How the Colts Came to Indy

I was a kid when the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, but do have vivid recollections of watching the events unfold on TV. Just over two decades later, I was a lucky spectator at the RCA Dome witnessing the team beat the New England Patriots en route to the 2007 Super Bowl win. In short, I pretty much can’t remember what my sport’s life was like without the team.

For the Chamber’s September/October issue of BizVoice ® magazine (available here on Friday), we explore the deal that made it all happen. Below are some bonus quotes not found in that story.

Bill Hudnut, then mayor of Indianapolis and current Maryland resident:

“I was elated! I remember signing the papers on that Wednesday afternoon and then Thursday morning I did not announce it because I did not want to scare off (Colts owner Robert) Irsay or antagonize him by doing a premature announcement. His people had to do it first and they did middle of the day on Thursday. So I said how terrific it was and I had a news conference that afternoon.”

David Frick, then deputy mayor and attorney for the city of Indianapolis, on his role and the local movers and shakers involved:

“There was a small group the mayor convened called the 706 club; that was the room number at the Columbia Club where we used to meet. The mayor had brought together Herb Simon, Jim Morris, P.E. MacAllister, who was chairman of the Capital Improvement Board, and Tom Moses, who headed up the water company. Of all people in our community he (Moses) probably had the most connections with NFL owners; he used to work for the Murchison family that owned the Dallas Cowboys for a number of years.

“I would sit down with that group and we would talk about where we were in the negotiation, what changes we would want to make to our offer and get their input on steps to take. I’m fortunate in getting credit for bringing the Colts to Indianapolis, but there were other people heavily involved in the process who helped guide that negotiation.

“I really made my living both as a lawyer, and then I’ve spent the bulk of my career outside of being a lawyer, doing deals. And each deal has its unique characteristic. … But this is clearly the one that has had the most impact on the biggest number of people. It wasn’t the toughest, but to get the Colts deal done in a compressed timeframe (six weeks) and to have such a significant impact was very personally satisfying to me.”