Making the Move to Indy, Colts Style

Home football game this weekend for the Colts – OK, it is preseason. But excitement is still definitely building for NFL fans. After all, Indianapolis is hosting the next Super Bowl.

With that milestone event coming up, it’s a good time to reflect on the Colts and how they came to be our team.

In the September/October issue of the Chamber’s BizVoice ® magazine (in the mail and available online August 26), we do just that. I spoke to those who were most heavily involved in the big move – and they had many great recollections. Here’s one amusing story in detail not found in the magazine article.

Michael Chernoff¸ then legal counsel and negotiator for the Baltimore Colts, on the media and the actual relocation:

“When I flew from Indianapolis to Baltimore to supervise the move, one of the executives of Mayflower (the company that moved the team) flew with us. When we landed in Baltimore, the press was already there. My guess was somebody in the tower called the press and said the Colts plane is on its way in. We got off of the plane and were met by one of the Colts people in a car that originally was going to take us to the complex, but with all the press there and everything, I didn’t want to go there.

“So instead he drove us to a motel down the road from the complex and we checked in there. It was a two-story motel; he went to his room and I went to my room. We talked a little bit and every time I would open my door to go out, the TV antenna on the trucks would go up, they’d turn on their motors and they were ready to go. I couldn’t go anywhere without bringing them with me.

“I called the guy from Mayflower and said, ‘I know where your room is, go across to the motel next door and when you get there, call me and let me know if anybody saw you.’ They didn’t. I said, ‘Sit tight, I’ll have somebody pick you up.’ I then sat around for a couple of hours. By this time I was getting hungry, so I went across the street with the (press) entourage to have a bite. I called the complex and they said, ‘Don’t worry, the press is already here. You might as well come out.’ So, I did. We finished up the move well into the night. … And then we picked up the franchise certificate that the NFL issued to the Colts many years before, put it on the plane and the group of us flew back to Indianapolis to set up shop.”