The League

Jon DeNunzio
Sports Editor

Jon DeNunzio

A Sports Editor and lead blogger for Playback.

But Is It Art?


I'm going to use a broad definition of "team" to answer this question ("Which owner hurts his team the most?"). And , okay, I'm being liberal with the term "owner," too. With that established, then I'm going to say:

Art Modell of the Ravens hurts his team the most.

Yes, Modell is now a minority owner of the Baltimore NFL franchise, and Steve Bisciotti runs the show. So Modell really can't hurt the current edition of the Ravens you see on the field.

But what is an NFL team without fans? Art Modell is responsible for the league's least fan-friendly moment in the past 20 years: pulling the Browns out of Cleveland. He excised the team from a city that loved its football team like few others for 50 years.

Did I say it was not a fan-friendly move? Heck, it was fan-hostile.

Yeah, the stadium was a dump. I'm sure the negotiations with the city were difficult. And of course, Cleveland got the Browns "back" after a three-year hiatus. But Modell -- and the NFL -- should have found a way to prevent the move from happening in the first place.

By the way, you know it was bad when you see that Modell felt the need to rationalize the offense in his bio on the Ravens' Web site:

It was not an easy move to make for the longtime Clevelander, but Modell did not leave the fans of Cleveland empty handed...Art left the name "Browns," the team colors and the great and storied Browns' history.

So how does this make Modell bad for the Ravens? Forever, the NFL's Baltimore franchise will be a symbol of an ugly bottom-line mentality: forget the fans, there's quick money to be made. Indianapolis has one of those symbols, too -- and you know where the Colts came from.

By Jon DeNunzio  |  September 12, 2008; 11:15 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

DeNunzio in the HOUSE!!!

I'd say. The Elkann's, the heirs to the automaker group FIAT which owns Juventus. Match fixing!! Horrible!!

Ha Ha -- Gotcha!!

Every owner who is pricing the true fans out of the games -- of every sport.

Posted by: steve-o | September 12, 2008 5:32 PM

I wish we could rewind football history and send the Colts back to Baltimore, Rams back to LA and Cardinals back to St. Louis and Oilers back to Houston.

Posted by: football fan | September 12, 2008 6:28 PM

Do the Browns realize the guy who brought football back to Cleveland, the late Al Lerner had ties to Baltimore. He helped his friend Art Modell move the franchise to Baltimore. Lerner was also president of MBNA back which was originally in Baltimore!

Posted by: football fan | September 12, 2008 6:36 PM

OMG! NFL Owners want to make money off of their million dollar investments!

Maybe MacDonalds food is not designed with the best interests of the diner's health in mind!

Please. The NFL is a business, like any other. Modell didn't commit any moral crime by moving his team. Get over it. . .

Posted by: CJB | September 13, 2008 9:49 PM

I agree, Modell is the worse. The City of Cleveland committed to build a new stadium. The Mayor very specifically said we will take care of the Browns as soon as we get the NBA, MLB, and Rock Hall of Fame debt under control. The city was willing to make 5 large investments in a 5 to 7 year period.

The city sued to keep the team and keeping the name and records was partof the settlement. Modell did not do this on his own. The league knows he messed up, that is why Cleveland had a new team in 3 years, and a new stadium.

Modell was broke. How do you go broke owning a football team?

Posted by: Nardwilly | September 14, 2008 7:58 AM

Ultimately, the faulty lies with the NFL. What Baltimore fan will forget the press conference in which the NFL was supposedly going to announce the cities for their two expansion teams - only to discover they'd decided on only one, and the remaining cities could continue with the pandering and courting of the team owners, commissioner and other powers-to-be? I've never been so disgusted with a league as on that date - a peak of sleazy and spineless behavior.

Posted by: Jackie A | September 14, 2008 8:52 AM

Gee, I think the poll was which owner hurts its team the most? Hey paisan, get over "the move" already.

Posted by: Sammy | September 14, 2008 10:19 AM

He-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned is, without a doubt, the worst. He was a terrible owner loooonnnggg before he moved to Baltimore. I mean, fire Paul Brown, maybe the greatest NFL coach of all, and for whom the team was named? STUPID! Play chicken with the greatest player in NFL history by refusing to let him report to training camp a few weeks late, therefore forcing him to retire? STUPID, STUPID! (As if Jim Brown was ever out of playing shape. He's 72 years old and STILL at his playing weight.)
Don't forget that, even with all the money--over $200 million!--B'more gave to him to move, he had to sell the majority share BECAUSE HE WAS GOING BROKE!!! It wasn't Cleveland's fault he "was losing money" on the team, he was just a terrible, terrible businessman. It's impossible to lose money owning an NFL team. IDIOT!!!

Posted by: OhioDon | September 15, 2008 12:04 AM

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