Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl: How Baltimore Got Its Football Team


As we all look forward to Superbowl XLVII, it’s interesting to look not only at how the teams got to the big game this year, but how they got to their cities years ago. Below I trace the history of football teams, in each city, Baltimore and San Francisco.


In 1946, Baltimore acquired what had previously been the Miami Seahawks. That city had a naming contest, and the Baltimore Colts entered the All-American Football League (AAFL).

Baltimore was in the NFL for the 1950 season after the AAFL merged with it. However, the team didn’t make enough money and folded at the end of that season.

Some Baltimore investors planned on buying the New York Yanks, another struggling NFL team, however the NFL bought them instead and the Yanks became the Dallas Texans.

Baltimore had no football team for the 1951 and 1952 seasons.

The Dallas Texans weren’t doing very well so Commissioner Bert Bell made a deal to move the Dallas Texans to Baltimore and challenged the city to sell 15,000 tickets, which it did. The Baltimore Colts were back for the 1953 roster.

In 1972 Robert Irsay, then owner of the L.A. Rams, traded with Carroll Rosenbloom, then owner of the Baltimore Colts. Irsay decided to move the team to Indianapolis in 1984 after some failed negotiations with the city over improving the stadium. The move was done quickly and in the dead of night after the state legislature passed a law allowing Baltimore to seize the team. Even after the team was gone, the marching band continued to perform in the city.

Baltimore had no football team for the 1984 season through 1993 season.

By 1994, Baltimore had been denied an expansion franchise in the NFL but had received one for the Canadian Football League. The team, initially to be called the Baltimore CFL Colts, was officially named the Baltimore Football Club after the NFL filed an injunction. Before the 1995 season, the team was renamed the Baltimore Stallions in a fan naming contest. After the 1995 season, the Baltimore team left to become the Montreal Allouettes.

They left because Baltimore had a new team. A deal ws made to move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. The Brown’s history stayed behind in Cleveland, and after yet another fan naming contest, was christened the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore was back in the NFL and the Ravens have been there ever since.

San Francisco

Tony Morabito started the 49ers in San Francisco, and the team played in the AAFC from 1946 through 1949. They moved to the NFL after the merger and have played in the league since 1950. The city of San Francisco has never had another football team, nor have the 49ers ever been in another city.