Art Modell was named a Hall of Fame semifinalist

Cleveland Browns fans

The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently began narrowing down their list of possible semifinalist candidates for the 2023 election class.

The Senior Committee narrowed their list to 25 former players, including Clay Matthews Jr.

Additionally, the Coaches/Contributors Committee narrowed their list of candidates to 29, which includes former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell.

Marty Schottenheimer, who coached the Browns from 1980-1988 (the last four years as head coach), is also on the list of coaches/contributors.

Both commissions will further review their lists and select 12 candidates to advance to the final stage, which will be announced on July 27.

To Browns fans, Matthews and Schottenheimer are no-brainers that should have been brought in years ago.

Matthews played nearly 20 years in the league (including 16 years in Cleveland) and went to four Pro Bowls.

Schottenheimer played in the NFL, then coached some of the Browns’ most important contests in team history, including the AFC Championship games “The Drive” and “The Fumble.”

Modell, on the other hand, continues to be a traitor to all of Cleveland’s citizens.

Modell’s tenure in Cleveland

Modell bought the Browns in 1961, and just over a year later, fired Paul Brown, the only coach in franchise history to that point.

In 1964, the team won their fourth NFL championship and first since 1955 under former Brown assistant Blanton Collier.

The following year, Cleveland missed out on a repeat championship when they lost to the Green Bay Packers in the title game.

In July 1966, Modell issued an ultimatum to Pro Bowl running back Jim Brown, who was out of state filming the movie. The dirty dozen.

He would return from filming or risk forfeiture for every week he missed in training camp.

Brown had planned to retire after the ’66 season, but called Modell’s bluff and promptly retired.

Cleveland later played in back-to-back championships in 1968 and 1969, but lost both games.

The organization didn’t come close to another title game until Schottenheimer’s teams in the late ’80s.

After a rough 1988 season that was plagued by multiple quarterback injuries, Schottenheimer and Modell found themselves at odds, and Schottenheimer left Cleveland.

Then, in 1991, Modell hired New York Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick as head coach and fired him after the 1995 season.

Unforgivable

By the end of the ’95 season, Modell had already told the Cleveland media that he was planning to move the franchise to Baltimore.

He did just that and the Browns became the Baltimore Ravens.

Cleveland did not have a team for three years until the young Browns returned to the league in 1999 as an expansion team.

In 2000, the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants.

Modell then sold the Ravens in early 2004 and he would pass away in 2012 at the age of 87.

Hall material?

If the Coach/Contributors Committee looks primarily at number of winning seasons and championships, Modell has an excellent shot at making the Hall.

Of course, that wasn’t enough to put him in the past.

Baltimore fans will surely support Modell in bringing NFL football back to the city that lost their beloved Colts after the 1983 season.

However, getting Modell into Canton (barely an hour from Cleveland) would be a bit of a blow.

For Browns fans, seeing the man who took away their beloved franchise preserved for all eternity is unconscionable.

Modell has already been honored in Baltimore as a member of that organization’s Ring of Honor.

Considering how he treated former players, Browns coaches and Cleveland in general, the Coach/Contributors Committee should take a hard pass.

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