SBD/February 4, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Art Modell, Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Miss Out On Making Pro Football HOF; Parcells Gets In

Modell's HOF candidacy was debated by voters for nearly 40 minutes
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).
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