Skip to comments.Art Modell dies at 87
Posted on 09/06/2012 4:45:59 AM PDT by Perdogg
BALTIMORE -- Former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell has died. He was 87.
The team said Modell died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he had been admitted Wednesday. A cause of death was not given.
Modell was among the most important figures in the NFL as owner of the Cleveland Browns, which became the Ravens after he took the team to Baltimore in 1996 in a move that tarnished his reputation as one of the league's most innovative and influential owners
(Excerpt) Read more at espn.go.com ...
Lifelong Browns fan here. Art did do many charitable and good things for Cleveland, but his legacy will forever be stained by the move to Baltimore in 1995. The Browns came back to Cleveland as an expansion team in 1999, but it has never been the same (at least for me).
I know his name is mud in Cleveland, but I’m grateful to him for bringing the NFL back to Baltimore (and Cleveland got another Browns teams so it’s all a wash). One of the last of the original NFL owners, along with the Maras and the Rooneys and the Browns (Cincinnati). RIP Art Modell.
It’s never been the same for me after Irsay moved the Colts and Baltimore had to go out and ‘steal’ another team. But, I have grown to love the Ravens over time. It’s like a second marriage I guess.....
Lifelong Baltimore football fan here and I thank Art for bringing football back to us. He did wonderful things for the communities in both Baltimore and Cleveland, and was a pioneer in making the NFL America’s most popular sport. He will be missed Baltimore and deserves to be in the NFL Hall of Fame. The Clevelanders can say what they want and they are entitled to that opinion just as we were to Bob Irsay but be he will be forever loved and appreciated in Baltimore.
Ahh No and Hell no.
Cleveland was a strong football tradition and an awesome football program then Art stole the team now we have a cheap imitation football team.
Art is scum along with Irsay!
When Art Modell fled Cleveland, wasn’t it in the middle of the night?.......Browns fans had the sympathy of those of us in Pittsburgh. It’s never been the same, the rivalry between the two teams and the two cities.
“Art is scum along with Irsay”.
The man just died and you are calling him scum?! Keeping it classy, I see.
I get the feeling most of the REAL Browns fans are having a party and really could give a crap about Art!
I miss the real Browns, at least I had a chance of losing when I bet my Steelers against my brothers Browns.
I have a Bernie Kosar signed football as a reminder of one of my many wins.
espncleveland.com has a good article on his passing for anyone interested.
“Cleveland was a strong football tradition and an awesome football program then Art stole the team now we have a cheap imitation football team.”
Don’t go sounding like a democrat. Art owned the team and out of the kindness of his heart left you the team name and all the records. Ask a Baltimore fan how tough it is to go to the hall of fame and see John Unitas listed as an Indianapolis Colt.
When the Colts left town one of the local banks had a commercial for their ATMs. The scene was one of their ATMs late at night. The announcer said, “When you need money for an unexpected move, ...” Then a moving band pulls up at the ATM, and three guys in Colts uniforms jump out and take money out of the ATM, jump back in the moving van and leave in a hurry. It was hilarious. I have no use for Irsay.
That is why I carry this gun... and these great knockers.
You got all three... right, Ann!
Even though the Rams beat the shit out of the Browns, that balloon almost made the day enjoyable.
I loved the Kosar - Ernest Byner - Webster Slaughter - Eric Metcalf Browns!
The Art Modell story I’ll remember most is the one where he single handedly kept Monday Night Football from going to Fox in the late 1980’s because he was too cheap to get cable, and Channel 19 did not come in well at his house.
“I don’t want my team’s games on that crappy station with the fuzzy signal”. And as head of the NFL Television Committee he made that happen.
RIP Art! I’ve been expecting this for the last two years. We will be having a moment of silence or more at the Bengals-Ravens game on Monday night.
Sorry not gonna get teary eyed over Art. He is scum.
Yep. everyone of my Pittsburgh pals said the same thing. We Hate the Browns, but we want to hate them where they belong, in Cleveland not Baltimore.
Ahhh no. What happened is that the reaction was so strong against the move not only from Cleveland but from Pittsburgh Cincy and Houston that the NFL was rocked back on their heels. The Campaign to keep the Browns in Cleveland changed the rules on teams moving. Art was forced to leave the records and the team name as a concession.
Art wanted someone else to foot the bill on a new stadium. He and most of the owners are greedy bastards. The Skins built their own Stadium which is how it should be done instead of taxpayers footing the bill.
Hahah I remember that Balloon it was awesome!
When I was a kid in Baltimore practically everyone had a Unitas haircut, including my 50+ year old uncle.
Modell was like the gold digging tramp wife that leaves you for another man but also takes your dog.
We Clevelanders miss our dog.
Unitas was a Man’s Man. Tough as frikking nails.
I know it sounds weird, but whenever Peyton Manning does that little dance on his toes in the pocket as it closes in around him, it ALWAYS makes me think of Johnny Unitas. (Him and Billy Kilmer used to do that back in the day)
High praise indeed, from this Pats fan. Good to see Peyton back on the field, even though with the Broncos. I never thought he was going to play again.
As my Irish grandmother would say, the devil took his soul.
For both Irsay AND Modell.
In January 1984 an intoxicated Irsay appeared before the Baltimore media and exclaimed, "This is my goddamn team!" (what a class act BTW) He reiterated that, despite problems, the rumors that he was moving the team were untrue. With negotiations over improvements to Memorial Stadium at an impasse, one of the chambers of the Maryland state legislature passed a law on March 27, 1984, allowing the city of Baltimore to seize the Colts under eminent domain, which city and county officials had threatened to do. Irsay later claimed the city promised him a new football stadium, something they later denied, citing the team's poor attendance. The next day, fearing a dawn raid on the team's Owings Mills headquarters, Irsay accepted a deal offered by the city of Indianapolis,
Indianapolis Mayor, William H. Hudnut III, contacted John Burnside Smith, then CEO of the Mayflower Transit Company, who arranged for fifteen trucks to pack the team's property hurriedly and transport it to Indianapolis in the early hours of the morning of March 29. An ecstatic crowd in Indianapolis greeted the arrival of its new NFL team, and the team received 143,000 season ticket requests in just two weeks.
Baltimore was without a National Football League team until 1996, when Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns there. Initially they were to be named the Baltimore Browns. However, in order to minimize controversy related to the teams historical identity, similar to that of the Baltimore Colts, Modell agreed to change the name of his team to the Ravens. Cleveland was promised a new team by 1999 that inherited the Browns' name, colors, and history.
While both men, being business men, sought to move their teams to a more profitable market and sought the best deal and negotiated for new stadiums, the big difference between Irsay and Modell is that Modell was upfront his intentions of moving his team to Baltimore whereas Irsay (Im a good Catholic) lied repeatedly about his intentions to move to Indianapolis right up until the Mayflower vans showed up (and yes, it was in the middle of the night and during a snowstorm I remember it well). Irsay also had ran the Baltimore Colts into the ground and despite their dismal performance and while attendance dropped somewhat, fan support here in Baltimore for the Colts was still strong. (I was at the second to last Baltimore Colt game ever played in Baltimore. In the upper 40s and in the pouring rain, BTW, the Colts lost, yet again, but Memorial Stadium was still packed.)
And while Memorial Stadium was old and outdated, it was not in nearly as bad and in a dilapidated state as the old Cleveland Browns stadium. IMO, the Maryland legislature trying to pull eminent domain was stupid and probably pushed Irsay to play his hand, but in truth, despite his repeated denials, the move to Indianapolis had been in the works, secretly for quite some time. And he had been shopping the team around to other cities including Memphis and Phoenix while flatly denying he was doing so.
But to add injury to insult, Irsay flatly refused to let any of the Colts memorabilia stay in Baltimore, changed the teams history to exclude any mention of Baltimore (Johnny Unitas played for the Indianapolis Colts doncha know), actively blocked Baltimores efforts to get a new NFL franchise for years and trashed the city of Baltimore and Baltimore Colts fans at every opportunity. Modell did not do any of this to the city of Cleveland and to the Browns fans. Modell let Cleveland retain the team name, colors and history and did not block Clevelands efforts to get a new team and IIRC, even voted for Cleveland getting a new team.
Many of us former Baltimore Colt fans, while we were ecstatic to get another team, were also very sympathetic to and supportive of the Cleveland Browns fans, knowing how hard it is to lose the team we loved. Most of us here in Baltimore didnt want the new team to be called the Browns or for the teams history to be renamed Baltimore as this was what was done to us when the Colts moved to Indianapolis.
Any of you who think that Modell is scum just like Irsay, watch this (even Bob Irsays own son Jim admits that his father was a lying drunk.) Sad:
While I understand the bitterness that Cleveland fans feel over Art Modell moving the team to Baltimore, it in no way compares to what Irsay did to Baltimore. Irsay was scum. Modell was head and shoulders above Irsay and a class act in every way.
AND GO RAVENS!
One other thing, I believe the Ravens welcomed the Colts Marching Band (which didn’t go to Indy) to play at their opening game in the uniforms they wore for the Colts games.
BTW, does Indiana have a horse industry?
(Alex) Sandusky tells me the story that during the 49er game in 1958 here in Baltimore, Unitas kept calling Lenny Moore's number in the huddle, and Moore kept slashing through the San Francisco defense. So after about half a dozen straight runs by Moore, Lenny came back to the huddle and told John, "Hey, man, cool it. I'm getting tired." Whooaa. Nobody tells John Unitas to "cool it." (Jim) Parker says Unitas's face turned into a flinty stare, and his eyeballs nearly burned a hole through Lenny's head. "Listen -------, nobody tells me to cool it," Unitas said. "I'll run your --- till you die." He put the fear of God in him, and by this time Lenny's stammering, "Forget it , John. Forget I said anything. Give me the ball, please. Give me the ball on every play."
He's scum and he like a lot of the other NFL owners get the tax payers to foot the Bill so he can make millions.
Like I said. SCUM!
Yes they did. Ive met John Ziemann several times, a¬ great guy BTW, the director of the Colts marching band, now the Ravens band and I personally know several members of the original Baltimore Colts marching band as many of those members were at one time or another involved in Drum And Bugle Corps (DCA) an org, that I know well having a lot of family members involved in DCA.
According to an ESPN documentary directed by Baltimore native Barry Levinson called The Band that Wouldn't Die, band leaders got advance warning that the team was being moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis overnight and were able to remove their equipment from team headquarters before the moving vans arrived. At the time of the move, the band's uniforms were being dry-cleaned. Band President John Ziemann contacted the owner of the dry cleaners, who told Ziemann that legally they could not release the uniforms to Ziemann, but told him that that evening, he should take the company van "for a walk." Ziemann and some associates then hid the uniforms in a nearby cemetery until the wife of then-Colts owner Robert Irsay said they could keep them.
From 1984 until the Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996, the band stayed together, playing at football halftime shows and marching in parades, eventually becoming well known as "Baltimore's Pro-Football Musical Ambassadors". The band remained an all-volunteer band as it is today and supported itself. At one point, John Ziemann pawned his wife's wedding ring for the money to buy new equipment. Ironically, one of the band's first gigs after the Colts left was an invitation from then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to play during the halftime show of a Browns game. "They were cheap," Modell said, somewhat jokingly. Twelve years later Modell would move the Browns to Baltimore and they would become the Baltimore Ravens. When David Modell appeared, along with a group of former Colts (including Johnny Unitas) on a local talk show hosted by Kwesi Mfume, the host introduced Ziemann to a huge round of applause. Ziemann then asked Modell if the band could become the Ravens' official band, to which Modell smiled and said "I thought you already were" as the crowd roared its approval again. (In "The Band That Wouldn't Die", Modell, who had always wanted a band for his team, called the decision a "no-brainer".)
The original Baltimore Colts hung in and stayed together in Baltimore during all those years that we were without a team and operated independently as the Baltimore Colts Band and they were very popular here. They eventually became the Ravens Band but still today retain and pay homage to their history as the Baltimore Colts band.
IIRC, not many NFL teams today actually have bands anymore.
BTW, does Indiana have a horse industry?
The Baltimore Colts was named for Marylands rich history of horse racing.
The Browns: The Cleveland All-America Football Conference franchise conducted a fan contest in 1945 to name the team. The most popular submission was Browns in recognition of the teams first coach and general manager Paul Brown, who was already a popular figure in Ohio sports. Brown at first vetoed the choice and the team selected from the contest entries the name Panthers. However, after an area businessman informed the team that he owned the rights to the name Cleveland Panthers, from an earlier failed football team, Brown rescinded his objection and agreed to the use of his name.
I can see why Baltimore wouldnt want to retain the Browns name as it and no relation to Baltimore.
OTHO, On March 29, 1996, Baltimores NFL team became the Ravens. The nickname was selected from among three finalists in a poll conducted by the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore fans selected the name in honor of Edgar Allan Poe, the American poet who penned his famous poem, The Raven while living in Baltimore.
Truth be told, Edgar Allen Poe was from Richmond VA and didnt really live all long in Baltimore and had the great misfortune of dying in Baltimore, under some rather mysterious circumstances BTW. But being that he wrote one of his greatest works The Raven, while living in Baltimore, it makes some sense. Makes a lot more sense to me than naming the team The Steamed Blue Crabs or the Padded Oysters LOL!
That is an AWESOME anecdote!
I only got to see him at the end of his career, but even at the end, he had guts.
He's scum and he like a lot of the other NFL owners get the tax payers to foot the Bill so he can make millions.
Like I said. SCUM!
Oh cry me a freaking river (a burning river like the one in Cleveland BTW). Art Modell is in no way anything like the drunken lying scum that Bob Irsay was. Bob Irsay lied about his intentions, time after time after time about moving the team to another city, and he held the city of Baltimore hostage while lying and not negotiating with them in good faith on the matter of building a new stadium and he also lied to the Baltimore Colts fans about the deals he was negotiating and making behind the scenes with Memphis and Phoenix and eventually Indianapolis (even if in his mostly drunken state, he did not remember having done so - his very own son, Jimmy Irsay even admits this is the truth.)
While I understand Clevelands animosity toward Modell, its not at all factual to claim that Modell did the very same to Cleveland and behaved in the very same way as what Irsay did to Baltimore.
Yea, Baltimore built a new partially tax payer funded football stadium for the Ravens and Cleveland also built a new partially tax payer funded football stadium for the new Cleveland Browns. So whats your point?
Cleveland got a new team but got to retain their name and the history of the Cleveland Browns and got a new stadium. Baltimore got a new team, forgoed their team name and history and got a new stadium and a new team identity. The voters in both cities, BTW, passed by referendum, tax payer funding for the new stadiums.
Simple, Art Modell is Scum. Nothing you say can change it. He is scum!
Great post thanks!
Art Modell ended up being a cheap whore, something he had to live and die with. RIP
No mo Modell? Wasn’t he a model owner?
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