Sunday night is Baltimore’s night

December 04, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, signs should be erected at every gate that read:


As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, we’re doing our best to try and produce an organized stadium-wide chant at the beginning of the second quarter to help create national awareness for Art Modell and his candidacy for this year’s NFL Hall of Fame selection.  Modell is on the semi-final list of 25…and the first “cuts” are made after a December 17 vote by the 44 voters – 15 finalists will remain after 12/17.

Not surprisingly, critics of the planned “Stand Up For Art” campaign have emerged.  I’ve probably received about 20 e-mails over the last few days from dissenting voices, representing folks from, naturally, Cleveland, Washington DC and, yes, even Baltimore.  Some of those critics in the Baltimore area are actually fans of other teams – like the Steelers – but for some reason they feel compelled to reach out to me and relay their anger for our “hypocritical stance” on Art Modell.

I’d love to see those signs on Sunday night:  TONIGHT, BALTIMORE FANS ONLY.

I don’t really care what anyone in Cleveland thinks about our efforts to promote Art’s Hall of Fame candidacy.  I certainly don’t care what anyone in Washington DC thinks.  And there’s nothing a Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan could say (or write) that would make me take pause and wonder if we’re doing the right thing on Sunday night.

In other words:  Sunday night is FOR BALTIMORE FANS ONLY.

We are doing the right thing on Sunday night.  Period.

Someone e-mailed me and asked, “If Jimmy Irsay owned the Colts for the next 20 years and they won two more Super Bowls, how would you feel if the Hall of Fame inducted HIM in 2028?”

Fine by me. 

I’m way past being pissed off about the Colts and the Irsay family.  And, if Jimmy Irsay makes a contribution to the league (in the same way that Modell did throughout the four decades he was involved) and helps the NFL make progress as both a business and an entertainment model, then by all means, invite him to Canton in 2028.  I couldn’t care less about that right now.  And, I can guarantee you I won’t care about it in 2028.

Art Modell is a Hall of Fame owner in the National Football League.  Yes, yes, I’m well aware he moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore.  I know that.  Have you been to Canton lately?  There’s a racist, moved-his-team-owner in the Hall named George Preston Marshall – and a lunatic, moved-his-team-twice owner named Al Davis with his bust on display as well.  They got in and they moved THEIR team(s).  But they both got in because they evidently made overall contributions to the league that were worthy of Hall of Fame recognition.

I don’t need to justify Art Modell’s legacy in the NFL.  So, I’ll stop trying to do that.

What I will continue to do, though, is remind everyone that football in Baltimore returned to us in 1996 because of Art Modell.  It didn’t return to us because of Wayne Weaver.  It didn’t return to us because of Bill Bidwell.  It didn’t return to us because of Paul Tagliabue.  Football came “home” to Baltimore because of Art Modell.  

Nestor’s blogs on Modell this week paint the entire picture of what life would be like in Baltimore without football.  And Nestor also makes great points about how polished our franchise is and what kind of respect level the Ravens organization has garnered throughout the NFL.  None of that happens without Art Modell.

Sunday night at the start of the second quarter, we’re urging everyone at M&T Bank Stadium to stand up and chant “IN-DUCT ART!, IN-DUCT ART!, IN-DUCT ART!” for thirty seconds.  We’re hoping to gain some national recognition (and TV “face time” for the fans) for Modell’s candicacy on NBC…and we can’t wait to hear what both Al Michaels and John Madden have to say about Modell and the fans of Baltimore.

In the meantime, the folks in Cleveland can continue to carry on with their anti-Art campaign.  They probably feel righteous in doing so…even if their time would be better spent campaigning for something more beneficial – like a better football team.  

Pittsburgh fans can continue their quest to rattle my cage over the next day or so, but that won’t change anything, either.  Worry about getting another logo on your helmet and try fixing your moribund baseball franchise.  That’s where your efforts should be, yins.  (Of course, that “fixing your moribund baseball franchise” could * ahem* apply to others in the AFC North as well…)

And Redskins fans can save their breath too.  You better be worried about your own whack-job owner before you start pouring your heart and soul into criticizing some other team’s #1 guy. 

Cleveland…Pittsburgh…Washington DC…we don’t care what you think about Sunday night’s “Stand Up For Art” campaign.  Really, we don’t.

Sunday night as you enter the stadium, you’ll be able to pick up one of our “IN-DUCT ART!” signs.  We urge you to wave it proudly throughout the night and join us for the 30-second chant at the start of the second quarter.

Sunday night is Art Modell’s night.  FOR BALTIMORE FANS ONLY.