Baltimore Colts

Colts - 1954
(Authentic Reproduction)



The original Baltimore Colts franchise was formed in 1946 as part of the All American Football Conference (AAFC). When AAFC folded after the 1949 season three of its original teams, the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco Forty Niners and the Colts, were allowed to join the more established NFL and begin play in 1950. After the 1950 season the Colts terminated their franchise citing financial difficulties. The city of Baltimore would be without a pro football team for the next two years.
The New York Yanks were one of the established 10 NFL teams when the league expanded by absorbing the three aforementioned teams from the AAFC just prior to the 1950 season. After the 1951 season ended the Yanks decided that they could no longer financially survive in the same city with the more popular New York Giants. In 1952 the Yanks moved to Dallas and the team was renamed the Dallas Texans. The move turned out to be a disaster for the relocated team when they found that they were drawing significantly less fans in Dallas then they did in New York. The Texans finished the 1952 season by playing many of its home games in various cities as a quasi "barnstorming" team as the NFL assumed ownership responsibilities for the failing franchise.
The NFL moved the Dallas Texans to Baltimore in 1953 and the team was renamed the Baltimore Colts although they were not related to the original AAFC team that joined the NFL and ceased operations after the 1950 season. The NFL commissioner Bert Bell asked his summer cottage neighbor and successful businessman Carroll Rosenbloom, as a favor to the commissioner, to take over ownership of the team. The new Baltimore Colts went on to became one of the most successful and beloved franchises in the history of the NFL.     
Starting in their inaugural 1953 season the new Colts wore plain white helmets with a blue center stripe. Their helmets were a significant departure from the silver (with green center stripes) helmets worn by the original AAFC Baltimore Colts. Interestingly, the 1953 Colts painted their helmets blue for the two night games they played that season. This was done to better distinguish the 1950s era white NFL "Duke" football from the helmets under the reflective stadium lights (This practice was also followed by the Detroit Lions who painted their traditional silver colored helmets blue for their 1953 night games).
The magnificent Helmet Hut authentic Riddell "RT" reproduction pictured here is the exact style helmet adopted by the Colts for the 1954 and 1955 seasons. The 1953 season (day game) helmet colors were reversed in 1954 to produce a dark blue colored shell with a white center stripe. This style helmet was used for both day and night games. The most interesting feature of this helmet was the introduction of matching white horseshoe logos located at the rear of the helmet flanking both sides of the center stripe. This now famous logo design gave the Colts the distinction, along with the Los Angeles Rams, of being one of only two NFL teams that displayed team logos on their helmets during this period. This historic Colt's helmet style was worn by such future Pro Football Hall of Fame players as Arte Donavan, Gino Marchetti and Raymond Berry who together provided the foundation for the legendary Colt teams of the late 1950s.