OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The photograph still looks beautiful almost 29 years later.
A late-night snow covers the ground and giant flakes zip through the frame like dozens of glowing comets. It could be a Christmas card if not for the giant Mayflower moving vans chugging through the drifts, committing a crime for which there has never been punishment: Grand Theft of a City's Heart.
Of all the abandonments of any team in professional sports, this always seemed the worst. How could a team that was such a part of a city's soul run to Indianapolis without even saying goodbye? Colts owner Robert Irsay was trying to keep the Maryland legislature from seizing his team, so 15 Mayflower vans arrived at the team's headquarters at 2 a.m. on March 29, 1984. The movers packed quickly and most of the trucks were gone by the first light of morning.
And the city that adored its football team woke up to learn its beloved Colts had run away in the night.
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