Cleveland Browns planning an Art Modell tribute. This should go well.
I would have been less surprised if they did a Karl Rove tribute at the Democratic National Convention.
Yes, the Browns are planning to pay homage Art Modell, the guy who tried to effectively eliminate the Cleveland Browns from existence by moving the team to Baltimore. The former Browns and Ravens owner passed away this week at the age of 87, and the Browns plan some sort of tribute at Sunday's home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
What form this official tribute would take is not yet clear. Browns spokesman Neil Gulkis told ESPN that the team plans an "appropriate recognition" of Modell and his legacy to the NFL and the Cleveland community.
To Browns fans, "appropriate recognition" would involve a large number of D-size batteries.
The NFL has requested that all stadiums observe a moment of silence this weekend to commemorate Modell. In Cleveland, this would surely be the loudest, rowdiest, and most rage-filled moment of silence imaginable. Think Two Minutes Of Hate from George Orwell's 1984.
Surely Browns fans can let bygones be bygones, right? Riiiiight. Cleveland fans are so gracious that one Browns site has been running an Art Modell Death Watch for years, complete with an embeddable widget alerting you to whenever Modell's health went south. Since Modell's passing, an update has been posted reading, "This site will continue open, on alert for the admittedly remote contingency of zombie Modell outbreaks."
Tony Grossi reports at ESPNCleveland that the Browns organization has been holding difficult and hours-long deliberations over whether to commemorate Modell in Cleveland. The report indicates that as of Thursday, the Browns organization still was not sure how they would handle the issue.
Modell owned the Browns/Ravens for 43 seasons, was the first chairman of NFL Films, and is credited with the invention of Monday Night Football. He moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1996, where they became the Baltimore Ravens.