Baltimore Ravens

The life of former Ravens owner Art Modell [Timeline]

March 21, 1961:

Modell bought the Browns for just under $4 million.


Aug. 18, 1962:

Modell proposed and staged pro football's first preseason doubleheader at Cleveland Stadium. The Browns played the Steelers in one game and the Lions faced the Cowboys in the other. The preseason doubleheader concept lasted 11 years.



With a television background, Modell was appointed chairman of the league's TV committee. He negotiated TV contracts for 31 years.

Jan. 9, 1963:

Modell fired coach Paul Brown (163-53-8 with seven championships) and replaced him with assistant coach Blanton Collier.

Dec. 27, 1964:

The Browns won the NFL championship game by whipping the Baltimore Colts, 27-0, in Cleveland.


Following the merger of the AFL and NFL, he became the only elected president in NFL history, serving for three years.



Modell chaired the owners' labor committee in negotiations that led to the first collective bargaining agreement with the players. The committee included Vince Lombardi and Jim Finks.

May 1969:

In a realignment that grew out of the merger, Modell agreed to move the Browns to the AFC with the Colts and Steelers. All three teams received a $3 million payment to move into a conference with smaller markets.

Sept. 21, 1970:

The Browns beat the Jets, 31-21, in Cleveland in the debut of Monday Night Football. Modell helped negotiate the Monday night series with ABC and volunteered to host the first game.



Modell took over management of Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Jan. 3, 1987:

The Browns gave up a tying 98-yard touchdown drive to John Elway and the Broncos in the final minutes of regulation in the AFC championship game, and lost in overtime, 23-20.

Jan. 17, 1988:

Earnest Byner's fumble at Denver's 3-yard line allowed the Broncos to preserve a 38-33 victory over the Browns in another AFC championship game.


Jan. 14, 1990:

Elway threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos beat the Browns, 37-21, for a third time in the AFC championship game.

July 28, 1995:

Modell sent minority Browns owner Alfred Lerner to Baltimore for the first of two clandestine meetings on possible relocation. Lerner met John Moag, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, on Lerner's private jet on the BWI tarmac for about 90 minutes.

Sept. 18, 1995:

Modell and his entourage, including son David, Browns executive vice president Jim Bailey and Lerner, met Moag and other Baltimore representatives in New York. The outline of the deal was drawn up quickly.


Early Oct., 1995:

Modell reached an agreement with Baltimore on a 30-year lease that had the team playing the first two years at Memorial Stadium. Maryland agreed to pay $200 million to build an open-air stadium and maintain a $600,000 fund for continuing improvements.

Oct. 27, 1995:

Modell and his entourage met Moag in Lerner's plane at BWI again to sign documents for the move to Baltimore.

Nov. 6, 1995:

Modell announced his intention to move the Browns, citing the inadequacy of Cleveland Stadium and the absence of a plan to replace the facility. Modell flew to his Florida home afterward and did not attend any of the team's remaining three regular-season games.


Dec. 17, 1995:

The Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-10, in final home game at Cleveland Stadium. The Browns lost seven of their last eight games after the move was announced.

Feb. 8, 1996:

The NFL reached a tentative agreement with Cleveland officials to move the renamed Browns franchise to Baltimore and put a replacement team in Cleveland by 1999. Modell was required to pay a relocation fee of $29 million. He also had to reimburse Cleveland $11.55 million in legal expenses and damages.

Feb. 9, 1996:

NFL owners approved the relocation and agreed to put an expansion team in Cleveland for the 1999 season by a 25-2 vote with three abstentions. Ralph Wilson of the Bills and Dan Rooney of the Steelers voted against the move. Abstaining were Arizona, Oakland and St. Louis.


Feb. 15, 1996:

Modell appointed Ted Marchibroda, who coached the Colts in Baltimore and Indianapolis, the first coach of Baltimore's new franchise.

March 29, 1996:

The team was named the Ravens after a poll conducted by The Sun. Collecting 21,108 votes out of 33,288 cast, Ravens beat out Americans and Marauders.

Sept. 18, 1997:

Modell completed a financial restructuring in which the team took on $185 million in debt and shifted majority ownership to his wife Pat, although Art retained control of the team. The restructuring required approval of team owners to allow Modell to exceed the league debt limit of $55 million.


Dec. 17, 1999:

Modell reached a tentative agreement to sell 49 percent of the team to Anne Arundel County businessman Stephen J. Bisciotti, 39, for $275 million. Bisciotti had the option of purchasing the rest of the team's shares in four years for an additional $325 million.

Jan. 28, 2001:

The Ravens beat the New York Giants, 34-7, in the 35th Super Bowl in Tampa.

Nov. 25, 2002:

Modell promoted Ozzie Newsome to general manager. Newsome was the first African-American general manager in NFL history.


April 9, 2004:

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Bisciotti exercised an option to buy the remaining 51 percent of the team. Modell, however, retained 1 percent interest.

Oct. 23, 2007:

Bisciotti, former Baltimore Colts Lenny Moore and Tom Matte and several Ravens players paid homage to the Ravens’ minority owner at a Sports Legends Museum tribute, titled “Thanks, Art! A Celebration of Art Modell.”

Oct. 12, 2011:

Modell’s wife, the former Patricia Breslin, died at 80. A philanthropist and onetime actress, she’d been married to Modell for 42 years.


Sept. 6, 2012:

Modell passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital at 4 a.m. of natural causes.