
reasonable and legitimate cost of living, right up there with
rent and groceries. I sit around a lot of these people, and I'm
in the $75 seats. They say, 'I won't get a new car. I won't take
a vacation this summer. But I have to have Ravens tickets.'"

Like many Eastern seaboard cities, Baltimore has problems.
Declining population. Declining schools. The main library branch
is closed on Fridays because there's not enough money. But
still, there's $200 million for a football stadium that will be
used 10 times a year. Moag, the lawyer, is ready to defend it:
The stadium is downtown, and it's another part of the Baltimore
renaissance that includes Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor and
the new Convention Center. Tourism is now Baltimore's
second-largest industry. Fourteen thousand people took the tour
of the baseball park in the 1995-96 off-season. Yes, there are
only 10 Ravens dates, but football, Moag points out, is
different from baseball. Football games are weekend-long events.
"You know, people like to spend money," Moag says. "You hear at
the kitchen table people talking about dropping $100 or $150 at
the ballpark, but they do it very willingly. People can't wait
to get out of Memorial Stadium and into the new stadium and
spend money there. And spend money at the Inner Harbor and show
up at Phillips crab house with 30 people before a game."

It's a new day. Moag knows it can't be like the old days. "The
player is a very different kind of person," he says. "He doesn't
stay with a team anymore. The money is huge. It's an entirely
different mood. And there's the other element: He's black.
Blacks are an overwhelming percentage of football players today.
But not on the old Colts--they were white guys who didn't,
quote, threaten other white guys, so to speak. The white,
blue-collar fan could relate to them, and that's changed.

"Everybody is still trying to figure out how the new team fits
into his experience. What surprised me, my wife loves it. She
wants and expects to be at the stadium every week. My daughters
are both into it in a big way. That's new to me. When I grew up,
girls at least feigned having no interest in football. Remember
Diner? In Diner that quiz about Colts trivia was the unfortunate
hurdle the girl had to get over to marry the guy. Now, to have
two little girls who are absolutely gaga over football, who
insist that they have a football to throw around, it kind of
hits you over the head that everything's changed."

Everything has changed, yet people come to Ravens games hoping
nothing has changed, or at least nothing fundamental. It's hard
to put your finger on what exactly was lost when the Colts left
Baltimore 12 years ago, except that surely something was
lost--and not just the opportunity to see outsized men crash
into each other and the chance to drink overpriced beer in bad
weather and in uncomfortable seats.

Maybe people come to Ravens games in search of what politicians
like to call family values. No one knows what "family values"
means, really. One possible definition: Values we never had but
imagine that we had in some better time and can find again if we
can replicate that time.

Maybe that's what brings Bob and Mike Miller, father and son, to
their seats down near the end zone. They're looking for
something, and--this is good news if you like your endings
happy--they think they may have found it. On this November day
the Ravens are fending off the Cincinnati Bengals, but Baltimore
will, of course, lose in the end. That doesn't seem to
discourage father or son. Bob lives in Hagerstown, Md., an hour
from Baltimore, and is mostly retired; he sells a few cars on
the side. Mike lives in Wilmington, Del., where he works for a
pharmaceutical company. He left Hagerstown to join the Navy soon
after the Colts skipped out on Baltimore.

"The Colts left," Mike says, "and then I left, but the hex
continued wherever I'd go. I moved to L.A., and both teams left.
Then I moved to Cleveland, and the Browns moved to Baltimore.
Now I'm in Wilmington, where I guess everyone is safe."

Bob had Colts season tickets beginning in 1970, when Mike was
five. The Ravens' first game this season was the first time
father and son had been together in Memorial Stadium since the
Colts left.

Father: I took Michael for 13 years. We'd stop off at this
restaurant on Greenmount Avenue, have a pizza or a hoagy
together, walk up to the game. It was just a wonderful time for
both of us.

Son: We lived an hour away. We were on the road at seven o'clock
for a one o'clock game. It was a ritual. We'd get up early, have
egg sandwiches on the road, go to Little Italy or to Brooks
Robinson's for lunch. We'd always be the first ones in the place.

Father: When [owner Bob] Irsay took the Colts away, I just
dropped football. I could never be a Redskins fan. Mike was in
California, so he'd go see the Colts in San Diego or at the L.A.
Coliseum. I just dropped the Colts.

Son: When you lose something like that, you understand what you
had. I've been away from home for 12 years. Every time I'd call,
we'd talk about those days.

Father: Every father and son should go to a football game
together. It's what America is all about. I don't know how to
put it into words. It's just a special moment for father and son.

Son: This is so huge. We used to sit right up there [pointing to
the upper deck]. We were here for Unitas's last game. People
were singing [Bob and Mike say it together], "Unitas we stand,
divided we fall." We were here when Unitas and Namath both threw
for about 400 yards in the same game.

Father: Every year my wife and I would drive to Topeka, Kansas,
to visit relatives. One year I decided to drive through
Indianapolis. My wife said, "Where in the hell are you going?" I
said, "I'm just going to swing into the Hoosier Dome"--that's
what they called it then. I went to the attendant there and said
that I had to go down on the field. He said, "Why do you have to
do that?" I said, "Because somewhere in my head, I don't really
believe the Colts are here." He said to go ahead. So I went down
the stairs onto the carpet, and I saw the word COLTS. And I saw
the horseshoe. And then I came out of there like the world was
lifted off of my shoulders. It was over. That was the closure I
needed.

The Ravens are still winning, saving the heartbreak for the end.
Mike says that in the old days he and his father couldn't even
talk at games, the stadium would be so loud. Bob says, "I think
the Baltimore fans are special fans. It will be the same. We
just need time."

As Mike watches the game, he thinks about what it might be like
when he's a father. "My wife and I don't have any kids yet," he
says. "But I can't wait. I'll have my kid on my shoulders at the
game when he's one month old. I want him to have the same thing
I had."

B/W PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. [Johnny Unitas and others in game]B/W PHOTO: JOHN G. ZIMMERMANThe 1958 fans had plenty to cheer about, but '96 crowds find Memorial Stadium to be Heartbreak Hotel. [Crowd at football game]COLOR PHOTO: DOUG PENSINGER [See caption above--man dressed as Elvis Presley in crowd]COLOR PHOTO: DOUG PENSINGER While the Colts' band has never quit marching, the Ravens have all too often been knocked off their feet. [Members of the Baltimore Colts band]COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON [See caption above--Baltimore Raven player being tackled]TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PETE SOUZA Kelch is among the Club 4100 regulars who pay homage to the Unitas shrine outside the bar. [George Kelch; John Unitas' handprint in concrete]COLOR PHOTO: DOUG PENSINGER A Browns fan followed his old team to Baltimore. [Man wearing Cleveland Browns parka and paper bag over his face]COLOR PHOTO: PETE SOUZA A Unitas icon is the centerpiece in Phillips's den. [Statue of Johnny Unitas]