The Story of the Frat Guys Who Snuck the Colts Out of Baltimore

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Now that we have the Ravens, the Baltimore Colts’ sneaky middle-of-the-night departure from the city in 1984 hurts a little bit less. (Though I know some people who still get really worked up whenever anyone brings up the “Midnight Betrayal.”) Which is why it’s almost… fun to revisit the tale through the story of the crew of University of Maryland frat guys who helped smuggle the team out of town.

Deadspin has the story in all its absurd glory, from Bob Irsay (“the prototypical bad sports owner and an obstreperous public drunk”) to the brothers of Sigma Chi, Gamma Chi chapter, who did the heavy lifting.

Here’s how then-UMD junior Joe Ponzo described getting the late night call:

“We had a lot of guys who worked part-time for Mayflower, and they said they needed a lot of people that night and they were paying $10 an hour. So I went to the lunch room and told the guys. Everybody said no. So I go back to the phone and he said he’d go to $15. They said no again.”

Eventually, they agreed to $20 an hour (which works out to $45.48/hour in today’s dollars). But they still had no idea where they were going, or what they’d be moving.

“We were thinking it had to be CIA or something in D.C.,” said Duffy Welsh, another of the movers.

The rest of the story is great–read it here.



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