Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore in 1996, and the Ravens won the Super Bowl that eluded the Browns franchise for decades. Cleveland residents might still be bitter, but Modell's influence on football in the city, and throughout the league left a lasting impression in their hearts. From revenue sharing and collective bargaining, to television deals that molded the presentation of the NFL Today, Modell worked tirelessly to create a better league for all teams. In fact, he left Cleveland because his Browns needed a new stadium, and the city opposed. Art Modell died Thursday at the age of 87, and both Baltimore and Cleveland mourn his passing.
Mr. Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns franchise for four million dollars in 1961, and only three years later the team won a championship against the Baltimore Colts. Modell's Browns made plenty of money because fans in Cleveland loved the team. He partnered up with then Giant's owner Wellington Mara and discussed revenue sharing, which made smaller market teams contenders. Modell then approached ABC with the idea of Monday Night Football, which showcased two teams under the lights in prime time. Once instituted, Monday Night Football first happened in Cleveland, and the Browns defeated the New York Jets, 31-21, in front of a sellout crowd at Municipal Stadium. The game changed American forever, and the broadcast of Monday Night Football became must-see-television. In fact, in 1980, when John Lennon died, people learned of the news from Howard Cosell during the MNF broadcast. Modell was a pioneer who truly helped shape the National Football League, and its presentation to fans.
In 1995, Modell, who failed to obtain funding for a new stadium in Cleveland, decided to move the Browns franchise to Baltimore. The city never forgave the longtime owner, and to make things worse, the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000, which the Browns never did. The city of Baltimore lost their franchise to Indianapolis, and badly wanted a team, thus a new stadium seemed a non-issue. Modell retired in 2004, leaving a model franchise in Baltimore, who contends for a division championship each year.
Art Modell's ideas brought a whole new audience to the game of football, and helped develop revenue sharing across the league. He helped create something great about the NFL, that every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl at any time. People may remember him for "screwing" Cleveland, but he should be remembered for innovation, and for giving Baltimore a great team.

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