THANK YOU ART!

art_modell

Today the National Football League takes a backseat to no other major professional sport. But it wasn’t always that way.

The NFL’s ascension to the comfortable pinnacle that it now occupies in the sporting world began back in 1958. Historians would argue and with good reason, that the game often referred to as the “Greatest Game Ever Played” changed the way the viewing public embraced the NFL.

The 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants proved to be a watershed event for the NFL. It was a captivating struggle between two talented teams and the nation took notice on black and white TV sets in living rooms throughout America.

Madison Avenue noticed as well as opportunistic ad agencies capitalized on the world’s new sporting hero, Johnny U. A love affair between the city of Baltimore and the Colts ensued.

The late Lamar Hunt who was a successful businessman and beloved owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, recognized the natural fit between the NFL and TV after the “Greatest Game”. Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, a man with an extensive background in advertising and a visionary in his own right, also noticed the connection.

Mr. Modell would go on to pioneer sport-altering TV contracts that helped to shape the NFL we know and love today.

Baltimore for many years enjoyed a love of its own. Our city bled Colts blue until a change in ownership set in motion a sequence of events that ended the affair. What once seemed like an unbreakable bond snapped in two when Robert Irsay escaped our city in March of 1984 under the dark skies of a snowy spring night.

Our community, with its heritage partially torn to shreds and civic pride bruised and battered, was left to mourn the loss of “The Horseshoe”.

And now today we mourn the loss of a devoted husband, father, family man, community activist and philanthropist who helped restore Baltimore’s heritage. Art Modell has passed at the age of 87.

With his decision to move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, Mr. Modell reinvigorated a city’s self-worth, its dignity. The move allowed a community to sift through its differences and find a common ground – a galvanizing force allowing us all to bond as one on Sundays.

New friendships were born, old friendships restored and deepened while new and now treasured traditions were established.

Where would our city be if Art Modell had not accepted the invitation of The Maryland Stadium Authority? How might your life be different?

They say that a person’s life should not be valued by things or by wealth, but rather by whether you’ve made a difference in the life of a child.

Art Modell made a difference in the lives of millions.

His legacy will echo in eternity.

He will be sorely missed but never, ever forgotten.

Thank you Mr. Modell.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

This entry was posted in Blog View, Lombardi's Way by Tony Lombardi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

4 Raves on “THANK YOU ART!

  1. Luke on said:

    Tony,

    Spot on. When I first heard the news a few minutes ago, my first thought was “how much less enjoyable would my Sundays be if not for this man”. Then my mind went back to a conversation I had with my wife last night. After seeing Jerry Jones celebrating the Cowboy win, I told her how much Jones in-your-face style contrasted with the soft, classy, distinguished manner of Modell. With Art, owning his football teams was never about how much attention he could gain. After a win, he wasn’t on the field conducting interviews. He wasn’t on ESPN during the NFL draft talking about the players “he” had just drafted (like Jones). He had competent people he put in place to do their jobs and he never stepped on their toes.

    Wonderful man and he will be deeply missed.

  2. Tony Lombardi on said:

    Luke,

    Excellent points! We are very lucky to have had him and equally as lucky to have a man molded similarly in Steve Bisciotti.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. spy on said:

    Actually brought a tear to my eye,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Mr. Model gave my wife and I the best sports year of our lives,,,,,,,,,our prayers are with you…………….

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