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The NFL announced its HOF Class of '13 on Saturday, and late Browns and Ravens Owner ART MODELL, one of "15 finalists from the modern era, didn't make the first cut to 10 -- as was the case in 2002, the only other time he was a finalist," according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Baltimore's WJZ-FM's SCOTT GARCEAU presented the case for Modell to the 46 voters, while ESPN Cleveland's TONY GROSSI "spoke out against Modell, just as he did in 2002." At least four other voters "also took a strong stance against Modell." Newsday's BOB GLAUBER, one of the voters, said, "I don't think his name will come up again. That's my gut feeling." The Dallas Morning News' RICK GOSSELIN, another voter, added, "The fact that he didn't make the cut to 10 tells you the mood of the room." The Buffalo News' MARK GAUGHAN: "In my opinion, moving the Browns kept him out once again. The fact that he ran into so many financial difficulties while owning two NFL teams was a negative against him as well, but the move was a very big factor" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/3). In Baltimore, Childs Walker wrote Modell had "strong advocates" among HOF voters, but "skepticism about his case lingers, with some voters saying they can't get past the fact he wounded a loyal fanbase when he moved his franchise from Cleveland." Modell also faced "stiff competition on the ballot, which some voters called the deepest in memory." Garceau said, "It's not just that they hate Art because he left Cleveland. I think maybe the greater reason is that it's very tough for contributors" (Baltimore SUN, 2/3). The debate on voting Modell into the HOF "lasted 39 minutes, 33 seconds" (CINCINNATI.com, 2/2).
ON THE OUTSIDE: In Cleveland, Bud Shaw wrote voters "at least didn't let sentimentality rule the day, when Modell wasn't among the finalists elected to Canton." Apparently voters "never could sufficiently answer the obvious question -- what's changed since Modell was last a finalist in 2002, other than his death in 2012?" Shaw: "Nothing. At least not enough" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/3). CBSSPORTS.com's Gregg Doyel wrote Modell is not in the HOF because "he wasn't all that good at being an NFL owner. It's as simple as that." Doyel: "Certainly he wasn't good at the Hall of Fame level, reserved for the best of the best" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/2).
DEBARTOLO ALSO MISSES OUT: In S.F., Ann Killion noted former 49ers Owner EDDIE DEBARTOLO JR. also "did not make the cut from 15 to 10." Some critics believe DeBartolo "simply bought his way to championships," while some "hold his legal troubles against him." The discussion in the voter room reportedly "came down to a choice between BILL PARCELLS or DeBartolo." Parcells was "voted in, while DeBartolo was eliminated in the first cut" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/3). In San Jose, Monte Poole wrote DeBartolo was a "pioneer among owners as he thought it was a good idea to listen to his players and respond to their wishes, especially regarding working conditions." But DeBartolo was "forced to leave the Niners and the NFL in shame for his part in a corruption scandal involving former Louisiana Gov. EDWIN EDWARDS." That "argues against DeBartolo and always will be a sensitive issue" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/3). SI's JIM TROTTER said that he was "among those who voted for DeBartolo." But he added that it was "an incredibly competitive field" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/3).
PARTY OF SEVEN: Parcells was joined in the HOF class by LARRY ALLEN, CRIS CARTER, JONATHAN OGDEN, WARREN SAPP and senior selections CURLEY CULP and DAVE ROBINSON. The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Mike Sielski reported the Pro Football Writers of America needed "more than eight hours ... to narrow down the candidates to a list of 10 finalists." Gosselin and Trotter said that they "spent close to an hour discussing Parcells, the longest of any candidate" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/3). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote under the header, "It's About Time That Legendary Coach Bill Parcells Got Into The Hall Of Fame" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/3). Meanwhile, in Dallas, David Moore noted Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES "will introduce" Allen during the HOF ceremony in August. Allen said of Jones, "He's been like a father figure to me. He's helped me on and off the field. He's a great person" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/3).
CHANGING THE PROCESS? SI's Trotter wrote he "believes the process is broken" for voting players into the HOF. The HOF to date has been "unwilling to increase the class size because, among other things, the limited spots gives it an increased air of exclusiveness." But if the HOF "isn't willing go larger, it needs to be smarter and tweak the selection process." Trotter: "Take one spot from the senior nominees and use it to create a category for non-players; that way they won't have to compete against modern-era players." Trotter wrote, "I've always believed two spots for seniors is too many" (SI.com, 2/2). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote since there are "only 19 'contributors' and 12 outright owners in the Hall, it seems likelier than not that DeBartolo and Modell will wait a good while longer, unless the system is changed to separate non-players from players." Several voters said that "a player will always get the benefit of the doubt over a non-player" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 2/2).
A week of celebrity- and athlete-studded Super Bowl parties has wrapped up in New Orleans. THE DAILY takes a last look at this year's festivities.
SCENE & HEARD ON THURSDAY: The Wyndham Hotel, rebranded as the Bud Light Hotel, hosted “four consecutive party nights for roughly 5,000 guests a night.” EA Sports’ “Madden NFL 13” video game competition featured Saints QB DREW BREES and Univ. of Michigan QB DENARD ROBINSON. EA “knew its audience,” as the crowd “seemed riveted” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/3).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: The “big event was the exclusive 13th annual Playboy Super Bowl party at Jackson Brewery, featuring 20 Playmates and music by the rapper B.O.B.” The Leather & Laces party “ran concurrently at Second Line Studios" and included former Playboy models JENNY MCCARTHY and KENDRA WILKINSON, and actress AUDRINA PATRIDGE (MIAMI HERALD, 2/2). The Playboy party attracted actors NEIL PATRICK HARRIS and DAVID ARQUETTE (AP, 2/3)....CEE-LO GREEN was the featured performer at ESPN The Magazine's "Next" party, which had a guest list that included Former Olympian MICHAEL PHELPS, NASCAR driver KYLE BUSCH, musician KELLY ROWLAND, actors ANTHONY MACKIE, JEREMY PIVEN and JOSH HUTCHERSON, and current and former NFLers EMMITT SMITH, CRIS CARTER and DESEAN JACKSON. Green performed with his “old rap clique Goodie Mobb.” NBC’s DAVID GREGORY also was in attendance and “admitted to playing hooky from his weekly political show for the big game.” Meanwhile, PAUL MCCARTNEY gave a “rock royalty air to the Rolling Stone party” (AP, 2/3).
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE gave his “first performance in nearly five years” on Saturday night for DirecTV's Super Bowl-eve bash with “a more than 10-piece band and guest appearances by TIMBALAND and JAY-Z.” The standing-room crowd included Paul McCartney, actress SOFIA VERGARA, musician JOHN LEGEND and Patriots Owner BOB KRAFT (AP, 2/3). Music group The Roots, MLBer MATT KEMP and actor HILL HARPER also attended (ESPNW.com, 2/3)....The DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl earlier in the day at Mardi Gras World included participants LIL WAYNE, SNOOP DOGG, Neil Patrick Harris, actors KATHARINE MCPHEE, JESSE WILLIAMS and Josh Hutcherson, TV personality MARIA MENOUNOS, Olympians LOLO JONES and SHAWN JOHNSON, and former NFLers DEION SANDERS, WARREN MOON, EDDIE GEORGE, TERRELL OWENS and MICHAEL STRAHAN (ESPNW.com, 2/3)....The “Best Super Bowl Concert Ever” featuring Train, “clearly seasoned pros, did San Francisco proud” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/3)….Actors WILL FERRELL, JEREMY RENNER and OLIVIA MUNN attended Audi's Super Bowl lounge (AP, 2/3)....ANTHONY MACKIE was “among the stars mingling” at the Maxim Party at Second Line Stages. Invited guests included Kyle Busch, actor ANTHONY EDWARDS, "Daily Show" comedian ROB RIGGLE, Victoria's Secret models, MTV personality SWAY and Lolo Jones (NOLA.com, 2/3)....The GQ XLVII party at the Elms Mansion included model KATE UPTON, NFLer VICTOR CRUZ, Terrell Owens, and actors HAYDEN PANETTIERE, David Arquette and TERRY CREWS (ESPNW.com, 2/3).
Fox Sports Media Group promoted Senior VP & Creative Dir ROBERT GOTTLIEB to Senior VP & Head of Marketing. Gottlieb assumes the role vacated by ERIC MARKGRAF, who left to take an int’l position within News Corp. (FSMG)….Online sports retailer Spiraledge named Volvo Ocean Race Head of Broadcast Relations ROB PENNER VP/Sports Marketing & Communications. The company also named USA Swimming Athlete Relations Manager EMILY SILVER Marketing Communications Manager (THE DAILY).
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In N.Y., David Amsden profiled Fox NFL analyst and “Live With Kelly and Michael” co-host MICHAEL STRAHAN in a front-page piece for the Sunday Styles section. For Strahan, the position alongside KELLY RIPA is the “apex of what has been one of the more curious and unexpected professional journeys in recent memory.” The “combination of his two shows, each No. 1 in its time slot, means he is beamed into a larger, more demographically diverse subset of America than even RYAN SEACREST.” Strahan still appears in “Subway’s national ads.” He also is in a “celebrity-spattered campaign for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital; and there he is lending his support to same-sex marriage.” This fall, he was christened by People magazine as "one of the Sexiest Men Alive” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/3).
DEER IN HEADLIGHTS: In Baltimore, Aaron Wilson wrote Sports With Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS) Owner MITCH ROSS “refused to provide text messages or shipping labels that would confirm the allegations that he provided a deer antler velvet spray” to retiring Ravens LB RAY LEWIS. Ross, who claimed he has had death threats from Ravens fans, said, "I never saw Ray put it in his mouth. I want to apologize to any athletes that this story hurt. … I'm trying to make right the wrong with Ray Lewis” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 2/1).
STORMING THE CAPITAL: In San Jose, Peter Delevett reported three former employees of HRJ Capital, the venture capital firm founded by former NFLers HARRIS BARTON, RONNIE LOTT and JOE MONTANA, “claim they were cheated out of tens of millions of dollars when Silicon Valley Bank seized the now-defunct firm’s assets four years ago.” The case, which is “about to get under way in Santa Clara County Court,” is being “closely watched for its potential impact on the venture capital industry.” Judge JAMES KLEINBERG in November issued a preliminary ruling that could force HRJ’s investors “to pay damages to the three former employees.” Among the current and former athletes who invested in HRJ are ANDRE AGASSI, TROY AIKMAN, BARRY BONDS, OSCAR DE LA HOYA, TIM DUNCAN, JOHN ELWAY, WAYNE GRETZKY, PEYTON MANNING, DAN MARINO, RICK PITINO and JERRY RICE (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/3).
STEPPING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: Ravens Owner STEVE BISCIOTTI appeared on ESPN2’s “NFL32” Friday afternoon, with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber noting, “We forced him into the limelight today.” Bisciotti usually shuns interviews and the spotlight, but he said Ravens Senior VP/Public & Community Relations KEVIN BYRNE has been "making me go around and do things like this that I don’t like doing." Bisciotti joked that the team will re-sign QB JOE FLACCO, who was named Super Bowl XLVII MVP last night, “as soon as I find a minority partner to infuse some cash” (“NFL32,” ESPN2, 2/1).
NAMES: MAY MAY ALI, daughter of MUHAMMAD ALI, “knocked down rumors of her father being near death Sunday, saying he was at home watching the Super Bowl.” She said she “talked to her father Sunday morning on the phone and he was fine.” The Ali family later “posted a photo on Twitter of Ali sitting in a chair wearing a Ray Lewis T-shirt” (AP, 2/4)….Blues Owner TOM STILLMAN last week “became the first NHL owner to take part in WAYNE GRETZKY’s fantasy hockey camp.” Skating “on the opposite wing” was MLB Cardinals President BILL DEWITT III. Gretzky: “I was calling them the richest line in hockey” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/2)….The LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday “approved a two-year contract extension for football coach LES MILES that should keep him in Baton Rouge through 2019.” The deal “bumps Miles’ annual salary” from $3.751M to $4.3M over the seven-year term (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 2/4)….Univ. of Georgia football coach MARK RICHT on Saturday “underwent hip-replacement surgery.” Richt said that “he planned to have the surgery done sometime after national signing day and before spring practice.” Why he “decided to undergo the operation Saturday is unclear" (AJC.com, 2/3)….Golfer DAVIS LOVE III on Saturday received the Bob Jones Award during the USGA’s annual meeting in San Diego (JACKSONVILLE.com, 2/3)….The N.Y. Board of Rabbis will name Yankees P MARIANO RIVERA Man of the Year and give him a tour of Israel after the “two holy seasons” -- baseball season and the Jewish high holidays (N.Y. POST, 2/3)….Packers WR GREG JENNINGS has listed his home in suburban Green Bay for $525,000 (REALTOR.com, 1/28).