Posted September 06, 2012 on
AP on Fox
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.
The Ravens won their lone Super Bowl in January 2001, less than a year after Modell sold a minority interest of the team to Steve Bisciotti. In April 2004. Bisciotti completed purchase of the franchise but left Modell a 1 percent share.
During his four decades as an NFL owner, Modell helped negotiate the league's lucrative contracts with television networks, served as president of the NFL from 1967 to 1969, and chaired the negotiations for the first the collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968.
He also was the driving force behind the 1970 contract between the NFL and ABC to televise games on Monday night.
At one time one of Cleveland's biggest civic leaders, Modell became a pariah in Ohio after he moved the team.
''I have a great legacy, tarnished somewhat by the move,'' he said in 1999. ''The politicians and the bureaucrats saw fit to cover their own rear ends by blaming it on me.''
The move was also believed to be the main reason why Modell never made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was one of 15 finalists in 2001 and a semifinalist seven times between 2004 and 2011.
''I believe Art belongs in the Hall of Fame,'' former New York Giants owner Wellington Mara, now deceased, said in 2002. ''I don't think I know a person who has done more for the league than Modell, especially through television.''
Modell's Browns were among the best teams of the 1960s, led during his first few years as owner by legendary running back Jim Brown. Cleveland won the NFL championship in 1964 - Modell's only title with the Browns - and played in the title game in 1965, 1968 and 1969.
Modell said he lost millions of dollars operating the Browns in Cleveland and cited the state of Maryland's financial package, including construction of a $200 million stadium, as his reasons for going to Baltimore. The Ravens replaced the Baltimore Colts, who moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
''This has been a very, very tough road for my family and me,'' Modell said at the time of the move. ''I leave my heart and part of my soul in Cleveland. But frankly, it came down to a simple proposition: I had no choice.''
Ironically, the cost of the move to Baltimore left him financially strapped and left him no choice but to put in motion the chain of events that enabled Bisciotti to assume majority ownership of the franchise.
Bisciotti has since poured millions into the team, financing construction of a lavish practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. As a tribute to Modell, Bisciotti insisted that a huge oil painting of Modell be hung above the fireplace at the entrance to the complex.
Born June 23, 1925, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Modell dropped out of high school at age 15 and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard cleaning out the hulls of ships to help out his financially strapped family after the death of his father.
He completed high school in night class, joined the Air Force in 1943, and then enrolled in a television school after World War II. He used that education to produce one of the first regular daytime television programs before moving into the advertising business in 1954.
A group of friends led by Modell purchased the Browns in 1961 for $4 million - a figure he called ''totally excessive.''
''You get few chances like this,'' he said at the time. ''To take advantage of the opportunity, you must have money and friends with more.''
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Art Modell, the controversial former Browns owner who moved the team out of Cleveland, has been hospitalized in Baltimore and his condition is worsening, according to a local TV station.
Family members, including his two sons, have gathered to be with the 87-year-old Modell, WKYC-TV reports.
Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore following the 1995 season and renamed them the Ravens...
Former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell passed away early Thursday morning due to natural causes at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
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Art Modell's death has rekindled memories - mostly bad ones - for Browns fans.
Modell, who died Thursday at the age of 87, remains reviled in this football-mad city, which had its heart and soul stolen when Modell moved Cleveland's beloved NFL franchise to Baltimore in 1995. For all his many contributions as a philanthropist in Cleveland, a city he loved as much as his hometown...
Arthur B. Modell died today at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital. To many people this was a very sad day in sports and to the Baltimore Raven franchise. To many more, his legacy will go down in infamy. That “many” includes all Cleveland Browns fans and in particular, me. I have been a Cleveland Browns fan for my entire life and have lived through many ups and downs...
All these years I have been lobbying for Art Modell to be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame before it's too late for him to experience the honor he deserved...It is now too late. Modell died of "natural causes" at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on September 6 at the age of 87."Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at four this...
Art Modell, previous owner of of the Baltimore Ravens comes onto the field for halftime celebrations of the ten year Super Bowl anniversary team during the game against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Bills lead the Ravens at the half 24-20.
(October 23, 2010 – Source: Larry French/Getty Images North America)
Whatever else about Art Modell, he was the last major sports owner to bring a championship to Cleveland, even if it was all thanks to Paul Brown’s players. A 2003 USA Today profile noted that “the NFL [was] Modell’s life and livelihood,” which cuts an even sharper contrast with Cleveland’s sports owners of today. When Modell moved here from New York in 1961 he immersed...
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets owner Woody Johnson unexpectedly showed up for practice Thursday at the team's Atlantic Health training center and met with members of the media for roughly 10 minutes. Covering a myriad of topics from the untimely death of NFL pioneer Art Modell, the recent circus show label placed by pundits and if the home opener would be sold out, Johnson was calm...
First of all, I send out my condolences to his family. I’ve known his son David since he was a little boy. I have a lot of respect for Art. I always considered him a friend. He was a great visionary for the game of football. He should be in the Hall of Fame. [...] It was very tragic how he broke the heart of Cleveland fans, but that’s the reality and nothing can be done about...
It was 1985, and Art Modell was in charge of the Cleveland Browns and was hoping to turn things around for the big time organization. There was a big name quarterback available through the draft, but how could Art Modell get his franchise quarterback when the Buffalo Bills had the first overall pick? That was a huge question, but Modell found a way to make it all possible...
Art Modell is dead.
I type this piece from Dallas, so all I am hearing on TV and radio are the National media people speak so glowingly of the man. I would never speak ill of the dead. It is unbecoming. But looking at my Twitter feed and listening to the Adam Schefter’s and Jason LaCanfora’s and Ken Rosenthal’s of the world opine on the man is firing me up. I can’t sit quietly...
FSR superscout Chris Landry joins Rob and Amy to discuss the death of Art Modell, and break down a little college and professional football.