News From Terre Haute, Indiana

CNHI News Service Originals

January 7, 2007

Colts prepare for return to Baltimore

INDIANAPOLIS — On to Baltimore.

Now that the Indianapolis Colts have one National Football League postseason win over their belts this season, thanks to a 23-8 AFC wild card victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s on to M&T; Bank Stadium for Saturday’s divisional playoff game with the Baltimore Ravens at 4:30 p.m.

It’s the second straight year that the Colts have made the trip east, with Indianapolis posting a 24-7 win over the Ravens in the 2005 season opener. But this year’s matchup figures to have a bit more emotion attached to it, at least from the Baltimore fan base, since it will be the first time that the city’s old team has faced its current team in a postseason contest.

In fact, it will be the first playoff game for the Colts to be played in Baltimore since a 37-31 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders in an AFC divisional game on December 24, 1977. The franchise moved to Indianapolis prior to the start of the 1984 season.

So while the Colts’ return to Baltimore will no doubt draw a lot of interest from that city’s media and fans, Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy doesn’t necessarily think the history of the two teams will ultimately play a large part in what eventually transpires on the playing field.

“I think there’ll be an energy level and the excitement that’s there, especially for some of the fans who have lived there [in Baltimore] for that length of time. But for the players and the people in it, there’s enough on the line with a playoff game and the fact that [the Ravens are] a great football team. And that’s what our concern is going to be,” Dungy said Sunday.

“Probably most of our guys, I’d say two-thirds of our players, don’t even know that we started out in Baltimore. For those two-thirds, they won’t even know. When you talk about Willie Mays and Jim Brown, these guys don’t know who that is. So when you talk about the Baltimore Colts, there’ll be a lot of guys who would not be aware of that.”

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