The Baltimore Ravens celebrated a milestone Tuesday: March 29 marked the team's 20th birthday.
On March 29, 1996, former Ravens owner Art Modell unveiled the team's new name at a news conference in Baltimore.
Modell had just moved the team from Cleveland, but the new team in Baltimore didn't get the name "Browns" because the NFL had decided that the city of Cleveland would get to keep the Browns' name and history.
Basically, that meant that Baltimore would have to come up with its own name. Instead of actually trying to come up with a name though, Modell had another idea: He would just buy the name "Colts."
Before the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984, they had been located in Baltimore for 31 seasons, so Modell thought it would be fitting if Baltimore's new NFL team had the same name as Baltimore's old NFL team: the Baltimore Colts.
According to a Baltimore Sun story from 1996, Modell approached the Colts with a $5 million offer in February of that year.
Even crazier? The Colts actually thought about accepting the deal.
Colts owner Robert Irsay had suffered a stroke in November 1995 and Jim Irsay, who was general manager at the time, was afraid he wouldn't be able to afford the estate taxes that his family would be hit with if his dad passed away.
"The only reason the door is cracked open a slight way is because of the estate issue," Irsay said at the time.
Irsay felt that the money could help with the taxes and help Indy sign a few players.
"I think you can see in this day and age, that $25 million or something along that line, that's gone in a couple of signing bonuses for a couple of players," Irsay said.
The deal never went down though because Modell balked at the $25 million number that Irsay threw out.
After the deal with the Colts fell through, Modell had another brilliant idea: let the people of Baltimore vote on the name.
According to the Ravens official website, a 24-hour phone poll was held between March 28 and 29 in 1996, and the people of Baltimore had five names to choose from: Ravens, Americans, Marauders, Mustangs and Railers.
After almost 34,000 votes were counted, the people made it clear which name they wanted: the Ravens, which received 22,463 votes (no other name received more than 5,700 votes).
The story doesn't end there, though. In 1997, there was some chatter that the Colts might move to Cleveland to become the new Browns. Indy was losing money and Cleveland was about to get a new stadium for its new team. If the franchise in Indy moved to Cleveland, the name "Colts" was presumably going to become available.
The Ravens briefly talked about the possibility of making a name change if the Colts moved, but that never happened because the Colts, and their name, stayed in Indy.