With former Browns owner Art Modell’s passing last year, the movement for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame has never been met with such enthusiastic backing or vitriol. The call for him to remain out of the Hall of Fame has been supported by a strong social media campaign known as #ArtOut, started by ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi and campaigned for quite admirably by Cleveland Frowns.
Modell’s case is truly one of perception. Anyone in Cleveland can – and very much will – tell you that Modell has no business being elected. But ask plenty of people around the league and they’ll instantly point to his “contributions” (again, perception) towards making football the TV powerhouse that it is today.
There are very real, legitimate reasons as to why Modell hasn’t been elected yet. For one thing, if he was truly the pioneer that everyone says he is (and there is credit to be given to him; this isn’t a completely one-sided argument), he’d likely already be in. But, more than anything, the Browns’ move to Baltimore continues to haunt him even in death, which should really tell you everything you need to know, shouldn’t it?
Modell’s candidacy is a very complicated matter, one based entirely on a person’s own point of view. Whether it’s his hand in the brokering of huge TV deals or legitimizing the pattern of owners holding cities hostage for a new stadium with the threat of relocation, Modell’s chances for the Hall of Fame rest solely on perception.
What will his perception be on Saturday?