He represented what Ive been hearing at both conventions this 2012 election season thus far “America” “Values” “Principles” he gave people the opportunities no one else would, no matter the skin color (In the 60′s), personal Issues, media Issues & disease! He stood up for whatever he believed in no matter what ANYONE THOUGHT! Art Modell Is the main reason why I like the Baltimore Ravens, and will never forget the original Cleveland Browns. When he moved that team he didnt just take the players & personel, he took EVRYTHING that team represented! From Ernie Davis, Jim Brown & Ray Lewis too the communities in both cities, lets not forget the N.F.L (“he better go Into the Hall Of Fame This Year!!!”) have felt the touch of a caring man.
During his four decades as an NFL owner, Art Modell helped negotiate the league’s lucrative contracts with television networks that generated $8.4 billion for the league, served as president of the NFL from 1967 to 1969, and chaired the negotiations for the first collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968 a succession of winning ideas and the expansion of the N.F.L. into many cities; the 1970 merger of the American Football League and the National Football League into competing N.F.L. conferences; preseason games. He also was the driving force behind the 1970 contract between the NFL and ABC to televise games on Monday night.
In 1995 when Mr. Modell announced that, having lost $21 million in the previous two seasons, he would move the Browns to Baltimore for 1996. Wounded Cleveland shrieked betrayal after “Pride of Cleveland” and “Super Citizen” awards, and was elected to the boards of corporations and universities.. There were street protests, hate mail and death threats against Mr. Modell. At the final home game, beer bottles and seats torn from their moorings rained down on the field.
In hindsight people in Cleveland need to realize that at the time he moved the team, the Indians got a new stadium, the Cavs got a new stadium, the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame was built, and they built a science museum next door, and then told Art Modell (I believe he also would use some of his own money) that the Browns wouldn’t get a new stadium, get over it Cleveland.
He was never the same man after moving the Browns. I believe it broke his heart, are words uttered by many that know Art Modell.
Modell Is to me & others regarded as one of the most influential movers and shakers in the NFL for much of his four-decade tenure. There is an oft-used phrase in the annual Hall of Fame discussions that one “cannot write the history of the league without including certain candidates” Art Modell.
Good and bad, it would be difficult to imagine the N.F.L as it is without his role.
“Football became my livelihood,” Modell once acknowledged. “And my life.” a statment to me that Is underrated In this league & by Mr. Modell himself.
“Mr. Art Modell Is The N.F.L!” His 43 seasons in the league represented more than half of the NFL’s history.
When I first met him (away from the normal handshake & hello), he was sitting in a sideroom from the box with 10 TV’s on the wall and I was trying to watch the Bills game. when I reach the arch way of the room he said “Please have a seat” I felt like a huge kid In a dream, he says ” Which team are you rooting for?” “THE BILLS” I thought he was going to let me have It, Instead he smile looked at the wall & turned to the Bills game on one of the two big Tv’s. He then turned toward me & said “Ralph, hes a good man”.
I will never forget the story he told my about him & Ralph Wilson. Ive been to the box 5 times since, everytime I would see Art go inside the box to watch the games I couldnt help but want to go sit there aswell in hopes for another great story!! My last game Im Very Thankful to David Modell who emailed me to offer a ticket to the 2012 playoff game last seasons, not knowing this would be the last time I would see Art.
R.I.P Art & Pat Modell