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TroysBadDawg 10-25-2007 09:42 AM

"Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"


The longer the oversight lasts, the more stories like this will be told. And the oversight has lasted a long, long time, as long as the apparent vendetta.

The facts will never change: In his 46 years on the scene, Art Modell did a great service to the NFL, to sports fans everywhere and to a proud but snubbed city and its football legacy. Stick a doughnut in my right hand, a Duff beer in my left and call me "Homer" if you like - but those facts should be enough to get Modell into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But so far, they haven't been. This year might be different, but not many people are holding out hope anymore. Modell, now 82 and getting around by wheelchair and golf cart, has never been the type to publicly campaign, and Tuesday night at the dinner in his honor at Valley Mansion, he let others campaign for him. The size of the crowd and the people who spoke about him did just that.

In speaking to The Sun's Edward Lee, Modell said of the turnout: "All part of the Modell family. I always ran the business as a family business. These people are an extension of my family, of which I am very grateful."

No one's arm was twisted to come praise Modell once again. Not the old Colts, such as Lenny Moore and Tom Matte. Not the past and present Ravens, like Brian Billick, Michael McCrary and, via recording, Jonathan Ogden. Not John Mara, scion of one of the original NFL families and current owner of the New York Giants, like Modell an NFL lifer. Not the night's presenters, the folks at the Babe Ruth Museum, which existed before Modell and the Ravens arrived and began as a history repository for a different sport.

Not Ozzie Newsome, a great player for Modell in Cleveland and a man Modell later trusted with the entire football operation when most other owners couldn't find it in themselves to trust a black man to as much as coach the team. That took Hall of Fame-worthy vision or guts or a combination of the two.

Jim Brown even tried to make it, denied only by the Southern California wildfires threatening his home. And Brown has never shown much love for establishment types. Brown and Modell have an interesting, complicated history, some of which involved the Browns' contentious departure from Cleveland. But Modell meant that much to him that he was going to honor him anyway.

It's the scars left from the move, of course, that have denied Modell his moment in Canton and his well-earned right to football immortality. The list of his accomplishments in the NFL ought to be well known by now: a pioneer in televising the league, a major player in the NFL-AFL merger and in the first labor agreement with the players, the man who broke a significant barrier when he promoted Newsome, the owner who produced the last pro championships for Cleveland and Baltimore on his watch.

Plus ... he did leave Cleveland the nickname and logos.

Truthfully, the Cleveland faithful can't be derided for hating Modell; heartbroken Colts fans here know that better than anybody else. But each city still has only one representative on the 44-person Hall of Fame selection committee, and the time is approaching to pick semifinalists for the 2008 class. Modell has made the final cut only once, in 2002.

So it's up to the others to think this through: Is the NFL better off now that Baltimore is back in the league, after all that Baltimore has meant to it?

And is it better off now that Cleveland is represented, too? With the new stadium it never got while Modell was there, like the one Baltimore got long after Robert Irsay beat it out of town. Heck, Indianapolis has proved beyond a doubt that it is worthy of having the NFL, too.

Pro football belongs in all of those cities. Along with the rest of his body of work, credit Modell for getting the NFL back to one place that didn't deserve to have it stolen away.

Plus, not that this matters to the Hall, he did find time to leave a legacy of great charity work in two cities. Ask the kids in Baltimore who are going to be educated by the public boarding school plan, part of the SEED Foundation's efforts, to which Modell and his wife last January pledged $5 million.

Yes, the man actually did a little more in his football life than, as a famous Sports Illustrated cover depicted, punch the Dawg Pounders in the gut.

It's long past time to stop punching Modell back. Punch his ticket to Canton instead.

This guy can't even write the truth.

"Plus ... he did leave Cleveland the nickname and logos."

a court order deemed the Browns colors, nickname, logos, and history belonged to the City of Cleveland. Art copywrited them years before, while he was blocking expansion teams from going to Baltimore.

"With the new stadium it never got while Modell was there, "

he also appears to forget, the voters of Cleveland passed a tax to build him a new stadium before he decided to move the team, that was something he was demanding. He got the new stadium, but he moved the team anyway.

The Browns fan are some of the most loyal fans there are, and will boycott the Hall if he were ever placed in it. Except to maybe relieve it of his bust, bury it in a septic tank which Browns fans from all over would gladly make fecal contributions. Maybe even some Steeler fans also huh???

TroysBadDawg 10-25-2007 09:45 AM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
For my complete letter in response to this article:

fansince'76 10-25-2007 10:03 AM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
Art Monk not in the Hall = travesty.

Art Modell not in the Hall = justice.

Lord Stiller 10-25-2007 10:22 AM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
trust me, i live in BAltimore and the Sun's sports writers are complete idiots

I can barely even read it anymore

Edman 10-25-2007 10:26 AM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
Leave to a Baltmore newspaper to defend Satan Modell. Irsay is the devil in Baltimore, while Modell is a god.

Modell's asinine move destroyed some of the more classical rivalries in the NFL and spawned the Ratbirds. An organization I have a little respect for, but tons of hate to tromp it.

revefsreleets 10-25-2007 11:36 AM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
There is a very good reason why Art Modell isn't in the HOF. Why would him being getting ready to kick the bucket change it?

rbryan 10-25-2007 11:47 AM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
Forget about the fact that he's a scumbag that ripped the heart out of the city of Cleveland. What contribution has he made to warrant getting into the HOF???? Are we supposed to give every owner a pass into the Hall as long as he's been around forever regardless of his track record???

stlrtruck 10-25-2007 12:14 PM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
Hey TroyDawg just a few notes on your find and your response.

First, Modell's contributions to the NFL, outside of his ownership, are well noted.

Second, Modell's decision to screw the fans of Cleveland surpass anything he may have contributed to the NFL. Although I laughed at the browns fans when it happened, I still thought it was a travesty - especially since he was selling out every game but still couldn't manage to operate his business succesfully when it came to player contracts.

Finally, the browns fan base is ONE of the most loyal fan bases, not THE most loyal. Just for clarification.

But I do like your response.

Atlanta Dan 10-25-2007 01:34 PM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
The entertainment potential of Browns fans driving down the road from Cleveland to Canton to boo Modell's induction if it occurs should not be discounted.:smile:

TroysBadDawg 10-25-2007 01:34 PM

Re: "Unlock doors to Hall for Modell"
Yours is to the Steelers and ours is to the Browns, so we have it! We have the most loyal fan base there is.

We had the best rivalry there was in sports I think, anyway around our parts. Now it is who hates the ratbirds more. We still have our rivalry, and it will never be like the old time one, I don't believe.
Hey I am beginning to like you guys and gals somewhat.
But I will deny saying that. You have to remember I am ADD and can get away with things like that. Besides I am an old man so we can say things we don't mean and then deny we said them.
But really I do believe between the Browns and Steelers have the most loyal fans anywhere. We have had the hard times and the good times yet the fans have still been there for both. We both get the band wagon fans and for all I am concerned they can go to Cinci, because the Bengals Suck. Even my neighbor says so and he is a die hard Bengal fan. LOL Now they are thinking of trading Chad I hear. LMOA. They are falling apart at the seams.

Maybe, Just maybe... they should get rid of a certain HC who lets all this garbage go on down there??? Just a thought.

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