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Rooting for the Home TeamSport, Community, and Identity$
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Daniel A. Nathan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037610

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037610.001.0001

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The Baltimore Blues

The Baltimore Blues

The Colts and Civic Identity

(p.108) 7. The Baltimore Blues
Rooting for the Home Team

Daniel A. Nathan

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how Baltimore's professional football team, the Colts, exemplified the city's values and sense of self, while John Unitas, one of the team's key players, personified the community's idealized civic identity and spirit. From the late 1950s until 1984, the Colts, purchased by Robert Irsay in 1972, were a source of pride for many Baltimoreans. The Baltimore Colts won four National Football League (NFL) championships, the most memorable of which came on December 28, 1958, at the expense of the New York Giants. This chapter first recounts the 1958 championship game between the Colts and the Giants and highlights the role played by Unitas in his team's win. It then describes changes in the city and the Colts during the 1960s and 1970s, along with the team's relocation to Indianapolis in 1984 that left some people in anguish. It suggests that the Baltimore Colt blues will eventually fade away and along with them will go one facet of the city's former identity.

Keywords:   community, Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, National Football League, John Unitas, Baltimore, professional football, Indianapolis, civic identity, Robert Irsay

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