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Former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell dies at 87

Obit Patricia Modell Football AP

Art Modell, who owned the Cleveland Browns for 35 years and then controversially moved them to Baltimore where they became the Ravens, has died at the age of 87.

His son, former Ravens President David Modell, confirmed in a statement released by the Ravens that his dad had died.

“Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at four this morning,” David Modell said. “My brother, John Modell, and I were with him when he finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October.”

Modell bought the Browns for $4 million in 1961 and became a hands-on owner immediately. He stunned many when he fired the Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown in 1963, but became a popular man in Cleveland when the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964. Three decades later he would become perhaps the most hated man in Cleveland when he uprooted the team and left for Baltimore, where his team became the Ravens in 1996 as he left behind the Browns franchise name.

The Ravens were a success on the field, winning the Super Bowl four years after arriving in Baltimore, but financial problems caused Modell to sell a minority share of the team to Steve Bisciotti in 1999, then give up control of the team to Bisciotti in 2004.

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74 Responses to “Former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell dies at 87”
  1. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Sep 6, 2012 7:32 AM

    He did a lot for football and we would not have gotten a team back in Baltimore without him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

    Rest in peace Art.

  2. B-bo says: Sep 6, 2012 7:35 AM

    No “perhaps” about it, MDS: most hated by a country mile. No tears being shed here.

  3. rocketcrab says: Sep 6, 2012 7:35 AM

    RIP Art Modell.

  4. dirtybird28 says: Sep 6, 2012 7:36 AM

    RIP Art Modell

  5. ballboy48 says: Sep 6, 2012 7:37 AM

    Everyone outside of Cleveland wanted to blame the city for the Browns move, but it was Art’s financial issues, that was the root of the move! He thought by moving the team, his financial problems would be gone, but they only followed him!

    He may have done some good for the game, but he is, and always will be a bigot to many in Cleveland and to many sports writers!

  6. indywilson40 says: Sep 6, 2012 7:41 AM

    It’s a sad day in Cleveland.

  7. thelongestgoodbye says: Sep 6, 2012 7:44 AM

    It’s a shame that the Hall of Fame committee couldn’t swallow their pride and induct this man while he was alive. Put aside your feelings about him moving the team, this man did alot for football and should have been recognized for it.

    Thoughts with the family.

  8. opbilly says: Sep 6, 2012 7:44 AM

    rest in peace mr modell. you were a class act and gave your time and money to so many other people.

  9. moagecu says: Sep 6, 2012 7:49 AM

    RIP Art. Good to see people from cleveland have no problems holding grudges.

  10. thebonus44 says: Sep 6, 2012 7:51 AM

    Browns fans need to get over it. Mr. Modell gave a lot to the game of football, and even though he moved your team, he left you the franchise, name, history… more than you can say about another owner (coughIRSAYcough)

  11. nightrain42 says: Sep 6, 2012 7:52 AM

    A man died, sons and grandchildren lost a father and grandfather, but all some of you can think about is your football team. Idiots. Maybe that’s why your team still SUCKS decades later. RIP Art

  12. crustylovelips says: Sep 6, 2012 7:53 AM

    being from Cleveland and being a die-hard life long Browns fan. You would think i would enjoy this moment (hearing of Art Modells passing) but it means nothing to me right now. Sure i despised him when he moved the team. Sure i could try to blame him for the Browns current issues. But in all honesty, thats all behind me now.. He is just another owner to me. I wish no ill will towards him or his family.

    btw.. anyone that thinks he’ll get in the hall of fame is delusional. The HOF is in Canton OH. like an hour from Cleveland. People on the radio this morning have not forgotten what he’s done and have promised they’ll see jail time if he gets a plaque in the HOF.

  13. theuncletodd says: Sep 6, 2012 8:00 AM

    He was an ad exec who was a failure as an NFL owner and businessman. He moved the team because as an owner, he couldn’t make money in the NFL! He went to local banks to get loans in order to get free agents! By refusing to sell the team to CLE interests led to his being the most hated man in CLE. Did he help bring innovations to the NFL-yes. Was he a philanthropist of sorts-yes. When he moved the team, any good he might have done was washed down the sewer. Not shedding any tears for him.

  14. goyzzo says: Sep 6, 2012 8:01 AM

    As a Browns I must say R.I.P Art. You will be missed. You always put a good product on the field, unlike the other idiots in charge of this franchise since the city shunned you on the stadium deal.
    My fondest Browns memories come from the days of the Modell family. I should have moved to Baltimore with our team :-)
    Go Browns and god bless Mr. Modell!!

  15. vex24 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:06 AM

    I’m a diehard Bengal Fan, and I was very upset when the Browns were moved to Baltimore. Obviously, I cannot speak for Cleveland Fans, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them are rooting for Cincinnati, OHIO this Monday.
    What worries me is that the Cleveland Curse may be gone, now.

  16. tomthebombtracy says: Sep 6, 2012 8:11 AM

    Modell made a terrible miscalculation when he demanded the Browns get control of that “mistake on the lake” dump of a Municipal Stadium.

    He wanted the revenue from the Indians games and the other events like stadium concerts.

    Well, the mayor caved in and then the Indians built The Jake and suddenly Art had the keys to a huge liability that was falling apart by the day.

    So the guy who demanded the old stadium now decided he needed a new one.

    Over here in Pittsburgh we watched with interest as Three Rivers started to crater and both the Steelers and Pirates knew they needed their own new digs.

    Of all the professional teams relocating that I can think of, none was as ever unjustified as the Browns. They had great fans who unfortunately were held hostage by the gulf that developed between City Hall and Modell.

    Modell and LeBron kind of share a similar path in Cleveland although I think the Browns owner is by far the biggest villain. The Cavs have a promising young team; the Browns went on to become the Ravens and win the Super Bowl the Browns could not.

  17. mrobinson14 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:16 AM

    I’m a browns fan and I wish no ill-will to him or his family. Even though he moved my favorite team out of town, it is important to respect the man and his family in this time of sorrow. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and to Art.

    And My fellow browns fans, let us not look to the past and what happened in 1996, but to the future. Our day is going to come. Don’t worry. The saints suffered for a long time, but even they came to the top eventually. There is always hope.

  18. fanofbrowns17 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:23 AM

    Prayers for him and his family. Still hate what he did to Cleveland, however. Go Browns.

  19. jackblackshairyback says: Sep 6, 2012 8:28 AM

    As a Browns fan, my heart got ripped out when the news broke that Modell moved the team. Despite popular opinion, he actually did go about it in bad faith. It was his mismanagement that drive him to do so, the same mismanagement that forced him to sell to Bisciotti AFTER he got a sweetheart deal from Baltimore.

    That said, he did do an awful lot for the game, and the Cleveland area. He was very philanthropic in the northeast Ohio area. The only way I know this through tragedy, and many people do not. But he wanted it that way. While I never have, and never will forgive him for his dishonesty, it is a shame that that will be his legacy.

  20. jbmartindale says: Sep 6, 2012 8:30 AM

    I’m a die hard browns fan and I don’t hate model.

    Most fans don’t realize it was the city’s fault and his financial problems were caused because he was trying to keep the team in the city as long as possible. Cleveland did him dirty.

    RIP modell

  21. raider17 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:40 AM

    God bless Art Modell! Hopefully the long time Browns fans can finally put to rest their beef and only say good things or nothing at all since he’s passed. The old guard is slowly fading away. Al, now Art, and Ralph Wilson GOD bless is probably not far behind. All these men contributed greatly to this game we love and it would be a good thing to be respectful during times like this! No doubt they have family and friends that read these boards.

    R.I.P Art

    Al Davis Forever!!!
    Just Win Baby!!!

  22. spunjmunke says: Sep 6, 2012 8:41 AM

    Stay classy Cleveland. As a Cleveland fan, I hated the move as much as anyone. I took my pot shots at him when brought up in conversation, and spewed venom at the notion that the Ravens won a Superbowl shortly after the move. But now the great big bad guy is dead, and I see no more reason to speak ill of him. His power over me as a football fan ended shortly after the “Browns” came back, though it can be debated if that was a good thing.
    So stay classy Cleveland. Be happy that the villian is dead, but be respectful.

  23. fuddpucker says: Sep 6, 2012 8:41 AM

    Art was a great man, he would have kept his team in Cleveland but they built brand new stadiums for every sports franchise BUT HIS! Art did the right thing, now we have a great team and Cleveland has another crappy team. Just the way it was in the past.

    RIP Art and thanks for being such a gentleman.

  24. ecupatsfan12 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:42 AM

    Dont like him as an owner, but this trancends football. RIP Art Modell, god speed.

  25. berniekosarisgod19 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:43 AM

    Modell fired Paul Brown, forced Jim Brown into early retirement, refused to pay for upgrades for that miserable Municipal Stadium, voted against the Colts move to Indianapolis, even testified in court against Al Davis moving the Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles. He uprooted an Institution in this city, a way of life, moving the Browns was a blow that Cleveland still hasn’t recovered from, just look at the New Browns. The team may have the colors and the classic helmet, but they don’t have the soul of the Browns. The Steelers-Ravens rivalry IS the Browns-Steelers rivalry. Art Modell is by the most hated man in Cleveland, all that being said, RIP and my condolences to his family.

  26. chesslungo says: Sep 6, 2012 8:46 AM

    As somebody that lives in Akron Ohio I dont think people will feel sorry for him or his family

  27. deadeye says: Sep 6, 2012 8:52 AM

    Love him or hate him, AM was a big time influence on the NFL during it’s rise as the top sport in the country.

    RIP Art Modell

  28. laxdaddy says: Sep 6, 2012 8:52 AM

    Art Modell was a man who put Cleveland and Football on the map. Cleveland had not won anything until Art bought the team. He developed MNF and negotiated TV contracts that helped form the back bone of the greatest sport in the world. He never wanted to leave Cleveland but when the city turned it’s back on him while other cities were building state of the art buildings, Cleveland built Jacobs Fiels and the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. He had to put his own money in the pit called Municipal Stadium. The Indians hated the place and threatened to leave. Modell put his own funds into the Cleveland Clinic and did more than his share to help the city. He moved the team and left the history. Unlike Robert Irsay who prostituted himself around the country until leaving in the dead of night. Modell wanted to stay. He helped the city secure NFL funding for the new stadium.
    He was a good man and he helped everyone. Including those who turned thier backs on him.

    God Rest His Soul.

  29. godofwine330 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:53 AM

    I know he isn’t going to get much love, heck, any love from Browns fans:

    1: He was the reason Jim Brown retired. When Brown was filming the Dirty Dozen, the filming went long and it cut into training camp. Modell said, “Get your butt to camp,” to which Brown said, “Look. I’m in shape. I’m almost done with this. Give me a couple of weeks.” Modell said, “I’m gonna fine you every day you miss,” which caused Jim Brown to say, “Forget it. I’m done.” The Browns with Brown had a good enough team to compete for the first Super Bowl, but without Brown they did not.

    2: The move to Baltimore. Sort of like The Godfather. In the movie, Vito Corleone said that he wasn’t getting into the drug thing. What happened? He got shot, Sonny got killed, Michael was run off to Italy, they lost a ton of money, and in the end they accepted the same deal they should have in the first place.

    Modell wanted a new stadium. Cleveland leadership said no. So Modell took the team to Baltimore and, you guessed it, Cleveland leadership ended up building a new stadium anyway. Add to it, the team that moved ended up winning a Super Bowl. The Browns v Steeler rivalry became the Ravens(old Browns) v Steeler rivalry. The new Browns have never competed to even call the game a rivalry. It is a slaughter. Plus, I found out my Browns moved to Baltimore in boot camp. My RDC came in and asked if anyone was from Cleveland. When I proudly raised my hand he said, “Guess what? Your teams moving to Baltimore. Ha ha ha.”

    The truth is, the NFL today would not be what it is if it had not been for Modell. Yeah, the two things I mentioned were negative, but the Browns were one of only a few teams with TV contracts back in the day. Pete Rozelle had Modell and the other owners of teams with TV deals to share the wealth so that all of the NFL teams could benefit. Doing so led to the growth of the league and the TV explosion we have today. Knowing this I can be a Browns fan, a lifelong Browns fan and say R.I.P.

  30. gpry says: Sep 6, 2012 8:54 AM

    I completely understand non-Ravens fans reactions, truth be told I had the same reaction when Irsay died. But at least Art did the right thing by leaving the name, colors and history in Cleveland where it belonged….unlike Irsay!!

  31. sliceanddic3 says: Sep 6, 2012 8:56 AM

    Somethings in life are in bigger than football guys, and death is one of those things. RIP Art.

  32. macbull says: Sep 6, 2012 8:58 AM

    In life, you reap what you sow…

    I don’t know if Art ever learned that lesson over the course of their life on earth.

    I’m hopeful that Art gets another chance to learn that lesson…

    …my condolences to the Modell family.

  33. noquickreactionshere says: Sep 6, 2012 9:03 AM

    “Modell and his wife, former television actress Patricia Breslin, have donated millions of dollars to a variety of charities, most notably the SEED School, a boarding school being developed in Baltimore for disadvantaged youth; Johns Hopkins Hospital; Kennedy Krieger Institute; St. Vincent’s Center, a home for abused children; and the House Of Ruth, a domestic violence center. Modell received the Generous Heart Award from the Dr. Ben Carson Scholarship Foundation, given annually for excellence in the community.”

    Yeah…. good to be rid of him right?

    The man was a human being and you people think football is more important than his life. Shame on you.. anyone saying the world is good to be rid of him because of a football team. Shame on you anyone who is saying you are glad he has passed….

  34. kantnockdahustle89 says: Sep 6, 2012 9:03 AM

    Considering how many awful things happen in this world Mr. Modell sure wasnt one of those people that did more harm than good. Sure people hate him in Cleveland and for good reason but there is no reason to wish him dead. RIP Art Modell for all the good you did, not the bad.

  35. chief0727 says: Sep 6, 2012 9:42 AM

    My condolences to the Modell family. Art did a lot of non-football related good for the city of Cleveland. He was on various boards for the Clinic Clinic and several charities in the area. As a football owner I really believe he tried his best to bring a winner to Cleveland. That said there is so much misinformation being posted here about his taking the team and leaving. Art didn’t demand a new stadium–he wanted to remodel the existing one–however, when the city attempted to address this matter he put a “moratorium” on the talks and proceeded to pursue relocation to the city of Baltimore behind the scenes all while saying he would begin talks with the city after the season. Art did not “leave the name and colors”. The NFL and Paul Tagliabue put the screws to him causing him to abandon the history, colors, name, etc. in an attempt to appease the Browns fans upset with his decision to move. Art isn’t in the Hall of Fame because many of the “contributions” he is credited for have been embellished. He was on the television committee, but Pete Rozelle was the negotiator. Later Jerry Jones was the mastermind behind the billion dollar deals. Art fought relocation of the Baltimore and Oakland franchises, but then moved his own. The bottom line was Art bought the Browns from Mickey McBride on borrowed money and as the league grew, he didn’t have the personal wealth to compete and he borrowed himself deeper and deeper into debt until he made a business decision and took the money and ran.

  36. ianwetpantscom says: Sep 6, 2012 9:56 AM

    You can thank Art Modell for Monday Night Football, if it wasn’t for him, you’d be watching a rerun of the Jeffersons!

    Art Modell will get into the HOF, and I’m sure it will be soon now.

    R.I.P.

  37. kingkornkahn says: Sep 6, 2012 9:59 AM

    Art never apologized and Cleveland will never forgive him.

  38. barrywhererufrom says: Sep 6, 2012 10:02 AM

    I can see why Browns fans would be angry when their team left. It would be like the Giants or in baseball the Yankees moving. But now that the man is gone I think the classy thing would be to let it rest. You do have a Browns franchise that should and will never move again. Maybe that is Modell’s legacy in Cleveland. Your city will be everything in its power to keep your team in Cleveland.

    RIP Art

  39. dawgtown86 says: Sep 6, 2012 10:07 AM

    berniekosarisgod19 and chief0727 said it best.

    Modell bought one of the best teams in football in ’61 and left us with this expansion team averaging a few wins a season. Paul Brown, Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns all left Cleveland because of Art.

    Art only gave back the name and colors because the fans fought to get them back. What other franchise has moved then has had the fans fight and get back the name and colors?

    …and quit trying to pin ‘they wanted him to die’ on Cleveland fans or say we think football > life. Any franchise has a few fans who say crazy things and sure most here hated him but c’mon, read the comments, we realize he’s a human.

  40. rmc1995 says: Sep 6, 2012 10:16 AM

    Of course Art left because of finances. He bought a crap stadium to bail out a city that couldn’t afford to even water the grass. Otherwise the Indians would have left before the Browns. For years Art poured money into the stadium just to keep the rats from pushing it into the lake. The city repays him by helping to build a stadium for his biggest client…the Indians…to move out of the stadium lease, without much, if any compensation. He further lost money when concert clients played in the new areana the city helped build rather than Art’s municipal stadium. Even still, Art supported local charities in Cleveland with what finances he had left.

  41. geniusfan says: Sep 6, 2012 10:19 AM

    I don’t think it’s the classiest thing to bad mouth a recently deceased man, but at the same time I understand where Browns fans are coming from.

    Unlike most cities who lose their franchises Cleveland fans supported their team greatly. His own financial failures were the motivating factor for the move. He stole a team that would have won a championship for the city of Cleveland.

    People need to understand Cleveland fans’ point of view. They had something they loved dearly stolen from them.

    Art Modell will never get into the HOF for this and his accomplishments (engineering Monday Night Football etc) will always be outweighed by the one huge black mark that still hovers over the city of Cleveland.

  42. browns19 says: Sep 6, 2012 10:19 AM

    Very confused. Came to terms with his passing 17 years ago- begrudglingly paid respects for what he did for the game, thoughts and prayers were with his family and said RIP. Not sure why articles are being written about his passing again today?

  43. snakeman40 says: Sep 6, 2012 10:25 AM

    Can we get one thing straight? Modell did not “leave” the Browns name/colors/history with Cleveland. He was forced to by the NFL. Why did this occur? Because Browns fans by the thousands and thousands screamed/yelled/called/faxed the NFL offices and made their displeasure known. We didn’t lay down and take it like others had in the past (sound familiar, Baltimore?). The NFL, knowing it was a terrible move, forced him to leave the name , colors, and history. I remember vividly being in Baltimore shortly after the move and seeing “Baltimore Browns” shirts being sold.
    Yes, Baltimore, you were hosed just as bad by Irsay and you got something you did not deserve. And if the NFL had any balls back then, they would have forced Irsay to leave the Colts name and history with Baltimore. But lets not re-invent the past and make Modell into some martyr who in his glorious generosity left the Browns their history. Cause it just wasn’t so.

  44. stephenolszewski says: Sep 6, 2012 10:26 AM

    I am a diehard Browns fan but, not going to celebrate a human beings death. It’s awful what he did to the city of Cleveland, a football town full of passionate fans but its not like he killed or raped someone or anything like that. In the end we got our football team back that’s all that really matters.

    R.I.P. Art

    Sincerely,
    Non Bitter Browns Fan

  45. buckfigben says: Sep 6, 2012 10:34 AM

    Art Modell
    6/23/25 – 11/6/95

    We already mourned a long time ago. Baltimore can now take over.

  46. rickydo22 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:00 AM

    He fired Paul Brown. He ran Jim Brown out of town. He moved the tem because he couldnt make money in the cash cow called THE NFL. Hardly a Hall of Fame candidate! BTW Raven fans your all a bunch od hippocrats. Your team gets moved in the middle of the night and you people loved recieving a team the same stinking way! I would never root for the Browns now if they were transplanted from another city. Thats called integrity!!!

  47. gallogj says: Sep 6, 2012 11:04 AM

    Good riddance!

  48. jabagom says: Sep 6, 2012 11:09 AM

    No tears for Art from me
    No anger towards Art or his family from me
    My condolences to his family and friends.
    My condolences to Ravens fans

  49. clbrwns says: Sep 6, 2012 11:12 AM

    Life long Browns fan and Clevelander. All I can say is HOLIDAY!!! All the media members that have kept him out of the HOF don’t think that now he’s deserving. He’s NOT. Let him go into some Baltimore HOF if he’s not already in there.

    To my friends in Baltimore – you won’t change our minds. He’s a horrible man and he’s still banned from Cleveland. No spirits or ashes or anything – STAY AWAY.

  50. dublindemonszfl says: Sep 6, 2012 11:14 AM

    Rest in Peace Mr. Modell, thanks.

  51. bmorethansteel says: Sep 6, 2012 11:17 AM

    Hey B-no, shut your mouth because with out Art, there would be no revenue sharing or Monday Night Football. Art gave you purpose on an otherwise boring Monday night. You know nothing and your tears aren’t even worth the greatness of this legendary man.

  52. ravenscaps48 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:18 AM

    You people are sick! A man, Father, Grandfather, just passed away. He was a pioneer to this game. And you idiots can only think about “aww, poor Cleveland” The Irsay’s moved the team without warning, the BALTIMORE Colts. They took the Colts name and their records, and took white out over Baltimore, and jotted down Indianapolis. We were without Football for over a Decade. A proud football town was DEAD. You guys didn’t have a team for 3 Years. AND! You kept your name! And Your Records! So I don’t want to hear it… You people are probably the classless tools that sent death threats to LeBron James when he LEFT CLEVELAND!… You know what the best thing to do in Cleveland is?… Pack Up And Get Out! TIME TO PUT ON YOUR BIG BOY PANTS, AND MOVE ON!

  53. dawgfan540 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:20 AM

    I hope I live to be 87 years old. That’s a pretty good life. I’m not mad at the guy. Is what it is. We have a new owner now so let’s move on. Start of a new era. Go Browns!

  54. dawgtown86 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:20 AM

    He didn’t make the Hall of Fame and nothing has happened to change that.

    RIP Art.

    GO BROWNS.

  55. bmorethansteel says: Sep 6, 2012 11:24 AM

    To all the still salty Browns fans, Art made sure with the league that Cleveland would get there team back hence why the name was left behind. Baltimore got shafted worse when they moved because we still hear about the Colts only in Indy. You still have your browns and 3 yrs later in fact. Took us forever. Baltimore has and always will be just as a football town as Cleveland.

  56. guitarkevin says: Sep 6, 2012 11:25 AM

    RIP Art. You were a blessing to Baltimore. So glad Cleveland put baseball, basketball and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame above football.

  57. lenke08 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:29 AM

    Ok lets get this straight. So modell wanted to keep the Browns name in Cleveland?? He used it as a bargaining chip so he could move the team to that rat bird trap. Also Cleveland was also going to fix up the stadium and Modell did not honor the lease of the stadium. Im not saying YAY HE IS DEAD the man is gone from this world and may his family find peace. Just as a fellow Browns fan no one understands how much this hurt us more than anyone else. Baltimore Colts left due to a lease issue and Baltimore didnt want to ante up the money due to low attendance. Us browns fan fill the seats and are the most loyal fans in the NFL. No fair weather fans in Cleveland!!

  58. whocarez0 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:32 AM

    Get over it, Brown’s fans… Modell moved the team in ’96 and the new Browns started playing in ’99… You hated him before he left, hated him more when he left, and still hate him now, even after he has left this world…

    You’re not the only fans that have had their team move, but you are by far the biggest WHINERS!

  59. truehoosier62 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:36 AM

    If there’s truly any justice, he’ll have a 6ft screwer ran from anus through esophagus, roasting slowly over a nice bed of hot Bridgeford charcoal, while demons, dressed in full dog-pound attire, sing the Cleveland Browns fight song.

  60. radrntn says: Sep 6, 2012 11:39 AM

    I understand the emotions for a lot of brown fans who had this guy tear out their hearts by moving the the team to baltimore…that hurts and that sucks, but bottom line the nfl is a billion $ biz only because of great men like Art. Seem these titans are begining to pass the throne to thier heirs….

    RIP Art.

  61. clebrownsfan says: Sep 6, 2012 11:41 AM

    Browns fans need to get over it. Mr. Modell gave a lot to the game of football, and even though he moved your team, he left you the franchise, name, history… more than you can say about another owner (coughIRSAYcough)
    ==================================
    Hey Bonus – you are incorrect. Modell’s initial plan was to move the history and name the team the Baltimore Browns. The NFL stipulated that the team history stay in Cleveland in part due to the response of the Cleveland fans. At the time this was unheard of. You see we are passionate, more so than most other fan bases including yours. This is evident by the fact that your Colts now play in Indianapolis, history and all. We fought for our team, you didn’t.

  62. erikinhell says: Sep 6, 2012 11:42 AM

    laxdaddy says:
    Sep 6, 2012 8:52 AM
    Art Modell was a man who put Cleveland and Football on the map. Cleveland had not won anything until Art bought the team.
    ===================================
    I’ll try this one again, as I don’t know why my posts are deleted when I’m not saying anything controversial.

    Cleveland had won 4 championships in the AAFL and 3 in the NFL before modell bought them. The revisionist history here is astounding. Cleveland did more for the NFL than any other team at that time. They turned the NFL on their ears when they won the league championship in their first year in the NFL. You can thank Cleveland and Paul Brown for the ‘West Coast Offense’, which was orignally developed in Cleveland and passed on by a Paul Brown deciple. The fans of Cleveland started the ‘Dawg Pound’, and all other cities copied them (black hole, jungle, blast furnace, etc.) The NFL was a running league with some passing before the Browns came into the league.

  63. raqaiw says: Sep 6, 2012 11:44 AM

    theuncletodd says: Sep 6, 2012 8:00 AM

    He was an ad exec who was a failure as an NFL owner and businessman.

    His teams won 2 championships(one each with the Browns and Ravens) Sounds like a pretty good owner to me.

  64. rastacc says: Sep 6, 2012 11:47 AM

    FYI: Art didn’t leave the Browns name and franchise in Cleveland. He was forced to by a court of law.

  65. christophershearin says: Sep 6, 2012 11:49 AM

    To all those people who say browns fans need to get over the fact he moved the team. Why dont you look in the mirror, You still wont recognize the Indianapolis Colts as the Colts, They are refered to as the team from indianapolis. So you hold the same grudge against the irsay family, and the city of Indianapolis, Yet you were willing to screw the city of cleveland the same way you were when the colts left. Get over that before you tell me that I cant hate modell anymore. (With that said, I dont ever wish death on anyone, not even modell.)

  66. ronarch13 says: Sep 6, 2012 11:50 AM

    Remember when his son David stole the Ravens logo from the guy that designed it?

  67. joetoronto says: Sep 6, 2012 11:55 AM

    A good owner doesn’t abandon his fans in the middle of the night, like a thief.

    I’m sorry but when I think of Modell, it’s never anything good.

  68. erikinhell says: Sep 6, 2012 12:09 PM

    bmorethansteel says:
    Sep 6, 2012 11:24 AM
    To all the still salty Browns fans, Art made sure with the league that Cleveland would get there team back hence why the name was left behind. Baltimore got shafted worse when they moved because we still hear about the Colts only in Indy. You still have your browns and 3 yrs later in fact. Took us forever. Baltimore has and always will be just as a football town as Cleveland.
    ===================================

    bmorethansteel, you, sir, are incorrect. The fans of Cleveland made sure they’d get a team. I called and left messages or faxed every team in the league in 95, including the NFL offices. So did many, many others. Might I also remind you that modell was on the commitee to decide whether baltimore or jacksonville would get an expansion team in 95. He voted for Jacksonville. The colors, name, and records were left due to an agreement with the NFL and Cleveland to drop lawsuits. He sold the Browns franchise to the NFL, and bought the unnamed ‘ravens’ in Feburary of 96 to get the lawsuits dropped.

    I personally believe he set up the move at least 3 years in advance, as david modell had the headquarters of the Browns Backers fan club moved to baltimore in 92.

    The Colts moved to Indy due to low attendance by the fans of balitmore, so stop the crap about ‘football town’. If it was such a football town, the colts move never would have happened due to low attendance.

  69. alan3008 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:12 PM

    Good riddance. I only wish he never got to see the Ravens win a Super Bowl after what he did to Cleveland. Leaving Cleveland was a travesty. He probably would not have gotten into financial problems if he stayed in Cleveland. At the time, Cleveland had the highest attendance record of any team in the NFL.
    His firing of Paul Brown was a travesty as well and lost me permanently as a fan. I am glad he is gone.

  70. dawgtown86 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:23 PM

    Could not dislike truehoosier62′s comment more. Completely inappropriate.

    RIP Art.

    Go Browns.

  71. rickydo22 says: Sep 6, 2012 12:45 PM

    I have to speak up again! Art Modell NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER gave the fans a heads up he was moving the team,no warning whatsoever!!! So anybody who gives us a THUMBS DOWN to being whiners dos’nt know what their talking about! He’s dead and I dont find any solace with that,but lets not forget the hundreds of businesses that got closed and Hundreds of people who lost their jobs downtown because of that man. If he would have said he needed a new stadium we would have built him one too! THIS IS A BROWNS TOWN!!

  72. mazblast says: Sep 6, 2012 3:12 PM

    “Cleveland had not won anything until Art bought the team.”

    Excuse me? Have you looked at the record of the Browns before Modell bought the team? Do all those AAFC titles in the Forties and NFL titles in the Fifties (I believe seven in all, but I’m too lazy to look it up) constitute “nothing”? Paul Brown founded the team and made it one of the league’s powerhouses, with fans among the most loyal in all of football.

    I may be a Steelers fan and therefore conditioned to hate the Browns, but I don’t. While the Browns thrived and drew 80,000 a game, when I was a kid the Steelers were drawing 30,000 to mostly empty Pitt Stadium and losing consistently. The Browns were the class of the league before Modell arrived, and except for the wart at the top of the organization, they were a class operation even when their football success declined.

    “Cleveland had not won anything until Art bought the team.” Facepalm and head shake.

  73. cheers4ablumpkin says: Sep 6, 2012 6:11 PM

    Rip art your a legend in the 410. God bless you

  74. dybzinski10 says: Sep 6, 2012 9:52 PM

    It’s amazing how blindly Baltimore fans are without doing any real research. they buy into Art’s proclaimation that he had no choice, but stop right there.

    Art NEVER gave Cleveland an ultimatum or said build me a stadium or else. If you do any homework, you will find that Art took on ownership of the Cleveland Stadium Corp from the city in the seventies which ran the old stadium, in order to run it’s buisness and capture it’s profits like leasing to the Indians. In the early nineties, Art had the opportuntity to be a part of the gateway complex with the Cavs and Indians, but as a similar leased tenant. Art did not want to give up control and thought he could make do with future upgrades to his stadium, which was on of many bad business decisions.

    Later, as the stadium was found to be crumbling, he knew money had been allocated within Cleveland without him now, and was up a creek and took a sweetheart deal instead of selling to local interests.

    As for leaving the name, colors, and history, I feel for you Colts fans but Art was forced to do so as part of the settlement agreement and to drop the lawsuits against him.

    Learn the truth like you did with Irsay. You will be surprised what you find.

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