SunSpot: David Modell is here - with the Lombardi Trophy. He'll answer your questions shortly.
SunSpot, Baltimore: Thanks for joining us, David and congratulations to the team on the Super Bowl championship. Since returning from Tampa, you've made a point to bring the Lombardi trophy to the fans and let people get an up close look at it. Do you have any plans to start a Stanley Cup tradition with the Lombardi Trophy and let assorted players and team personnel each take turns having it in their possession?
David Modell:We will let everyone on the team have an opportunity to bring home the Super Bowl trophy. Much like the Stanley Cup that travels about, I think we'll be the first NFL team to allow everyone in the organization to take the trophy home. They earned it. They deserve the opportunity.
Eric, Bel Air:Thanks for a wonderful, wonderful season and congratulations to you and Art for finally getting the big one. As a PSL holder, I have three questions (please answer any or all): 1) What is the status of the wall of bricks bearing the names of original PSL holders that was to be erected at the stadium? My father is aging and also on the account with me, so I would LOVE for this to come to fruition. 2) Any idea what the ticket price increases will be like for next year? Or when should we find out? 3) Is there any chance the Ravens organization might do something to help move or save some of the facade of Memorial Stadium?
David Modell: Eric, thanks for your enthusiasm and support. We'll try to answer in order. 1) We are working on a plan for PSL holder recognition that could be very exciting. I don't want to say much more than that except to say that by this season, we will have some recognition for the terrific investment from folks like you and your Dad. 2) There will be a moderate ticket price increase. We are preparing to mail invoices and information right now, so it should be in your hands in the next 1 1/2 weeks or so. 3) I don't think so. I'm really not too sure what we as the Ravens could do with portions of the facade. It is cool, though, and I think enough of a landmark that the community ought to find some meaningful way to display the core of the message.
Dennis, Wyomissing, Pa.:David, Are aware of how many Monday night games the Ravens will appear in next year? If not, what is your feeling on this topic?
David Modell: The NFL has informed us that we will be on Monday night a number of times this year. As yet undetermined in terms of a final schedule. But it is very exciting to contemplate the Ravens, PSINet Stadium and all of our wonderful fans being displayed in all of their collective glory on Prime Time!
DRM, New York:If we lose Jamie Sharper to free agency, will we consider drafting Tommy Polley, the outstanding outside linebacker from Florida State (and two-time Baltimore Sun Player of the Year)?
David Modell:Not sure that I want to go into what our drafting plans may or may not be, especially this early in the process. In fact, the Indy Combine occurs this weekend and lots of valuable information about plenty of players emerges from this activity. We'll have to see how it goes.
Jim Aguirre, Baltimore: Will you intercede with the coaching staff to limit in the future on-field taunting of other teams, finger pointing to crowds away from home and late/cheap hits which fans around the NFL identify with the Ravens and do not give children a good idea of sportsmanlikeconduct of professional players?
David Modell: I have to admit I'm not too sure what you're referring to. Ours is an emotional game and players get excited. I think by and large, our football team is comprised of excellent individuals who comport themselves like gentlemen on and off the field. I would assume our coaching staff will encourage our players to play with the same level of intensity that brought a Super Bowl trophy home to Baltimore.
Rod, Baltimore: Will the quiet storm known as the Baltimore Defense be compromised at all by the common shuffling that occurs in a team post-winning the Lombardi?
David Modell: Thanks Rod for your excellent question. As is the case with really all NFL teams, if not all pro sports teams at this point, success sometimes means that individuals that you value may get lost to free agency. However, I think we are blessed with an excellent personnel department led by Ozzie Newsome who will do everything in their power to allow us to maintain a dominant defense, apparently known as the Quiet Storm. I'm sure Ozzie will do his best to allow us to get back to Shangri-La.
Matt, Pasadena: Thanks for giving Baltimore a chance to have a team, when no one else would. I can't begin to express my gratitude. I have been aseason ticket holder since the very first year, 1996. I think that the hiring of Brian Billick was one of the smartest moves the organization hasmade. What were the critical factors/reasons you selected Brian over the other candidates?
David Modell: Matt, as I've said to others, thanks for your support. You guys really made one heck of a difference at PSINet this year. I look forward to raising my voice with you this season. The process we used to hire Brian was a very detailed and organized process. Our goal was to learn as much about each of our candidates prior to ever having the opportunity to meet them face to face. So, as an example, we conducted close to 26 different interviews of people who had worked or interacted in depth with Brian during his entire professional life. The effort here was to define through in-depth knowledge a very solid short list of excellent candidates for whom we had very specific questions. The process led us overwhelmingly to pursue Brian as soon as his season with Minnesota was over. We were absolutely sure based upon our research that he was our man and that he would fit our most important criteria of leadership, communication skills and teaching ability. I think we made a good choice.
Steve, Reston, Va.: First a thank you for running a first-class organization, hiring Ozzie and letting him be GM, Phil Savage and providing him the responsibility and authority to be a leader in the NFL draft and Brian Billick as head coach. You have stayed out of their way (from all accounts) and provided support financial and otherwise. It was reported on WBAL that the Ravens received approximately 25,000 or more tickets for the Super Bowl and only 4,000 went to season ticket holders of which I am one. Where did the rest of the tickets go? As a PSL owner, I would have hoped for at least 33% - 50% of the tickets would have went to season ticket holders.
David Modell: Steve, thanks for the excellent question, which is very valid. Actually, we received about 9,000 tickets of which 6-7,000 went to Baltimore fans. I don't know where the 25,000 number came from, but I only wish it had been true because even though the bulk of the tickets we received went to our fans, there was still an overwhelming Giants fan presence at Raymond James Stadium. I don't know how that happened.
Ted, Owings Mills: Does it bother you at all the Ravens are only loved in Baltimore? If you read out of town newspapers, this team is REALLY HATED around the rest of the country.
David Modell: Ted, I do think there is growing popularity around the country for the Ravens. So I have to disagree with your assertion. I'm not too sure that in every case the newspaper of record or various columnists within a given town accurately describe the mood of the real people. And, I think in some instances, some disgruntledness might be generated by the vanquished.
Greg, Stephen's City, Va.:Are there any plans to keep the Super Bowl trophy at the Stadium during the season? Also any plans to allow the fans to have there picture taken with the trophy at the draft party?
David Modell:Greg, we currently are in the planning stages for the Silver Betty Tour, which will hopefully place this incredible icon somewhere close to you so that in fact you can have your photograph taken with her. She is fabulous. She stands for a great community accomplishment - one that we want to continue to share with you forever.
Paul, Reisterstown:What is the status of plans for a new training complex? Location other than Owings Mills?
David Modell: Paul, as a neighbor, I can imagine you're interested in where we'll end up being. The current facility in Owings Mills is OK, but at the end of the day, we will need to construct a first-class training facility that finally will house all members of our organization (half of us go to work in an office building downtown...). No concrete plans underway yet, just lots of considering of options.
Roz, Baltimore: Where is Betty's next stop going to be?
David Modell: To Disney World.... LOLOLOL....she's making sporadic appearances and will continue to do so until we have a more structured tour plan. I think though, at some point this week, she needs to make a visit to downtown Washington. What do you think?
Bill, Towson: Are you worried about salary cap troubles like Jacksonville's a few years down the line with all the big signing bonuses you've been giving players?
David Modell: If you're not worried about the salary cap ALL the time, you might be deluding yourself. Ozzie and Pat (Moriarty) really do a terrific job of looking forward and sizing up the impact in future years of every single signing. This is obviously a good discipline as, while you'll never completely avoid cap complications, at least you can attempt to ameliorate any problems through effective planning or spending.
Bouch, Baltimore: Whatever happened to that giant Raven that was supposed to adorn the stadium?
David Modell: The giant Raven statue went by the boards so that we could put the needed resources into essential fan amenities at the stadium. Thought at the time you would prefer bathrooms over a big bird statue. Who knows what may lurk in the Southwest corner of the upper level where that bird was once assigned his PSL...?? By the way, what's up with the name, babe?
Jo Schmidt, Lutherville:I am not much of a sports fan and I really am not a football fan, but because of you and your father I have been drawn to the game. I guess I could have never imagined graciousness and humility being part of such an arena. Your work ethics and philosophies are clearly reflected in your players and coaches teamwork. It is refreshing! You are a perfect fit for this town of neighborhoods. One could easily imagine you being a next-door neighbor to any one of us. The affection you and your father have for each other is admirable and I hope many young men and their dads are watching and listening. Your willingness to share this bounty with the people of this town is awesome. Peter Angelos could learn much from the Modells! Thank you!
David Modell: Jo, this is a very sweet email, one that I really appreciate. I have been touched in so many ways by Baltimore and Baltimoreans - I do feel every bit the Baltimorean myself even though by Baltimore standards I've been here only a very brief period of time. I think what attracted me instantly to Baltimore was the hometown feel - that the city is filled with real people who are really wonderful to interact with. So, folks like you fuel our fire, make me feel at home and make this the terrific city to live in that it is.
Giuseppe, Superbowltown, Md: Are the players willing to restructure their contracts in order to keep most of the team together...oh and does the Lombardi trophy have your fingerprints engraved yet?
David Modell: Big G, yes, and yes.
Steve, Frederick:What ever happened to the plan to play the REDSKINS in the preseason every year? Is Dan Snyder scared of us sticking it to his miserable team? Beating the Redskins is almost as good as winning the Super Bowl!
David Modell: We have discussed a preseason series with the Redskins. They have shown some interest, but both teams have scheduled their preseason games for several seasons out. Once the decks are cleared, maybe we could work this out. I think it would be fun for all parties concerned.
Scott, Hagerstown:Your commitment to making the Ravens' Super Bowl victory a true community victory is commendable and appreciated. We sincerely hope you can join us again at our Raven's Roost #7 Double E banquet this year. How has this victory personally changed your professional life?
David Modell: Oooh, I think Hagerstown needs a visit from Big Silver Betty...??? Don't you think? No question winning the Super Bowl is a terrific dream come true on every level. You would think that achieving the ultimate would in some odd way diminish your desire to go back. However, traveling the road to the championship with all of our wonderful coaches, players and Associates was such an incredible experience. All I want to do is get back on that road and enjoy the intensity of that experience with these people again. Hard to put into words.
Marty, Westminster: My question is: Do the Ravens plan on staying at Western Maryland College for training camp in the future?
David Modell: We love Western Maryland College and our Westminster roost. Obviously, it has given us a good launching pad for success. We have no complaints and would love to stay in the area and I'm sure we'll hold some discussions with the community soon. We'll see how it goes.
Andy, Atlanta, Ga.:As a huge fan who moved from Baltimore to Atlanta last year, I still flew up for almost every game. When will next year's schedule be made avialable so I can start planning this fall's travel schedule?
David Modell: Andy, wow!, that's impressive. I have several other friends in Atlanta, maybe you guys can get a weekly junket to PSINet and spread the cost. Our schedule usually comes out in the neighborhood of April, so that's when you can begin your planning. I'm on the football field exactly an hour before kickoff at every game. I'd love it if you say hello next season. You deserve a handshake for making these long trips to support your Ravens every weekend. Thanks.
Carl Hiassen, Killington, Vt.:What was your most memorable experience during the entire Super Bowl XXXV Festivus Maximus?
David Modell: OK. You are not Carl Hiassen. I've read ALL of Hiassen's books and if you are he, I think your question might be a little more smart-alecky (if you are Hiassen, I'm sorry, send me a signed galley proof of Sick Puppy!). I actually have a number of extraordinary memories of events and of special interactions with some really extraordinary and special people. I wish I could share all of these with you - but if you are Hiassen, contact me and we'll write a book together containing most of those....
Jim, Towson: Do you feel it would be appropriate for the Ravens to recognize all of their loyal PSL holders with, perhaps a new "I'm a Proud PSL Owner" with the new helmet logo?
David Modell: Jim, excellent idea. I will make sure that our marketeers put that together and send them to PSL holders. Thanks for an excellent suggestion.
Chris, Laurel: What's the most important thing that you've learned from your father, as an NFL owner, as a person?
David Modell: Art is a very special person. The most important traits which have inspired me are personal, not business-oriented. Sense of humor no matter the circumstance and decency, no matter the situation. He's a good man. Baltimore is very lucky to have him.
Charlie, Jamestown, N.C.: Any truth to the rumors concerning uniform changes?
David Modell: Charlie, what are the rumors? Contrary to ANY rumors, our uniform will not change at all. Good golly, haven't we all had enough of logo and uniform changes?
Will, Richmond, Va.: I live in "Redskins Country" and I hate the fact that I cannot get the games (I do not have a dish and my cable company doesn't offer any NFL packages). Are there any plans to expand the Ravens influence into other areas by expanding the Ravens broadcast network on cable or radio?
David Modell: We'd love to be on in Richmond on radio for sure. TV is a little bit more of a sticky wicket in that your CBS affiliate has to choose to air Ravens games. I obviously would love for them to do so, so please do everything in your power to get them to see the light.
SunSpot:David, thanks for your time and we hope you will join us online again.
David Modell: For a computer dimwit such as I am, this has been a very cool experience. I very much enjoy interacting with our fans and this has been a new and interesting way to do so. I'd love to come back with greater regularity. I'd like to take this opportunity to just once again, thank our terrific fans for their support. We look forward to seeing them at various events in the coming weeks and months and hope they'll have an opportunity to share with us the joy of being World Champions! Thanks for your time.Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun