Advertisement

Football Hall of Fame missing some members

The Pro Football Hall of Fame committee made a huge mistake when they didn't include wide receiver Terrell Owens and Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell in this year's class.

I don't envy the position of the members of the committee who are responsible for making the decision on who gets in and who doesn't, but there are some decisions that should take care of themselves. Owens and Modell should have been the easy ones.

Advertisement

I know that TO brings a lot of baggage, but if you look through the skeletons in his closet, for the most part, what you'll see is the behavior of an immature athlete who was allowed to get away with temper tantrums, poor sportsmanship, and public comments. It's hard to separate the off-field antics with the on-field performance, but what you saw from Owens on the field, in practice, games, and especially the playoffs would have made a compelling argument for entrance in to the Hall of Fame for most any other player.

His statistics speak for themselves. He was the fifth player in NFL history to score 150 touchdowns, sixth player to reach 1,000 career receptions, 100 touchdown receptions, and 14,000 receiving yards. He was only the third player to record 150 touchdown receptions and 15,000 receiving yards, and had nine 1,000 yard seasons including five in a row.

He was third in all time regular season receiving touchdowns behind Jerry Rice and Randy Moss and second in all-time regular season receiving yards, trailing only Rice. And he falls in to sixth place in all-time regular season receptions behind Rice, Tony Gonzalez, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, and Tim Brown.

Pretty good company.

What you could expect from TO on the field, as you expect from all of the great players of the game, is an all-out effort to reach the team's goals of winning that game to advance toward the eventual Super Bowl championship.

Sometimes it may have appeared through his celebration antics — waving the cheerleaders pom-poms or pulling a Sharpie out of his sock and autographing his touchdown ball — that he was all about TO, but that was purely for marketing purposes. On the field, when the game was on the line, there are few that I'd want on my team that would be better than Owens.

Once again this year and for far too many years, the Hall of Fame committee snubbed Modell from entrance into its hallowed chambers. His critics fail to accept anything positive about a man who spent his entire life committed to a sport and ignore the significant contributions he made to the game and its overall product.

Forget about the move of the franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore. Regardless of what side you're on, it stinks. Let's just consider the impact Modell had on the NFL itself and the product that has become the most impressive in professional sports. Modell served as an owner for 43 years, earned two NFL titles, and was the only elected president in the league's history. He was the Chairman of the Owners Labor Committee, which successfully negotiated the players' first collective bargaining agreement which remains one of the most fair and equitable contracts in pro sports.

During the merger negotiations between the NFL and the AFL, Modell served on the merger committee and broke the impasse of the realignment by the two leagues by agreeing to move his Cleveland Browns to the AFL. He helped establish and served as chairman of NFL Films.

Bottom line for a true Baltimoron like myself is that Art Modell helped bring football back to Baltimore.

Do we agree with the way it happened? No.

Did he and the collection of Maryland politicians that made the deal too sweet to pass up play by the guidelines that the NFL established? Absolutely.

Probably his greatest contribution to the game of football was while serving as the lead negotiator for the league, Modell was able to help establish "Monday Night Football."

While we're all enjoying the game either in person or in the comfort of our own homes next fall, make sure you give the man his due and tip your hat or lift a toast in his honor. Without his many contributions to a game he loved and to which he devoted his life, the product you see would be vastly different.

Advertisement

As far as his inclusion in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, what the NFL has done to this man and his family in ignoring his multiple contributions to the NFL that legally lined the pockets of players and owners alike is just shameful.

I'll just use the words of late Giants owner Wellington Mara when he said, "I don't think I know a person who has done more for this league than Modell."

410-857-7896

Advertisement
Advertisement