Thursday, September 6, 2012

Art Modell, Influential NFL Owner Who Owned Cleveland Browns Then Moved Them To Baltimore, R. I. P.

Art Modell, the longtime owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns, who moved that franchise in Baltimore in 1996 and was transformed from a hero to a villain in the Ohio city while becoming a hero in the Maryland metropolis (and won Super Bowl XXXV as Ravens' owner), passed away early on Thursday in Baltimore from natural causes at age 87.

Besides owning the Browns, beginning in 1962 when he bought the club, Mr. Modell became influential in the National Football League acquisations of its first lucrative television contracts and was actually for a couple of years in the late 1960s the league president.

However, because of failed negotiations with the city of Cleveland on either making major improvements in Municipal Stadium or building a new stadium for his team, Art packed up his gridiron club and moved it to Baltimore in 1996, thus becoming a hero in Baltimore (where the team was renamed the Ravens) while becoming a villain in Clevleland (in which a new Browns team came into existance as well as a new stadium in 1999, with the original club's records and heritage).  The Ravens won Super Bowl XXV, manhandling the New York Giants in January 2001.

Art Modell sold the club in 2004.

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