Once upon a time, in the 1950s and 1960s, to be exact, Baltimore was home to a legendary professional football team, the Colts. Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas and other Hall of Fame players, the team won three NFL championships. But in late 1970s and early 1980s, the team tanked. In 1984, the team owner relocated the Colts in Indianapolis. That was the end of pro football in Baltimore.
Or so it seemed.
In 1995, the
Cleveland Browns announced that they were moving their franchise to Baltimore. Baltimore had a new pro football team. Now all it needed was a new pro football name. But what? Long ago, fans had named the Colts after the horse racing industry in the Baltimore area. What Baltimore person, place, or thing would best represent this new Baltimore team?
That question was put to the fans. Baltimore had boats, Baltimore had hard-working, patriotic citizens, Baltimore had…Edgar Allan Poe and his famous poem, "The Raven." In early 1996, the Baltimore Sun newspaper conducted a telephone poll. They asked people to cast their vote for the team name. Over 33,000 people voted. About 5,500 people chose the Marauders. A similar number (5,597) picked the Americans. And 21,108 selected the winner: the Baltimore Ravens.
Now Baltimore fans join the three Raven mascots — Edgar, Allan, and Poe — in cheering their players to victory. The dark days of being a teamless town, an NFL nobody, are behind them, they hope, forever more.