The death of one of the NFL’s most influential game changers comes on the coattails of the Dallas Cowboys vs. NY Giants season opener upset. Art Modell, the former Baltimore Ravens owner, died “peacefully of natural causes” Thursday. He was 87.
If this is the first you’ve heard of Modell or you thought he was the founder of the sporting goods store Modell’s, you’ll want to check out our cheat sheet below.
Who Was He:
- Modell bought the Cleveland Browns for $4 million in 1961.
- He later moved the franchise to Baltimore in 1996 – making him a pariah in Ohio. (Modell was once seen as one of Cleveland’s biggest civic leaders.)
- ''This has been a very, very tough road for my family and me,'' said Modell, 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.''
- The Cleveland-Baltimore move is said to be main reason why he was never inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Modell was a finalist in 2001. And a semi-finalist seven times between 2004 and 2011.
What He Did:
- Modell helped negotiate highly profitable contracts with TV networks for the league during his 40 years as an NFL owner.
- He was president of the NFL from 1967 to 1969.
- In 1968, Modell chaired the negotiations for the first ever collective bargaining agreement with players.
- He was the driving force behind the 1970 contract for televised Monday night games between the NFL and ABC.
- Modell was also a very charitable person. He and his wife, Patricia, donated millions to:
- The Seed School of Maryland, a boarding school for disadvantaged youths.
- Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
- The Performing Arts Center at The Lyric, which was renamed the Patricia and Art Modell Performing Arts Center.
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