NFL, don’t even think about voting former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to the Hall of Fame

14 Jan 2001: Owner Art Modell of the Baltimore Ravens walks across the field after beating the Oakland Raiders 16-3 in the AFC Championship at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT
14 Jan 2001: Owner Art Modell of the Baltimore Ravens walks across the field after beating the Oakland Raiders 16-3 in the AFC Championship at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT /

Art Modell has no business in the NFL Hall of Fame as he not only did a disservice to the Cleveland Browns and their fans, but the NFL as a whole

Nominating former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to the NFL Hall of Fame is the worst idea since Adolf Hitler decided to invade Russia. If the NFL goes forward with this incredibly stupid idea, the backlash will be terrible.

Modell has been nominated to a special group of potential inductees referred to as the “Centennial Class” in honor of 100 years of the NFL.  Modell has been selected to a group of ten candidates in the category of “contributor,” from which three will make the Hall of Fame.  Ten senior players and two coaches will also be chosen.  The actual vote will be in January.

My mother taught me to always try to say something nice about people. So here are some genuine positives, which explains why he is even being considered for such an undeserved honor:

First, Modell was way out in front in connecting the NFL to television at a time when other owners thought that their main source of revenue was ticket sales and overpriced hot dogs. He was a focal point for negotiating contracts with the networks, and getting the other owners to cooperate to provide the networks with a comprehensive package, rather than the piecemeal, local TV gigs that team had back in the 1960s. Modell made millions for the league.

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Second, Modell was instrumental in creating Monday Night Football, at a time when other owners thought it was heretical and would ruin the sport. That is also huge.

Third, Modell was very supportive of his players and cared about them as individuals. I’ve talked to a few retired Browns players at Browns Backers events and the like, and they kind of sheepishly admit that they loved working for the guy.

Fourth, many of the problems Modell had with Cleveland politicians were not his fault. Cleveland officials, it must be acknowledged, have IQs lower than that of an average eggplant. They were arrogant and almost impossible to deal with. If Modell is ultimately faulted for not being able to negotiate with Cleveland politicians, let us agree that it was not an easy task.

Okay, there are four nice things about Mr. Modell. But guess what? None of that matters, and in fact, if you will check the Twitter traffic associated with this article, no doubt you will be able to see that many of my dear fellow Browns fans will be incensed that I said anything good at all about Modell.

Time has not healed the wound of having the team stolen from the fans that supported it for so many years. I don’t know what will happen if Modell is selected for the Hall of Fame but it won’t be pretty. The words of the Ghostbusters warning the mayor come to mind:

"“The NFL is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions….Old Testament, real wrath of God type stuff.  Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”"

It’s absolutely certain that the backlash will be incredible and will shake the rafters of NFL headquarters. The NFL will become a target of the national media and it will not be a good image for the NFL. Canton is too close to Cleveland.

Historical research should remind the voters that Mr. Modell violated the handshake agreements that Paul Brown had in place with the original ownership of the team. Brown was on track to become part-owner of the team that bears his name, and that was wiped out by Modell.

Presumably, it was legal, but to many observers, it seemed completely unethical and utterly treacherous. Paul Brown belongs in the Hall of Fame, and should not be joined by the person who shafted him.  I feel sure that if Brown were still alive he would resign from the Hall if Modell were also selected.

Modell also left Bill Belichick behind, though technically not fired because he was at the end of his contract. Put it this way, Belichick was not ready to retire. Neither was his defensive coordinator, a fellow named Nick Saban.

But despite the obvious stupidity of these moves, nothing can compare to the trauma caused by the move of moving the franchise to Baltimore. Franchise moves are not cool, and the league has a headache from moves from San Diego, St. Louis and now Oakland.

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All of this negativity and anger will be multiplied by 100 if the league rewards Art Modell. It’s mindless stupidity to even consider Modell for the Hall of Fame.

Please do not do this.