Ravens Will Host Modell's Viewing Saturday, Honor During "MNF"; Browns Unsure Of Plans
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).