Thousands of people took time earlier today to pay their respects to Art Modell. The Modell family, fully supported by the Baltimore Ravens family, set up a memorial at M&T Bank Stadium. Mr. Modell’s casket was laid out under a tent, fittingly, in the middle of the football field.
As I left, after a brief moment and sad goodbye to a truly classy guy, the lines were long and purple. Just the way Mr. Modell would’ve wanted it.
Days like today, times like these, bring about a need for moments of solitude and reflection. While driving away from M&T Bank Stadium, I was overcome with a heightened sense of awareness. I’m not sure why. The same streets I’ve traveled a thousand times over, just looked different. With my windows down, no radio, no real street noise invading my space, Baltimore was bustling, yet peaceful. Each stop light had me noticing something new in the city surroundings. Baltimore changes a lot and I guess I never really notice. Even my quick run down I83, a stretch I’ve taken countless times, alerted me to things I’ve never noticed before. I felt rested, really awake, calm and energized by the clarity. Honestly, I’m not sure what was happening. It was weird. I wish it happened more often.
I grabbed a quick lunch and began thinking about “life”, my life. I’m 44, and no longer qualify as “young” while not yet staring straight down the barrel of “old”. I’m truly in the “middle” – I hope.
I wont bore you with the details of personal thoughts as they pertain to me and the reflecting I was doing. I will share this – time is the only commodity worth cultivating. With enough of it, if spent wisely, everything else will fall into place. Wasting time is a sin.
Art Modell was 43 when I was born. He was in the “middle”. Art, purchased the Cleveland Browns in 1961 for $4 million, investing only $250,000 of his own money. He borrowed $2.7 million and partners kicked in the rest. He bought a storied NFL franchise with only $250k of his own cash, how cool is that? Multiple high-fives and chest bumps are in order. Very slick. Truly awesome. He was a hands on, active owner, who relished his role in the management of the team. In 1963 Art fired legendary coach Paul Brown. The Browns – Paul Brown. The legend – Paul Brown. Art Modell fired him – amazing! In 1969 Art married Pat, the love of his life and they were inseparable until her passing in 2011. He met and then married “the one”, took vows of “until death do us part” and honored those vows. He adopted her two sons and furnished them wonderful lives. Art and Patricia Modell were together for 42 years – inspiring!
Art was entrenched in the era of NFL football when true titans came out to play and pioneer. Art, meshed his marketing, public relations, advertising and media savvy into the world of the NFL and helped lead the league to unimaginable and unprecedented prosperity. Art Modell was bold, tough and fearless yet knew how to kill you with kindness – the NFL needed guys like him in the ranks.
Thanksgiving Day football in “Prime Time” – Art Modell. Monday Night Football - Art Modell. Lucrative TV contracts – Art Modell. NFL football back in Baltimore – Art Modell. Another Super Bowl trophy resting