[photo, Baltimore Ravens fans at Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland]
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    Maryland's professional football team is the Baltimore Ravens. The team's predecessors were the Baltimore Colts and Baltimore Stallions.

    Baltimore Ravens fans at Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland, February 2013. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Johnny Unitas: The Golden Arm statue, by Frederick Kail, before M & T Bank Stadium, West Hamburg St., Baltimore, Maryland]

    The Baltimore Colts first began as a team in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) from 1947 to 1949. They joined the
    National Football League (NFL) in 1950, but folded that same year. The team name Colts was chosen to honor Baltimore's horse racing industry, including the Preakness Stakes horse race, the second event in the Triple Crown.

    In 1953, a new team called the Baltimore Colts debuted and they played at Memorial Stadium until 1983. The Colts made it to the postseason ten times, winning the NFL Championship in 1958, 1959, and 1968. In 1971, the Colts won Super Bowl V.

    Johnny Unitas: The Golden Arm statue (2002), by Frederick Kail. The statue of the Baltimore Colts' quarterback appears on the north side of M & T Bank Stadium, West Hamburg St., Baltimore, Maryland, April 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    Despite the success of the Colts, tensions arose with the City of Baltimore regarding a new stadium. Several proposals were made to solve the problem, including the renovation of Memorial Stadium, as well as the construction of a new facility near the Inner Harbor, but they fell through. With the NFL's permission and despite legal action by the State, on March 29, 1984, at 2:00 a.m., the Colts' owner, Robert Irsay, moved the team to Indianapolis, taking the name, logo, colors, and records as well.

    As part of the short-lived U.S. Football League, a professional football league aimed at spring and summer markets, Maryland was home to the Baltimore Stars during 1985. The Stars had relocated to Baltimore from Philadelphia, and played at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium (now Maryland Stadium) in College Park. The Baltimore Stars won the USFL Championship at East Rutherford, New Jersey on July 14, 1985, defeating the Oakland Invaders. Although scheduled to play at Memorial Stadium during the 1986 season, the League ceased operation, and the team only played one season in Maryland.

    In 1987, the Washington Commandos, based in Landover, debuted in the newly-formed Arena Football League (AFL). After a year's hiatus, the team was renamed the Maryland Commandos for the 1989 season, after which the team moved to Fairfax, Virginia, and adopted its former name.

    The Baltimore Football Club, later called the Baltimore Stallions, formed in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Playing at Memorial Stadium from 1994 to 1995, the team chose a horse head logo, as well as blue and white colors, as a nod to the former Baltimore Colts. It had winning records both years. Considered the most successful of all the League's teams in the U.S., the team became the first American one to win the League's Grey Cup trophy. The Stallions ceased operation in Baltimore after the NFL returned for the 1996 season with the new Baltimore Ravens.

    [photo, M & T Bank Stadium, West Hamburg St., Baltimore, Maryland] The Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League debuted in the 1996 season at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Ever since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984, Baltimore had been trying to get another NFL team with the lure of a new stadium. On November 6, 1995, Art Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, announced the relocation of his team to Baltimore for the 1996 season. The Ravens franchise is an expansion, or newly-formed, team and, unlike the Colts, the Browns' name, records, and uniforms remain in Cleveland.

    M&T Bank Stadium, West Hamburg St., Baltimore, Maryland, April 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Poe, the Baltimore Ravens mascot, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] The Ravens’ new 69,300-seat stadium in the sports complex at Camden Yards, Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards, opened September 6, 1998. Though the Stadium originally had no corporate sponsor, a Northern Virginia-based internet service provider, PSINet Inc., purchased stadium naming rights on January 22, 1999. The Stadium was known as PSINet Stadium from January 22, 1999 until February 28, 2002. Following PSINet’s bankruptcy, naming rights returned to the Ravens and the Stadium reverted to its original name, Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards, being known as such from February 28, 2002 through May 6, 2003. When the Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. struck a 15-year naming-rights deal on May 6, 2003, the Stadium became known as M&T Bank Stadium. On May 21, 2014, M&T Bank Corp. agreed to a 10-year extension (which took effect when the original deal expired in 2018), securing naming rights to M&T Bank Stadium through 2027.

    Poe, Baltimore Ravens mascot, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    From the franchise’s inception in 1996, the Ravens had held their summer training camp, open to the public, at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in Westminster, Maryland. In the summer of 2011, however, the Ravens began holding their training in private at their practice facility, now known as the Under Armour Performance Center, in Owings Mills.

    The Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 and Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

    On September 10, 2023, the Ravens’ 2023-2024 season began.

    The Washington Redskins, formerly the Boston Braves, were founded in 1932. Following a name change in 1933 and a 1937 relocation to Washington, DC, the Redskins played in Griffith Stadium from 1937 to 1960 and then at RFK Stadium from 1961 to 1996. During this period, the Redskins won the NFL Championship in 1937 and 1942 and the Super Bowl in 1983, 1988, and 1992. Starting in 1997, the team played their home games at the newly-built Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. Located in Landover, Maryland, the Stadium was renamed FedEx Field in 1999 and currently has a capacity of 82,000 people.

    In July 2020, the Washington Redskins retired their name and logo. They were then known as the Washington Football Team. On February 2, 2022, the team was renamed the Washington Commanders.

    The Commanders' 2023-2024 season started on September 10, 2023.

    Maryland has several professional indoor football teams, including the Western Maryland Warriors and Maryland Eagles, both of which play in the American Arena League.

    The Baltimore Brigade, a team in the Arena Football League (AFL), played their home games at the Royal Farms Arena (now CFG Bank Arena) from 2017 to 2019. Other indoor football teams that have played in Baltimore include the Baltimore Blackbirds (2007) of the American Indoor Football Association and the Baltimore Mariners (2008-10, 2014), who first played for the American Indoor Football Association and then for American Indoor Football.

    There are several women's football teams in Maryland. The Baltimore Burn debuted in April 2001 and plays at the Eugene “Utz” Twardowicz Field at Patterson Park as part of the Women's Tackle Football League. The Baltimore Nighthawks, founded in 2007, play in the Women’s Football Alliance at Woodlawn High School.

    There are several semi-professional football teams in Maryland, including the Brunswick Railroaders and Maryland Blackhawks.

    University of Maryland, College Park's football team, the Terrapins, or Terps, compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division 1. The team has won 2 national championships, 11 Conference championships, and 11 Bowl games. Most recently, the Terps won the Military Bowl on December 29, 2010, beating East Carolina University, 51-20.

    On July 1, 2014, the University of Maryland, College Park joined the Big Ten Conference. The University had been part of the Atlantic Coast Conference from 1953 to 2014.

    [photo, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, Maryland] Navy football is played at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Opened in 1959, the Stadium seats 30,000. It is home to the midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy athletics department. On December 22, 2005, Navy beat Colorado State University 51-30 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

    Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, Maryland, April 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

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