44 Facts About Art Modell


Arthur Bertram Modell was an American businessman, entrepreneur and National Football League team owner.


Art Modell owned the Cleveland Browns franchise for 35 years and established the Baltimore Ravens franchise, which he owned for nine years.


In 1995, Art Modell faced widespread scorn in Cleveland when he attempted to relocate the Browns to Baltimore.


Under the terms of an NFL-brokered settlement, Art Modell left the Browns' name and heritage in Cleveland, which was assumed by a new Browns team in 1999.


In return, Art Modell retained the contracts of all Browns personnel and reconstituted his organization as the Baltimore Ravens, who are officially reckoned as a 1996 expansion team.


Art Modell was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York.


Art Modell's father George was a wine sales manager who went bankrupt after the stock market crash of 1929 and later died when Modell was 14.

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At the age of 15, Art Modell left high school to help support his family.


Art Modell sold the idea of his show to the Grand Union grocery store chain and Art Modell installed televisions, at his expense, in the aisles of the chain's stores where the show soon became very popular.


Art Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns in 1961 for $4 million, investing only $250,000 of his own money.


Art Modell borrowed $2.7 million and found partners to cover the rest.


Art Modell began a conditioning program in preparation to play in the regular season and desired to be a part of the team.


Brown and Art Modell's working relationship was permanently strained after Brown then, against Art Modell's wishes, continuously refused to play Davis.


Art Modell fired Brown on January 9,1963, and named Brown's assistant, Blanton Collier, as the new head coach on January 16,1963.


Art Modell became active in NFL leadership, serving as NFL President and using his television connections to help negotiate the league's increasingly lucrative television contracts.


Art Modell married TV soap opera star Patricia Breslin in 1969, having previously been a well-known bachelor and man about town.


Art Modell eventually traded or released four of the players, with only standout running back Leroy Kelly staying.


Art Modell took control of Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1973, which had been owned by the City of Cleveland but had become too expensive for the city to operate or maintain.


Art Modell worked out a deal with the city whereby his newly formed entity, dubbed Stadium Corp.


The Browns who were paying rent to both themselves and Art Modell, by constructing loges in the ballpark, generated significant cash flow from the loge rentals not shared with the Indians.


Art Modell later claimed the loge rentals were not profitable as he had financed their construction at the prevailing high interest rates, although he did not explain why the rental income that was earned was not used to offset the debt.


Art Modell did not share the loge revenues earned from baseball games with the Indians.


In turn, Art Modell was dissatisfied with the Indians' new ballpark because Stadium Corp.


Art Modell was offered a place as a tenant in Cleveland's new Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex.


The announcement of the move occurred several days before the public referendum on the extension of the sin tax that would fund the improvements on Municipal Stadium as Art Modell had originally requested.

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Art Modell had lost $21 million in the previous two seasons.


Commentators have speculated that the timing of the announcement was to cause the referendum to go down in defeat and thus allow Art Modell to make the case that he was not receiving the public support he needed to remain viable in Cleveland.


Art Modell was assisted in the move by Alfred Lerner, who would go on to become the new owner of the reactivated Cleveland Browns franchise in 1998.


Art Modell's move returned the NFL to Baltimore for the first time since the Colts left for Indianapolis after the 1983 season.


Art Modell had publicly criticized the Baltimore Colts' move to Indianapolis, and had testified in favor of the NFL in court cases where the league unsuccessfully tried to stop Al Davis from moving the Oakland Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles.


Art Modell initially tried to take the Browns name with him to Baltimore.


However, as part of a negotiated settlement, Modell agreed that he would leave behind the Browns' name, colors and heritage for a replacement franchise, in the form of either a new team or a relocated franchise.


In return, Art Modell was allowed to take the franchise rights, players and organization to Baltimore to form a new team, the Ravens.


Art Modell was a Hall of Fame finalist in 2001 and a semifinalist in 2004,2005,2006,2007,2009,2010, and 2011.


When Browns kicking legend Lou "The Toe" Groza died in 2000, Art Modell did not appear.


In late 2002, the hardships led the NFL to take the unusual step of directing Art Modell to sell his franchise.


The Andrews trust essentially claimed that under a 1963 agreement, Art Modell owed a finder's fee for his original purchase of the team which was to be paid when Art Modell sold his entire interest.


In July 2005, Art Modell prevailed in court and defeated the Andrews trust's claim.


Art Modell was portrayed in the 2008 movie The Express: The Ernie Davis Story, which was about Syracuse running back and Browns draftee Ernie Davis.


Art Modell adopted Breslin's two sons, John and David, from her first marriage to actor David Orrick McDearmon.


Art Modell died on September 6,2012, at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 87 due to natural causes.


The Sunday following Art Modell's death was the opening weekend of the 2012 NFL season.


On July 23,2014, a video surfaced on YouTube of an unidentified Browns fan desecrating the grave of Art Modell wearing a Lyle Alzado jersey by urinating on the grave through a catheter.


Art Modell was the grandson of the founder of Modell's Sporting Goods, Morris A Modell, but had nothing to do with that company.