FOXBORO, Mass. — This one might sting a little for New England Patriots fans.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick revealed Wednesday he was a Colts fan growing up. Of course, this was before the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.
The topic came up because the Patriots are playing the Ravens this week, and the Baltimore media asked Belichick if the Colts’ records should have stayed in their city.
“Where I grew up, the Colts were my team,” Belichick said. “In Annapolis we were fortunate because from a football standpoint, I mean at that time, there weren’t many games on TV but we got the Colts and the Redskins. But it was kind of all Colts for me. Those great Colt teams of the 50s, late 50s and 60s, I could give you a starting lineup on both sides of the ball, all of those guys. I got to meet many of them through the years, Johnny Unitas, and Alex Sandusky working my dad’s football camp and things like that, meeting the coaches up there.
“So that was really a dream for me to be able to just wear the horseshoe helmet on my shirt when I worked for the Colts. That was a great source of pride and I learned an incredible amount that year working with Coach (Ted) Marchibroda and the Colts organization.”
Baltimore didn’t get a football team back until 1996, when the Cleveland Browns changed their name to the Ravens and moved to Baltimore. Belichick was the Browns’ head coach in 1995 when the move was announced, but he was fired before they moved to Baltimore.
“It’s always a little — when you’re from that area and you’re that connected to the team and you see the team playing somewhere else and the way it all happened and came down, it’s a little bit of that childhood nostalgia that it’s just not the same anymore,” Belichick said. “The Ravens — I mean the look is about as different from the Browns, but it really was the Browns. But that’s — again, that’s the world we live in.
“I didn’t have any control over any of those situations so I’m not going to worry about them, but you think back to the way things were in the 60s when I grew up and you had Coach (Don) Shula and the Colts and Unitas and (Raymond) Berry and all those guys. (Jimmy) Orr’s corner and the great defense, (Gino Marchetti) and (Gene) Lipscomb, (Art) Donovan, (Don) Shinnick, (Bill) Pellington, Bobby Boyd, I mean all of those guys, Lenny Moore. I mean, what great teams, great stadium, great environment. Baltimore loved the Colts. I mean, they just loved the Colts.”
Belichick is still fond of Baltimore, but that won’t stop him from wanting to beat the Ravens when they come to Gillette Stadium on Monday.
“From a Baltimore standpoint, I know they love the Ravens and it’s great that they have a team there that they can love because they’re great sports fans,” Belichick said. “They’re great football fans, they’re great baseball fans and they’re great lacrosse fans. They support their teams in a phenomenal way, and I was one of them. So it’s a great area; love Baltimore, love Annapolis. I hope we do well against the Ravens Monday night and then I’ll get back to loving them some more for the holidays.”
Belichick probably isn’t so fond of the Colts anymore. After all, they started the Deflategate controversy.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images