Indianapolis marks Colts' 30th anniversary

INDIANAPOLIS - Thirty years ago this week, 15 Mayflower moving trucks rolled up to a Baltimore stadium at 2 a.m. They were quickly loaded up and then sent in different directions off to their destination: Indianapolis.

Then Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut proclaimed March 29, 1984, "one of the greatest days in the history of this city." It was the day Indy "stole" the Colts from Baltimore.

"It was really kind of a sneak attack, wasn't it?" said Colts fan Ron Davis. "I really thought it was kind of slick the way they did it. But they got them in here, so that's all that mattered."

In the past 30 years, landing an NFL team has led to the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium, which helped us land a Super Bowl and put Indy in the international spotlight. And that's only one of the many other huge sporting events the city now regularly hosts.

"Oh, I think it's made it grow and prosper and the tourism that it brings and the money for the economy," said Colts fan Angela Hoffman. "I think it's just really helped it grow and brought a lot of new things into Indianapolis."

Her husband Bill agrees.

"I think it's worked out great. I think it's made the rivalry between the Ravens and the Colts that much better," Bill said. "And like she said, it's been great for the economy and I think Indianapolis is a great place to host sporting events and I think that all kind of started with the legacy that the Colts have built."

Thinking of that night 30 years ago, IMPD Chief Rick Hite, who was working in Baltimore at the time, says he can only laugh.

"The story was that at that time I was a young detective working with the mayor's office. And there came a point where we had to call him early in the morning and let him know there's some trucks visiting the Owings Mill Coke Complex," Hite said. "And they were loading up the truck and heading south. And waking him out of his sleep and having a conversation with him about that was interesting."

Those trucks took 15 separate routes to Indianapolis so as not to draw the attention of Maryland State Police. Once at the Indiana state line, each moving truck got an ISP escort to the team's new home at the then-brand-new Hoosier Dome.

Hite says he's glad he ended up in the same city as his old team.

"It's great family fun to go to it," Hite said. "So I think it's fantastic."

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