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The Ravens have “scheduled a silent tribute" for former majority owner ART MODELL -- a public viewing Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium,” according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore SUN. The viewing of Modell's casket on the field is from 11:00am-1:00pm ET, and "a card devoted to Modell will be handed out to those attending.” The Ravens are “requesting that fans wear purple as a salute to Modell” (Baltimore SUN, 9/7). CBSSPORTS.com’s Jason La Canfora noted the Ravens have “an extra day to mourn and remember him this weekend, playing on Monday (the innovation Modell ushered in, with his Browns playing the first ever game in that time slot).” Ravens coach JOHN HARBAUGH said, "An amazing twist, I would say, of providential irony.” La Canfora added the team “plans to honor him with a helmet decal, and there will be extensive pre-game festivities" before the 7:00pm kickoff. Modell’s sons, DAVID and JOHN, “will take part in the celebration, but don't plan to stay for the game.” Instead, Modell's suite will “sit dark while the Ravens play the Bengals” (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/6). In a special to USA TODAY, John Perrotto writes the Browns administration is “torn on whether to memorialize” Modell before their opener at home Sunday. A team official said that the Browns “fear holding a memorial because of the potential for a negative reaction” (USA TODAY, 9/7).
ON-AIR REMEMBRANCE: ESPN producers are trying to figure out the best way to address Modell's death during the season's first "MNF" game, which will be played in Baltimore. ESPN "MNF" Senior Coordinating Producer JAY ROTHMAN said the telecast will acknowledge Modell during the "Monday Night Countdown" pregame show and immediately after the show's opening. The net also will cover the in-stadium tribute that the Ravens have for Modell. ESPN plans to sprinkle mentions of Modell's NFL legacy, including his role as the host of the first "MNF" game in Cleveland in '70, during the show. Modell still is vilified in Cleveland for his role in moving the Browns to Baltimore, but Rothman said Monday's telecast will not focus on that aspect of Modell's legacy. "In these situations, you honor him and the significance he had on the game," Rothman said. "You can acknowledge the mixed emotions and feelings in Cleveland. But I think to go down that road is something we're not going to do" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
LASTING LEGACY: CBSSPORTS.com’s Mike Freeman wrote, “Modell was one of two or three founding fathers for the sport. Despite his flaws, despite his ugly and unnecessary move from Cleveland to Baltimore, no amount of hatred for him can wipe out that historic fact.” Giants President & CEO JOHN MARA said, “Art Modell was one of the greatest owners in the history of the NFL. We will miss him dearly" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/6). Bills Owner RALPH WILSON said, “He was a very excellent owner, a highly respected owner.” Wilson added, “In my mind we’re going to remember him as a great guy, a fellow with the greatest sense of humor, and a good friend who did a lot for the NFL. I saw him stand up for what he thought was best for the league” (Baltimore SUN, 9/7). Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON said when his bid for the team was approved by the NFL, Modell was "one of the first guys to come up to me." Johnson: "He thought media and TV were so important to the growth of football, to let people in on what’s going on here. He’s a legendary figure in that” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 9/7). Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT said, “The one thing that I always admired most about Art was his understanding of the role television would play in the growth of the game of football and the overall popularity of the NFL. He understood the value of prime time games at a time when there really wasn’t a tremendous demand.” Patriots coach BILL BELICHICK: “In all, I am very grateful to Mr. Modell for providing me my first opportunity to be an NFL coach. I learned many things through our personal interactions and have applied many of those lessons in my later years as a head coach” (THE DAILY).
The bells and whistles will be going off in Wisconsin, but not just for the start of the NFL season. GMR Marketing Senior VP/Client Management STEVE DUPEE celebrates his 38th birthday this weekend and he is going all out for the occasion. But, as any true GMRer will tell you, the fiesta would not be complete without a Miller Lite.
GETTING DOWN AND DIRTY: On Saturday, I’m going to be doing the Tough Mudder event. It was designed by British Special Forces and it’s an 11-mile obstacle course with 25 different military-style obstacles. So you’re essentially running through mud and over hills and across rivers and through woods and doing obstacles the whole way along. Pretty crazy but it raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project. I was talked into doing it by some neighborhood friends. There’s a group of about 15 of us who are hopefully going to help each other through it all. I know I’m going to need a boost over the walls and through some of the mud pits, that’s for sure.
FINISH STRONG: Our goal is to just finish together without any injuries and just have enough energy left to enjoy the post party. We don’t care about time. I’ve never done the Tough Mudder, but apparently there is a pretty solid post party afterwards with beers and food. We’re just hoping to make it through. I just want to come out unscathed. No broken bones, no twisted ankles.
FOOTBALL FIESTA: On Sunday morning, if I can still walk, I’m going to be heading up to the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field for the Packers’ season opener against the 49ers. It’s kind of a birthday tradition of mine to hit the Packers home opener with some friends. A group of us will tailgate in true Wisconsin style with beer and brats and cheese. Then we’re going to head into the Miller Lite End Zone section, which is in the north end zone.
GRILL MASTER: We’ll tailgate right in the parking lot. We’ll bring out the beers and grill up some brats. Have some slices of cheese, all the traditional Wisconsin tailgating fare. … Johnsonville brats with some onions and mustard. … Maybe we’ll stick a candle in a brat at the tailgate party.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR? I’ve got a PAUL HORNUNG throw-back jersey, I’ve got a REGGIE WHITE jersey and then I’ve got a CLAY MATTHEWS jersey. So I always have to decide every game which one I’m going to go with. I think I’ll probably go Clay Matthews because it’s the home opener and he’s obviously currently on the team. So I got to give him some love.
CELEBRATING IN STYLE: I’m going to celebrate my birthday actually on my birthday with my family. So on Monday the 10th, I’ll celebrate that night with my wife and kids.
Univision named NBCU Exec VP & CIO CHRISTOPHER FURST to the same position (Univision)….The Rockets promoted VP/Player Personnel GERSSON ROSAS to Exec VP/Basketball Operations. Rosas will also continue as NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers GM (Rockets)….The Lightning named ROBERT CANTON VP/Finance & Strategic Planning. Canton comes from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he was U.S. Leader for the firm’s Sports & Tourism Practice. He “effectively replaces” former CFO MARTHA FULLER, “who resigned this summer for family reasons” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/7)….Redskins Dir of Security ED BURKE will retire after the ’12-13 season. He will assist in the search for his successor (Redskins).
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E! execs hired Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer RYAN LOCHTE to cover N.Y. Fashion Week for the TV network, but the N.Y. POST notes they "worry he won't be winning any medals with his interviewing skills." E! execs "privately complain the gold medalist, who was famously flat in his Olympic interviews, is disappointing on camera." One E! exec said Lochte "is doing a great job. It would be unreasonable to expect him to suddenly morph into a seasoned journalist." Lochte said that he is "working on his own men's clothing line that will 'hopefully be up and running within the year'" (N.Y. POST, 9/7)....Meanwhile, Celtics G RAJON RONDO is interning at GQ magazine during Fashion Week, where “the fashion forward hoop honcho is blogging, interviewing and carrying bags” (BOSTONHERALD, 9/7).
THE SPIRIT OF GIVING: Saints and Hornets Owner TOM BENSON announced the teams will host two raffles to form a relief fund in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. The Saints package will include a suite for 20 people with catering provided by Centerplate for the Sept. 23 game against the Chiefs, along with 20 pre-game sideline passes. The Hornets package will feature two floor seats and a pre-game player meet-and-greet, as well as VIP parking and two courtside club passes that include food and beverage for the Nov. 7 game against the 76ers. The winner also will receive two tickets to the '13 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston (Saints/Hornets).
VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR: Lakers C DWIGHT HOWARD appeared on-stage during MTV’s broadcast of the “MTV Video Music Awards” from Staples Center Thursday night and told the crowd, “I’m so happy to be here, man. I can’t wait to put on that Laker jersey and go to war. I want to thank you all for welcoming me to L.A. This is my new home.” Howard presented host KEVIN HART with a jersey that came down to his knees when he put it on. Hart said, "That’s funny to you? Let’s see if it’s funny when KOBE don’t pass you the damn ball.” Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team -- JORDYN WIEBER, GABBY DOUGLAS, MCKAYLA MARONEY, ALY RAISMAN and KYLA ROSS introduced singer ALICIA KEYS' performance (“MTV Video Music Awards,” MTV, 9/6).
JUST FOR KICKS: U.S women’s soccer MF CARLI LLOYD and F ALEX MORGAN appeared on “Live! With Kelly & Michael” Thursday, with co-host MICHAEL STRAHAN noting Morgan “has almost 1 million Twitter followers.” Strahan: “How did it feel to get tweeted from PRESIDENT OBAMA? I mean that’s big.” Morgan called it "pretty awesome.” Later in the interview, Strahan and co-host KELLY RIPA appeared wearing the red-and-white striped U.S. women’s soccer jerseys, with Ripa saying, “I now see we are only doing this so we can see ourselves in ridiculous costumes" (“Live! With Kelly & Michael,” 9/6).
NAMES: The Trail Blazers' original broadcaster, BILL SCHONELY, on Thursday accepted the Curt Gowdy Media Award at the Basketball HOF (OREGONLIVE.com, 9/6)....Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds Dir of Broadcasting & Graphic Design BRET LASKY has been named the '12 South Atlantic League Media Relations Dir of the Year (Shorebirds)....Mexican billionaire CARLOS SLIM has acquired a 30% stake in Grupo Pachuca, which owns Liga MX clubs Pachuca and León. The league on Thursday also announced a TV transmission rights deal for Slim’s UnoTV channel to broadcast León home games (ESPNDEPORTES.com, 9/6)....Seven Nationals players have plans to get married in the offseason, including 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN, LF MICHAEL MORSE, CF COREY BROWN, and Ps ROSS DETWILER, CRAIG STAMMEN, JORDAN ZIMMERMANN and EDWIN JACKSON (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/6).