Thursday, September 27, 2012

NFL Ref Lockout Ends and Art Modell Smiles From Heavenly Box Seat

After the replacement refs calls at the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers game, which allowed for a disputed Seahawks touchdown, there was an urgency to return to the negotiating table.   The call made national headlines.  Pundits were laughing after the mistake.  Bookies and betting fans were losing money on the games.   The national psyche was in turmoil.  The nation pleaded with both sides to return to the negotiating table.

Fortunately, late Wednesday evening, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ended the national crisis when NFL owners struck a deal with the union that represents the league's referees.  As with all contracts there have been some give and takes by both parties, however the June lockout has ended and Americans can sleep better tonight.   

The late Art Modell (June 23, 1925 – September 6, 2012) has to be smiling down from his heavenly box seat tonight when he watches both his former teams the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns play the first NFL game with the returning refs.

Art Modell and Raven Super Bowl Championship

In case you don’t remember, but those of us who live in Ohio remember, Modell (Browns' owner 1961-1995) moved the Browns franchise to Baltimore to become the Ravens.   Northeast Ohio loves its sports teams and when Modell announced his move, the long term Brown’s owner was demonized much as when LeBron announced his move to the Miami Heat. 

During this period of the move, it was decided that the Brown history, name, and archives would remain in Cleveland and the team would be deactivated for three years.  In return, Modell’s Ravens was able to retain his former Brown’s team roster.

Before selling his team in 2004, in 2000, Model was able to see his new team win a Super Bowl Championship XXXV over the New York Giants.   As for the Cleveland Browns, they got a new stadium but a Super Bowl Championship still eludes them!

Hard to say if Modell would have been pleased with the settlement. But both teams owe much of their history to him and are in the national spot light tonight and Modell would have to be grinning.

Art Modell (June 23, 1925 – September 6, 2012)

Additional Thought:

For the working class men and women of both Cleveland and Baltimore, this was a union victory which would not have occurred until NFL management was embarrassed enough to end the lockout.   As with the recent Chicago Teacher’s Strike, don’t underestimate the power of an organized work force and right to strike to reach a settlement. 

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