Friday morning, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that two players with ties to the Baltimore Ravens have been named finalists for induction to the Hall of Fame. The names of the finalists will be discussed by voters and announced on February 2, 2013 during Super Bowl weekend.
In his first year of eligibility, left tackle Jonathan Ogden will likely find himself inducted into the Hall this season. Ogden is one of 15 modern-era candidates, of which, a maximum of five may be elected.
At the time Ogden was drafted in 1996, the franchise which is now known as the Ravens didn’t even have a name. The man largely responsible for bringing football back to Baltimore, and the transition from the Cleveland Browns to the Baltimore Ravens, was the late Art Modell. That move has probably cost Modell his Hall of Fame credentials in the eyes of voters, even though he practically conceived the idea for Monday Night Football and was largely responsible for the television contracts that made professional football what it is today.
Less than a week prior to the Ravens beginning their 2012 regular season schedule, Modell passed away. Throughout this season, the Ravens have honored Modell with a black circle that reads, simply, “Art,” as a patch on their jerseys and painted on the sidelines at M&T Bank Stadium.
Let’s be frank. Modell only received a nod as a finalist for the Hall of Fame this season because of his death and unless there is something major happening around Modell, he doesn’t receive serious consideration from voters. Aside from this year, Modell was only a finalist in 2001, a season after the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. Modell has not even been able to make it out of the semifinals of voting since 2004.
It’s likely that Ogden will be inducted on his first ballot but it’s doubtful that Modell will be joining him. Heck, it’s unlikely Modell will make it into the Hall of Fame when the next two Ravens are inducted in Ray Lewis in 2018 or Ed Reed at a date to be determined.
Modell was clearly robbed. Not only will he not be alive for any potential induction into Canton, but it’s likely he’ll never make it at all. His best shot of enshrinement will sadly come this year, and solely because of his death. It’s doubtful that he’ll make it in this year, and if he doesn’t, he probably never will.
The voters should be embarrassed. What has Modell done different this year than in years prior? He left this earth. That’s the only reason he’s a finalist this year – to show some sort of respect in consideration of his passing. Shameful.
At a time when Ravens fans should be excited about inducting their franchise’s first true player in Ogden, the Hall of Fame will again have a black eye in Baltimore.