Colts Not Expecting Warm Welcome

Feelings of resentment and abandonment still run strong in Baltimore, the city the Indianapolis Colts left in 1984. Although the Ravens brought Baltimore a Super Bowl title in 2000, the Colts know that this spurned city will be fired up tonight.

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy remembers all too well the bus ride from the team hotel to M&T Bank Stadium prior to last year's AFC Divisional Playoff game with the Baltimore Ravens.

What sticks out most prominently was the reaction of the Baltimore fans to the sight of the Colts' players and coaches.

"Honestly, we weren't prepared for what we got when we (arrived) there. We had been to Baltimore the year before on opening day and it was a raucous crowd on opening night and everything. But when we came back for the playoff game, (there was) a lot more emotion, a lot more energy," Dungy recalled this week.

"The move of the team (prior to the start of the 1984 season) had been discussed a lot more. We talked about that (with the team this week), what type of energy will probably be in the stadium when we come (to play Sunday night)."

While the Indianapolis coach remains hopeful that the Ravens' faithful don't heap all of their anger from years past on the current group of Colts' players, he knows most of the current team understands what's probably in store for this weekend.

"I just remember so many of the signs and the (media) coverage. We're there a day and a half and just watching all the newscasts and everything, so much seemed to be talked about 1983 and 1984. I'm sure it still is. It's a great part of (Baltimore's) tradition that changed. Not living there personally, you can't really appreciate it. It was certainly the talk of the town while we were there," Dungy said.

And that isn't expected to change much for the Colts when they head back for Sunday night's nationally televised game with the Ravens. But the real test will come on the field against a very good Baltimore defensive unit.

"They're tough to take the ball and go 60 yards against them and build drives. You have to get a big play here and there. We preached patience the last time in and I think we'll preach the same thing (this week). When that happens, your defense has to do a good job and hold the fort and not let them get the lead," he said.

"You never know how the game is going to go. If it goes (like last year when the Colts were forced to kick five field goals), we've got to be ready to play that way."


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