One of the NFL’s most influential leaders ever, Art Modell, passed away on Thursday.
ESPN President John Skipper had this to say about the former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner:
“Art Modell was a leader and a visionary who helped guide the National Football League on its incredible path of success, particularly in the area of television. A leading figure behind the landmark agreement that created Monday Night Football on ABC in 1970, Modell was truly ahead of his time. His influence on the game will continue to be felt by generations of fans. We extend our condolences to the entire Modell family and we plan to appropriately honor him during our Monday Night Football opener in Baltimore this week.”
Also, ESPN’s Mel Kiper, a native of Baltimore who still lives in the area, offered his thoughts on Art Modell to Front Row:
“Visionaries know and understand things long before others do. Art Modell’s vision for the NFL was impeccable.
Personally, I see him as one of the most important figures in the history of the NFL. He was an integral part of every major initiative that has vaulted the league to where it is today. The NFL wouldn’t be what it is without Art Modell’s vision.
He championed revenue sharing because he understood the league wouldn’t be as successful if only a few teams enjoyed success. He understood the importance of television long before most people around him did. He always gave back to the community. The entire Modell family has built a history of giving back to their communities.
When Modell moved his team from Cleveland, he didn’t strip the Browns of their history. He allowed Cleveland to maintain their Browns’ legacy, history and tradition, even as he moved his team from the city. We didn’t get that consideration in Baltimore when the Colts moved.
Art Modell should definitely be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Apart from the players, his contribution to the league is as important as anyone in the league’s history.
In the Baltimore Ravens, he built a model franchise. We’ll miss him.”
Note: ESPN plans to carry the Baltimore Ravens’ tribute to owner Art Modell on Monday night. Modell’s passing will also be discussed on the Monday Night Countdown pregame show.
In the video below, ESPN’s Bill Polian discusses Modell’s impact on football.