Sports Talk: It could’ve been the Baltimore Browns instead of Ravens

Several years ago, if the late entrepreneur Art Modell had had his way, it would be the Baltimore Browns playing the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

But of course as history tells us as a part of a negotiated settlement, that didn’t occur when Modell moved the Browns’ franchise to Baltimore in the mid-90s. Thus, to make a long story short, the Ravens were born.

Needless to say, the name Art Modell is not a very popular one to Cleveland Browns’ fans.

It is, though, in Baltimore, where the Ravens are considered to be the successors of the Baltimore Colts. If you know your NFL history, the Colts left for Indianapolis after the 1983 campaign.

Make no mistake about it, Modell was a ruthless and very successful businessman. As the principal owner, his Baltimore Ravens team won 2001 Super Bowl XXXV.

After Modell died at the age of 87 in September of last year, the Baltimore Ravens players, to remember and honor him, wore (and still wear) an “Art” patch on their football jerseys – near the heart area.

Many people in Cleveland still believe, though, he was a heartless individual.

When Browns football great Lou “The Toe” Groza passed away in 2000, Modell did not attend his funeral.

That’s pretty cold.

No doubt, if the Ravens defeat the Niners in Sunday’s Super Bowl, people like holier-than-thou Ray Lewis will be praising God and Modell – and not necessarily in that order.

Some other thoughts….

Can’t imagine many people from the Buckeye State cheering for the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.

San Francisco?

That’s not much of an option, either. Really, who in this part of predominantly Steelers-Bengals-Browns country cares about the 49ers?

Maybe the commercials and the halftime show will be entertaining, though.

Maybe, too, the best thing will be to just turn the channel, or click the TV set off.

Just remember, as someone once said about games like this, “It doesn’t matter which team wins, because afterwards neither one is going to pay your bills.”

Still…party on.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at