Does Art Modell belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

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I know we’ve been through this argument on both sides many times, but Arthur Bertrand Modell is BACK on the Pro Football Hall of Fame “short list” of 25 names for consideration for the Class of 2009 in Canton, Ohio. Over the next few weeks, that list will be pared from 25 back to 15 finalists before the voting for the actual inductees comes the day before the Super Bowl in Tampa.

We, in Baltimore, need to make sure that we do all we can do to make certain that Modell makes that cut over the next few weeks.

The web is a big place. There are links to all sorts of information about Modell and his many achievements in television, the NFL’s early ownership and of course the move from Cleveland, which has now had 13 years of clarity.

You’ll find accurate accounts of his many accomplishments from minority hiring to advising the league on the merger in 1969 to virtually every television enhancement in marketing from the late-afternoon game in Dallas on Thanksgiving to the advent of Monday Night Football, which has become an iconic achievement in modern sports in America. You will also see a variety of drunk Cleveland fans still harboring their deep anger in many ways via words and video.

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You can do your own searching and draw your own conclusions. I’ve read books on the move from Cleveland and actually written part of a book about the move. I understand why Modell came to Baltimore in 1995 and have spoken with him and his family many, many times about why our destiny was to have the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore.

No matter your stance of Modell’s move to Baltimore, his many, many achievements over 40 years in the NFL warrant his Hall of Fame status in my mind.

I think we as Baltimoreans should fight for Art Modell, especially given all of the joy and fun his move to Baltimore has brought our community. There seems to be some sentiment among the three dozen men who vote for inductees (mainly NFL beat writers from each city in the league) that Modell’s NFL accomplishments ended when he sold the team to Steve Bisciotti. I don’t believe that’s true. I believe the gift that Modell gave our community continues to grow and his legacy is one that has changed our city and community for the better for the rest of foreseeable lives by giving us our civic dignity and sports heritage back via the Ravens, replacing what the Colts were for our parents and grandparents here in Baltimore.

I’ll be writing a lot more about this as the week goes on and the Redskins make their way here for a nationally televised game next weekend. I can probably write another half of a book this week alone about why Modell should be enshrined in Canton before his life ends.

But I want to know what you think? Are you willing to fight for Art Modell?

And, are you on Facebook? If you are, we’ve created a group page there on Art’s behalf titled “Put Art Modell in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

I’m willing to fight and kick up some national dust this week on behalf of Art, who has been getting screwed by these voters for years.

Rest assured, there’s more to come…

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