Tag Archive | "Art Modell"

Ravens-Bengals: Five predictions for Monday night

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Ravens-Bengals: Five predictions for Monday night

Posted on 09 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Here’s what to expect when the Ravens welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to M&T Bank Stadium for the season opener and Baltimore’s first Monday night home game since 2007 …

1. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will exploit a vulnerable interior offensive line to collect a sack and put inside pressure on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals only signed veteran center Jeff Faine at the end of August after starter Kyle Cook suffered an ankle injury and rookie Kevin Zeitler has struggled at right guard, meaning the interior of the Cincinnati offensive line is ripe for the picking. Ngata had a quiet preseason, but he appeared to be in much better shape by the end of training camp. He knows there’s more pressure on him to help the pass rush from the interior, and the All-Pro starter does just that in the opening game of the season.

2. Wide receiver Torrey Smith will build on a strong preseason with 90 yards and a touchdown reception. No one seems to talk about quarterback Joe Flacco struggling against Cover 2 defenses since the emergence of Smith last season. The University of Maryland product caught 11 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown in two games against the Bengals last season. The Ravens will use Smith on underneath routes early in the game — causing safeties Taylor Mays and Reggie Nelson to creep closer to the line of scrimmage — before the speedy receiver burns the Cincinnati defense for a long touchdown. The Bengals will be without rookie corner Dre Kirkpatrick and his absence will hurt their secondary.

3. Dalton will throw for 230 yards and two touchdowns as the Bengals test the Baltimore pass rush and go after the secondary. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis gives the Bengals a better threat in the running game, but Cincinnati will not hesitate in being aggressive with their passing game. The secondary must remain cognizant of Bengals wideout A.J. Green at all times and will likely roll coverage his way often, but the Baltimore linebackers will struggle in coverage against Cincinnati tight end Jermaine Gresham, who had eight catches for 120 yards against the Ravens last year. The Bengals will need to be aggressive to pull off the upset in Baltimore, meaning Dalton will have plenty of opportunities to gain yardage against the most vulnerable Ravens defense we’ve seen in quite some time.

4. Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth will make the rush linebacker spot a non-factor for the Ravens in Week 1. Linebacker Terrell Suggs was often made to look quite mortal against the Bengals left tackle in prior seasons, so you can imagine how much of a challenge he’ll pose for starting rush linebacker Albert McClellan on Monday night. I’m still expecting the Ravens to use Paul Kruger at the rush spot at different times, but Whitworth is one of the most underrated left tackles in the game. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will need to rely on the interior defensive line and blitzes to get to Dalton because the trio of Kruger, McClellan, and rookie Courtney Upshaw will not be up to the task in this matchup.

5. On an emotional night remembering the late Art Modell, the Ravens continue their impressive winning streak against the AFC North with a 24-21 win over Cincinnati. Until I see the Bengals prove they can do it in consecutive seasons, I still have a tough time viewing them as anything but third fiddle in the AFC North behind the Ravens and Pittsburgh. The combination of Dalton to Green will pose a major challenge to the defense, but running back Ray Rice rushed for almost 300 yards against the Bengals defense last year. The Ravens will start aggressively in the no-huddle attack to build an early lead through the passing game and wear down the Cincinnati defense with Rice in the second half. The emotion of honoring Modell and the home crowd will help propel the Ravens to their ninth straight win against AFC North opponents and their 19th win in the last 20 regular-season games played at M&T Bank Stadium.

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Harbaugh says Cleveland should be proud of Modell’s impact

Posted on 08 September 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 4:35 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After growing up in Ohio and rooting for the Cleveland Browns as a kid, John Harbaugh understands the emotions on display in his home state with the passing of former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell.

But the Ravens coach also believes it’s fitting for the city of Cleveland to recognize Modell’s accomplishments as a pioneer who helped shape the empire of the modern NFL. The league had requested all home NFL cities to recognize Modell this weekend, but the Browns cancelled their plan to pay tribute to Modell’s memory at the request of Art’s son David Modell.

Their initial plan to join the rest of the NFL in recognizing Modell on Sunday had sparked much debate over how the Browns should handle what undoubtedly would have been a delicate — and potentially ugly — situation.

“That’s a tremendous thing that the whole league is going to be honoring Art Modell,” said Harbaugh prior to the Browns’ decision to cancel plans to recognize the late owner. “That speaks to his impact that he had on the National Football League. It’s something I think we all in Baltimore should be proud of, and I would also say everybody in Cleveland should be proud of that as well. I think most people, most Browns fans — speaking as a former Browns fan — [are].”

Harbaugh, who also attended Miami University in Ohio, acknowledged his comments were unlikely to go over well with much of the Browns fan base, but his conviction on the subject reflects his admiration for the former Ravens owner.

“[I'll] probably hear something about this, but that’s OK,” Harbaugh said. “For Art Modell, it’s quite alright. I think everybody feels that way — I hope.”

Approximately 3,000 Ravens fans gathered at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday to pay their respects to the late owner as his casket and the Vince Lompardy Trophy presented to Modell at the conclusion of Super Bowl XXXV were on the field for fans to view.

The Ravens plan to honor Modell prior to Monday night’s kickoff against the Cincinnati Benglas, and players will wear a decal on their helmets for the entire 2012 season.

“That is just so tremendous, such a good tribute to Art,” Harbaugh said. “To the Baltimore fans, thank you very much. We all appreciate that.”

 

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Lewis one of many football sons to bid farewell to Modell

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Lewis one of many football sons to bid farewell to Modell

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Long before Ray Lewis became the future Hall of Fame linebacker who now holds an entire city in the palm of his hand, he was a wide-eyed 20-year-old having just been drafted by the novel Baltimore Ravens.

Lewis was joining a new team — officially speaking, anyway — in a new city, but the former University of Miami product remembered fondly the man who embraced him from the moment he was selected as the 26th overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft. As Baltimore remembered the life of former Ravens owner Art Modell, who died of natural causes at age 87 early Thursday morning, even the iconic Lewis acknowledged he wouldn’t be where he is today without Modell’s leadership and vision.

Modell and the organization entrusted Lewis with leading the defense even though many questioned if the Hurricanes linebacker was big enough to man the middle of the unit. Like countless others before him, Lewis instantly became a family member to Modell, who maintained his personal touch of doing business in the lucrative empire the NFL was becoming.

Aside from football, Modell meant so much more to the linebacker who’s spent his entire 17-year career with the Ravens.

“He respected you as a man, but me, he just grabbed me as a son from Day One and he never let me go,” Lewis said. “Everything, it didn’t matter what it was, whenever he saw me, he would always tell me how much he loved me and always tell me how much I meant to him.”

Though it didn’t take long for Lewis to become the face of the infant franchise with his intimidating play and charisma on the field, Modell was initially the most recognizable figure associated with the new Ravens, if for no reason other than the manner in which he was demonized nationally for moving his franchise from football-crazy Cleveland.

Lewis offered little in response to a question about Modell’s detractors, reminding everyone that the bond he now shares with the city of Baltimore wouldn’t have been possible if not for the difficult decision Modell made to uproot his franchise from the place he had called home for over 30 years.

As the linebacker approaches the rare status held only by the likes of Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, and Cal Ripken, it’s strange to think about a Baltimore without the Ravens and No. 52 after the way they’ve captivated the city over the last 17 years.

“How would you be here if he wouldn’t have made the stand to build a franchise in Cleveland and then to say, ‘It’s time to do something else?’” Lewis said. “He made that change, and for him to make that change to come to Baltimore, to pick up his franchise and come to Baltimore, then that’s the only way Baltimore and Ray Lewis connected.”

Though their lives took vastly different paths, Modell and Lewis enjoyed the same pinnacle of their respective careers as the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001.

For many, the iconic image of that night was the image of the Super Bowl MVP Lewis embracing the aging owner, who was finally enjoying a title after 40 years in the NFL. The juxtaposition of Lewis, coming off the most trying time in his life that included double-murder chargers stemming from the events of a year earlier in Atlanta, and Modell, the man still vilified by many after breaking the hearts of the fans in Cleveland, in that single embrace was fascinating to witness as each man could now take satisfaction in what they’d accomplished and push their critics to the side.

It was Modell who remained by Lewis’ side in the aftermath of what had transpired a year earlier, and Lewis helped repay that debt by being the best defensive player on the planet and leading one of the greatest defenses of all time to Super Bowl glory.

Lewis said his fondest memory of Modell was telling the Ravens owner he would need to do the linebacker’s famous dance after the Ravens won the Super Bowl, a request Modell humorously fulfilled as Baltimore celebrated its first NFL championship in 30 years.

“I think it capped off exactly the way it was supposed to end,” Lewis said. “Somebody had put in all of that work and now we were able to bring him what his true dream was, [which] was the Lombardi Trophy.”

As news came that Modell’s condition was worsening at Johns Hopkins Hospital Wednesday evening, coach John Harbaugh invited Lewis to join him in bidding farewell to the owner. Teammates Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata tagged along as Lewis spoke words of encouragement and prayer to Modell in his final hours.

Though it didn’t take place in the public forum of their bear-hug embrace in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXXV, hearing an emotional Lewis describe his goodbye to a man he admired so deeply — a man to which Baltimore football fans owe a great deal — was a lump-in-the-throat moment in an exhausting day for the organization.

It would be the last of the many talks they enjoyed over the years with shared lunches, phone conversations, and warm embraces whenever they crossed paths.

“The things that I shared with him in his ear, I will always keep that between me and him because it is a son talking to a father,” said Lewis as his voice trembled. “That’s the way I looked at it from the moment I started whispering in his ear because that’s what he always used to do to me.”

With Lewis nearing the end of his career, you wonder if he’ll be able to reach the pinnacle of his profession yet again. As if the linebacker didn’t need any extra motivation as he prepares to take the field for another season at age 37, the memory of Modell will be on his mind as he tries to help lead the Ravens back to a Super Bowl.

It wouldn’t top the first one or the warm embrace he enjoyed after it was over with the man he — and countless others — viewed as more than just the owner of the team, but it would be fitting as the Ravens memorialize the man responsible for their existence in Baltimore.

“He’ll always be watching, and he’ll definitely be missed,” Lewis said. “This season, we will definitely dedicate to him and give it everything we’ve got. Hopefully, we can sit another Lombardi Trophy beside him.”

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Emotional Ray Lewis calls Art Modell “a father to me”

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Emotional Ray Lewis calls Art Modell “a father to me”

Posted on 06 September 2012 by WNSTV

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Ravens senior VP Byrne reveals Hall of Fame induction was important to Modell

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Ravens senior VP Byrne reveals Hall of Fame induction was important to Modell

Posted on 06 September 2012 by WNST Audio

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Members of Ravens organization, loved ones reflect on former owner Art Modell

Posted on 06 September 2012 by WNST Staff

A number of members of the Ravens organization and others have chimed in with reactions to the passing of former Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey, via AM1570 WNST or press releases. Here are a few of the reactions:

Former Ravens president and son David Modell:

“Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at four this morning. My brother John Modell and I were with him when he finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October. ’Poppy’ was a special man who was loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law Michel, and his six grandchildren. Moreover, he was adored by the entire Baltimore community for his kindness and generosity. And, he loved Baltimore. He made an important and indelible contribution to the lives of his children, grandchildren and his entire community. We will miss him.”

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti:

“He was my friend, my mentor. We will miss him so much. How lucky are all of us to have had Art in Baltimore? How fortunate I am to have had him teach me about the NFL. His generosity, his love, his humor, his intelligence, his friendship – we were all blessed by this great man. We will strive to live up to his standard.”

Ravens General Manager & Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome:

“Art was a giant in our industry. He was my boss – but he wouldn’t let me call him that – my mentor, and most importantly, my friend. He was the most caring, compassionate person I’ve ever known. The opportunities he gave me are historic, and I will be forever humble and grateful.”

Ravens senior VP of public & community relations Kevin Byrne on AM 1570 WNST:

“Art was like a father for me, and I’m smiling as I say that. His humor was just dominant.”

“He loved his players, he loved the game & he felt a responsibility to give back to the community because they kept you in business.”

“We joked that if Art has his way, he’d put fans in the huddle.”

“[Making the Pro Football Hall of Fame] was important to him. He wold never say it publicly & he hated to say it privately.”

Former Ravens linebacker Brad Jackson on AM 1570 WNST:

“Every day it would be 10 or 15 minutes of non-stop back-to-back jokes. Just hilarious jokes.”

“He had already told us that if we won the Super Bowl he was going to do Ray’s dance, and he did it.”

“He didn’t want to leave Cleveland. It was the toughest decision he ever made.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

“Art Modell’s leadership was an important part of the NFL’s success during the league’s explosive growth during the 1960s and beyond. As the longtime chairman of the league’s Broadcast Committee, Art was a visionary who understood the critical role that mass viewing of NFL games on broadcast television could play in growing the league. Art played important roles in many other league matters as a key advisor to Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue, and also built championship teams in Cleveland and Baltimore. His skills as an owner and league contributor were matched only by his great sense of humor. Any conversation with Art included laughs. He always left you with a smile on your face. We extend our condolences to John, David and the rest of the Modell family.”

Former NBC-TV President Dick Ebersol:

“I believe very strongly that Art Modell is one of the most important figures in the history of the modern NFL. He and Pete Rozelle developed the magic formula that married the potential of television to the game. Those funds from this marriage propelled the game into what it is today. Art was there with Pete, and Art made it happen. Those two, along with Well Mara – who convinced other owners about the power of shared revenue – are the three men who pushed the NFL into what we know today.

“My good fortune is that I met Art when I was a 20-year-old intern for Roone Arledge, and he was creating the first Monday night game. He treated that intern the same as he treated a 60-something TV executive many years later. He always made me feel special. He was open and natural, and there was not a phony bone in his body. His humor could solve the biggest obstacles. When I first became president of NBC Sports, I went to Cleveland to visit with Art. The thoughts he shared with me about television helped me gain success. His efforts in three-plus decades of steering the NFL’s TV committee are monumental. The debt owed by his fellow owners, the current owners and everyone else who has made a living off the NFL, is incalculable. The good news is that Pat [Modell] will now be back with her Art.

“But, I am so saddened with one thing: Art did not get to experience an induction into the Hall of Fame. The leaders in Cleveland, when he moved to Baltimore, put Art in an untenable situation and left him with the hard choice of moving. That scarred some people on Art. I hope in death Art is placed where he should be – in Canton in the Hall of Fame.”

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue:

“Art Modell made extraordinary contributions to the National Football League during his decades as an NFL owner.  When he stepped away from operating the Baltimore Ravens in 2004, his 43 seasons in the league represented more than half of the NFL’s history.  Art contributed to the NFL’s growth and success through the performance of his teams, his recognition of the unique place our sport has in American life, his active participation in the league’s governance, and his support of civic and community organizations.  He was a trusted advisor to both Commissioner Rozelle and me during our time in office.  His wisdom, knowledge and wit kept both of us grounded in the toughest of circumstances.  My deepest sympathies to David, John and the entire Modell family on their loss.”

 

 NFL Executive Joe Browne, the Longest-Serving Employee in the League Office:

“Art Modell was a most influential member of Commissioner Rozelle’s ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ for many years, along with Dan Rooney and the late Tex Schramm. Ironically, Art is the only member of that group who is not enshrined in Canton. Hopefully, the Hall of Fame media selectors will rectify that oversight in the near future – not as an emotional reaction to Art’s death, but as a rightful reflection of his longtime contributions to the NFL.”

New York Giants President and CEO John Mara:

“Art Modell was one of the greatest owners in the history of the NFL. He contributed in so many ways to the success of this league, and he deserves a place in Canton. More importantly, he was a decent man and a great friend to my family. We will miss him dearly.”

New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Art Modell. I regret that I hadn’t talked to him since the passing of his wife, Pat, last year. We both shared that experience, and I know how hard that was for Art. When I first entered the league, Art was quick to welcome me, and I always appreciated that. He leaves a lasting legacy for the many contributions he made to the National Football League. The one thing that I always admired most about Art was his understanding of the role television would play in the growth of the game of football and the overall popularity of the NFL. He understood the value of primetime games at a time when there really wasn’t a tremendous demand. He helped negotiate and launch ABC’s Monday Night Football in 1970. I can’t remember what Monday nights were like during the fall before Monday Night Football, nor could I imagine them without football today. Football fans everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude for that alone. I speak for my entire family in extending our heartfelt sympathies to the Modells.”

Detroit Lions Owner William Clay Ford Sr.:

“On behalf of my wife Martha, our entire family and the Lions organization, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to David and John and everyone who knew and loved Art.

“Art was a great personal friend, and we shared many wonderful times together over the years. The game of football lost one of its’ all-time greats today. Art’s contributions to the NFL during his five decades in the game are immeasurable. I believe that Art did as much as any owner to help make the NFL what it is today. Art was a pioneer, a visionary and a selfless owner who always saw the big picture and did the right thing. Our game would not be what it is today if it weren’t for Art Modell.”

Philadelphia Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie:

“I will always be thankful for the way Art Modell reached out to me and made me feel welcome when I first became owner of the Eagles. Art was a man with a wonderful sense of humor. He also had a visionary grasp of the importance of making professional football accessible to television audiences, helping build the sport’s popularity to this day. We extend our condolences to the Modell family on his passing.”

Denver Broncos Owner and CEO Pat Bowlen:

“Art Modell and I certainly had a history together, most notably from our teams meeting three times in a four-year period playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl. In addition to making the Broncos-Browns into a fierce rivalry, those AFC Championship Games formed a common bond between the both of us as owners. Our teams had some great battles – there was no question about that. There really wasn’t a tougher place we had to play than Cleveland during that time period under Art in the late 1980s.

“We also had the opportunity to work together on several league committees and initiatives over the years. During Art’s four decades of ownership in the NFL, he had a strong impact on the league and was a great influence to so many in the game. He was competitive, passionate and very knowledgeable as an owner.

“On behalf of the Denver Broncos, I extend our sympathies and prayers to the Modell family during their time of loss.”

 Arizona Cardinals Owner Bill Bidwill:

“When you look at those most responsible for the growth and tremendous popularity of the NFL, Art Modell has to rank high on that list. The backbone of that success has been the league’s relationship with network television, something Art was instrumental in shaping. Personally, when I think of Art, I will always remember his great stories and sense of humor, his generosity and civic leadership, and his passion for the game of football.”

 Houston Texans Founder, Chairman and CEO Bob McNair:

“Art Modell was a very popular owner. He was very creative in marketing the NFL and made a lot of contributions in terms of expanding the fan base.”

 Former NFL QB and Ravens Director of Pro Personnel James Harris:

“First thing that comes to my mind are the contributions Art made to the NFL: his teams, to television, to naming Ozzie [Newsome] as general manager. He was a pioneer. Working with him, you got to see what a great person he was. He cared about all of us – players, coaches, scouts, everyone in the front office. Genuine is a word I would use to describe Art. He was a special, special man. And, it’s a shame he is not in the Hall of Fame. He belongs there, and a lot of us know that.”

 Longtime Browns and NFL Personnel Executive Michael Lombardi:

“Vision, humor and generosity always guided Art Modell’s life. His humor made him a daily pleasure to encounter. His genuine generosity, which supplied you with the tools to learn – as well as work your craft – will always be cherished, but his futuristic vision left a lasting impact on the game he deeply loved.”

 Longtime Browns and Ravens Personnel Executive Phil Savage:

“My thoughts of Art Modell have always been wonderfully positive. One of the things that he will always be remembered for is his quick wit. He was incredibly sharp-minded when it came to one-liners and stories that happened to him through the years.“I think the thing that I admire most about Mr. Modell is that he persevered through some tough times. He was a man that experienced being on a mountain top, but also had been through some very significant low points as well. He was always able to keep a positive spirit and break the tension with that sense of humor that he had.

 

“Like I said, all of my experiences with him were great – 14 years, including five with the Browns and nine with the Ravens. I think he always felt a little bit more of a loyalty to those of us that made that transition from Cleveland to Baltimore. It was a difficult time for a lot of people, but through a lot of support from he and his family and the leadership of Ozzie [Newsome], we were able to reach that Super Bowl. I think that there was a real connection between he and the team and the players. I think the players loved him, and he loved his players. Over the years, I think almost every player that you could talk to would say they enjoyed playing for him and his teams because he had such a passion for pro football.”

 Ravens Front Office Staffer Chad Unitas, Son of the Late Johnny Unitas:

“Art Modell was a true visionary and leader in the NFL and community. In the Ravens’ first year, I remember going to practices with my dad, sitting on Art’s golf cart and listening to Art ask my father how he could help him and all the older players with their disabilities. He cared more about them than he did about himself. He was a true gentleman that will be missed, but never forgotten.”

COACHES ON ART MODELL

 

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick:

“Art Modell was all about family, and that’s how he directed the Ravens. He treated me, my family and everyone in the organization like a member of his family. Before I think of the gratitude I owe him for giving me the opportunity to be his head coach, I think of the way he treated all of us. I don’t believe there’s another NFL franchise that embraces that more than Art did. That was reflected in the people he hired. He created an atmosphere that was the best. It was a joy to come to work for him. He accomplished so much as an owner: championships, playoffs, the TV contracts, the leadership in the NFL. They are all great and deserving of the Hall of Fame. Those who worked with Art will all say the same thing. He was a Hall of Fame person.”

Former Browns, Chiefs and Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer:

“No, no, this is sad news. I loved Art Modell, and I was just thinking of him yesterday. He was a man’s man, someone you wanted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with. He gave me my first head coaching job, and we had the most fun working together. We didn’t win the biggest prize, but we were awfully close, and we had a ball trying to get there. Art made it fun. His humor was the best, and my wife, Pat, always said what a gentleman he is – classy, and he ran his franchise that way. I have only good memories of Art.”

Former Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher (who played and coached for Modell in Cleveland):

“One thing about Art, he loved his teams and his players more than anyone I met. He embraced his team with his whole heart and everything else he had. He took great pride in those who worked for him. Art always wanted to do the right things for his team – help in any way. I have great respect for him as a person. He wanted to help people who needed it, and he did so much for so many. Even when I was the head coach in Pittsburgh, I was so happy he won the Super Bowl. He deserved that championship, and it was tremendous to see him get it.”

Former Browns Head Coach Sam Rutigliano:

“Art was my friend and supporter. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.  Art was a hands-on owner, he never rode shotgun – whether at practice, the draft, or even at meetings. He was willing to do the real work to make us better. If Art could have given the trophy to Cleveland, I believe he would have. The people in Baltimore certainly deserved it.  There are some here in Cleveland who still love him. Art Modell was a major contributor to an era of football that was the best the NFL ever had.”

Former Browns Defensive Coordinator and Current Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban:

“I think Art is what I would call a legacy owner. Whether it’s the Modell family or the Rooney family or the Mara family, the old, traditional franchises had a tremendous amount of responsibility for building the league in the early stages, and Art was certainly one of those. He’s also a man who I have a tremendous amount of respect for by the way he treated me and my family when I worked there for him. When I got the head coaching job at Michigan State, he hired a secretary and had her take all the calls until I finished the season, and we had a playoff team. Lots of things like that that didn’t have to be done, just there to serve someone else who he thought he could help. I think he is one of the great all-time owners in the league. He also had a great sense of humor and was a lot of fun to be around.”

 Former Ravens Defensive Coordinator and Current Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach, Marvin Lewis:

“I have a lot of fond memories of Mr. Modell.  Just him being around every day, being at practice every single practice.  His great wit and one liners anytime we had meetings with him.  Just how passionate he was about that football team.”

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh:

“By a Providential twist of fate, we came to be friends of Art and Pat Modell and their wonderful family. Pat took my wife under her wing and made her feel like they had been friends forever. Art made me feel like I could accomplish anything. He was the most encouraging soul I ever came across. He uplifted everybody around him. I loved Art, and he loved my family, including my parents. He welcomed us to Baltimore with genuine warmth and grace.

“Art continued to be a big part of this great organization. He spoke to our team every year, and he interacted with the players and coaches whenever he was here. This was a strong and good man. He was a winner in every way. And his humor … He always, in every situation, made us laugh. He is in God’s company, along with Pat, and Art is telling some good ones right now!

“It is important to mention some things about Art:

“Art Modell was a visionary who broke barriers to help make the NFL what it is today and to help move our society forward in important ways. It was Art’s vision that married the NFL and TV together like nothing else in the history of sports and entertainment. He saw it first and drove it home with the networks and the league. Art negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement in NFL history. On those two accomplishments alone, the NFL moved to the forefront of sport in America. Art also started Monday Night Football. How great it is that we are playing in the Monday Night Football opener this week? We should all salute him for that. Art was a frontrunner in breaking racial and gender barriers in sports. He was ahead of his time and pioneered change for the good. And, Art was a winner. There are a multitude of playoff teams and division champions, and he won the Lombardi Trophy right here with his beloved Ravens.

“It is often said about those inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame: ‘Can you write the history of the league without him?’ The answer with Art Modell is resounding. He was a great leader, but more importantly, he was truly a good man.”

PLAYERS ON ART MODELL

 

Former Broncos and Ravens TE Shannon Sharpe:

“Mr. Modell was one of the main reasons I came to Baltimore. I remember when I met him. He flew down to see me, and we flew back up to Baltimore together, and he learned so much about me and my family, and I learned about him as a man. I remember his words so vividly: He said, ‘Ozzie, get this deal done,’ and that was the start of something beautiful.

“One of my favorite moments in the NFL was when he spoke to us in the locker room after the Super Bowl victory. He said, ‘This is the proudest day of my life; you guys make me proud.’ And then he started to break down. That touched me. You could not only see the emotion from him and from all of us in that room, you could feel it. Knowing how long he had been in the NFL and how many great players he had been around, it was such a great feeling to give him something that he wanted for so long. We all wanted it for him!

“You see how close he was with his boys and how much he loved his wife, and he brought that atmosphere to the Ravens. He always had something positive to say, always had a joke to make you smile. I still picture him on his golf cart watching every practice, no matter what the weather was like. We were all in it together. The sport you see on TV today and what the NFL means to our society is in large part due to Mr. Modell.

“He was a great man, and I just wish that everyone got a chance to see him in the light that we did as players. It is a very sad day. I will miss my friend.”

Former Ravens T Jonathan Ogden:

“Art was more than a great owner; he was a great man. When I first met him, and he welcomed me to Baltimore, I knew he was special. The Ravens organization was a special place to be. He was more concerned with everyone else than he was about himself. Always wanted to know about how you and your family were doing. He is definitely one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. It would be very difficult to imagine what the NFL would be like today without a visionary like Art Modell. He was a ‘glass half full’ person every day of his life. I will never forget how he treated me and my family. He will always have a very special place in my heart.”

Ravens LB Ray Lewis:

“When you think about Art Modell, you think about a great man, a leader, a father and a servant. Every minute of his life, he cared more about everyone around him than himself. Anytime I saw him, he would always make me smile. He always had a joke to lighten your mood or some sort of wisdom to impart to make you a better man. I genuinely loved Art as a man, and he showed me what to strive for in life. When you truly see the impact he had on everyone he touched, it humbles you. When I found out he wasn’t doing well, I knew immediately I had to see him. When I was with him yesterday, I prayed with him and shared with him things that a son would say to a father. Even though he has left us, he is going to a place that one day we all want to be. I am truly blessed to have had Art in my life. He was a humble servant, and one of the best men I have ever known.”

Former Browns/Ravens DE Rob Burnett:

“I met Art 20 years ago, and he was my boss for 12 years. Not many people have had a bigger influence on my life than he did. He is part of my family, and he has always made me feel like I was part of his. He was a trailblazer and a big reason why the NFL is where it is now. There are no owners in history who could compare to him as a philanthropist and businessman. You look at the things that he has done for people, how many times he gave people second, third and fourth chances when other people wouldn’t have. He was a great humanitarian. Any chance I get, I tell people what a special person he was. There aren’t many people I could say this about, but I always knew I could count on him, and I think he knew he could always count on me. I will miss him dearly.”

Former Browns/Ravens K Matt Stover:

“I worked for Art for 18 years, and he is paramount to what the NFL is today. He was a visionary, and everyone who works in or is a fan of the NFL owes Art Modell a debt of gratitude and great appreciation for what he did to make this game great. As a man, he was one of the most philanthropic people I know. All of the tremendous things he stood for he passed on to his family, community and the people that he worked with, and that has made the Ravens and the NFL a better place.

“Art always empowered me to be my best, and did the same for everyone around him. I remember in Cleveland when I missed a field goal and was down on myself, and Art called me on the sideline phone. He told me, ‘Just hit the next one, kid.’ I’m not sure how many other owners would have done that. He was a special man and will be sorely missed by my family and me.”

Former Browns and Ravens RB Earnest Byner:

“The thing about Mr. Modell, his heart was always one of giving. That man did a lot for Cleveland, he did a lot for the players that were on that team, and he gave a lot of people a lot of second chances in life. He’s a juggernaut in the league because of what he did for Monday Night Football. He was a visionary, and he had the heart of a champion. For me, that pretty much says it all.

“He gave me an opportunity. When I was deciding to retire, and I told him I wanted to coach. He told me, ‘You can go look around and see if anyone else wants to sign you, but you will always have a home here.’ When I came back, he allowed me to develop as a young coach, a young scout, let me work in the weight room – all the stuff I wanted to do.  He gave me the ability to do that, and he looked after me the way a father would.

“The league might have taken longer to get where it is were it not for him. He had the vision and the forethought to put some things out there that other people hadn’t thought about, as far as handling revenue and how TV was being used to make the league bigger and better. I think that was really huge, really big for him to have that mind.

“I think he missed his calling – he should have been a comedian. He could tell a story, he could make light of different situations. We’d be busting a gut sometimes on some serious stuff, making some serious decisions, and be busting a gut because he had that natural gift of levity. I loved that about him and am definitely appreciative of all that he, Mrs. Modell and that family did for me.”

Former Ravens DT Tony Siragusa:

“Art was like a father to me and to all of his players. From the first time I met him, he always treated us players like his kids, but also treated us like men. When we won the Super Bowl, he was as big a part as anyone. We wanted to win it for him. Art was a man; you could talk to him about anything in life – not just football – and you would always come out wiser. Art is and always will be a family member to me.”

Former Ravens WR Qadry Ismail:

“When you look at the situation that players can be in, it’s such a cutthroat business, and there are a lot of tough decisions that have to be made. I am proud to say that I played for Art Modell. I am proud to say that I played for the Baltimore Ravens. I am proud to say that I am a part of this organization. I am proud to wear the championship ring that is on my figure, because Art Modell has set a high standard of quality, excellence, family and commitment to doing what is right. I will be forever grateful and indebted to the man that helped me in my career, as well as the impact he has made in my life as a man.

“Art has meant so much to not only the NFL community, but also the Ravens’ community and people of Baltimore and Maryland. I am thankful that I have been a part of that legacy. I am thankful that I have been able to be in a spot where it’s not about just playing a game, but it’s also about affecting other’s lives in a positive way. Art Modell, from the way he runs his organization to the way he carries himself as a man, has impacted me so much.

“I am so thankful that Art has been able to be a part of my life, especially at a time as a player when I was just starting my family. The one story that comes to my mind is when my son had a fall and broke his leg, and it required surgery. Art – he didn’t have to – but he made a phone call to the hospital about this. I remember sitting there stressed out, not sure whether my son was going to be able to be seen by a doctor. A person from the hospital came in and said, ‘You must know someone in high places. You are getting surgery pretty quickly.’ I was like, ‘Wow, OK!’ I came later to find out that it was Art who had made the call to have my family taken care of. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to go out of his way.”

Former Ravens RB Jamal Lewis:

“Art meant so much to me because he gave me an opportunity when there were some people questioning me as a player and person. As an owner, he never missed a practice. Rain, sleet, snow, whatever, you always saw him on his cart. That set the tone for us as a team, especially during the Super Bowl run. He was at every practice, knew every player’s name and treated us like men. He ran a first-class organization, and what you see in the Ravens today was built on Art’s legacy. He was a great man, and as much as it saddens me that he is gone, I’m happy he is reunited with Pat.”

 ”He was to be the one to comfort you.  He was the one to let you know he was happy to have you .”

Former Browns, Cowboys and Dolphins QB Bernie Kosar:

“I had a special relationship with Mr. Modell, and he’s probably angry that I’m not calling him Art. We were close when I played for him and became even closer through our adversities. He was such a caring person. The first thing he would ask is, ‘How are you doing? How are the kids?’ He told me that I was like a son to him, and that made me proud. A lot of Clevelanders wouldn’t believe this, but Art is one of the most loyal and trusting persons I’ve ever met. Maybe that led him to some decisions that not everyone liked. But, he was tough – always willing to take the brunt of things on his shoulders. He didn’t blame others. This is a sad day for me. I truly valued his friendship and will miss that.”

Ohio Native and Former Baltimore Colts LB Stan White:

“I feel like I’ve known Art Modell and his family my whole life, growing up around Cleveland and growing up watching the Cleveland Browns as a kid. Playing in the NFL, my association with Art grew as I became involved with the league through the Players Association. Then, I represented [former Browns DB] Frank Minnifield, one of his players, and got to know Art even better at that point. Of course, when he brought the team to Baltimore, I got to know him – I wouldn’t say intimately – but I got to know him fairly well.

“Art, to me, is just one of the great men of football, along with the Rooneys and the Maras. The men like that built this game for everybody that ever played, particularly the guys that are playing today. We all know his involvement in getting television involved with the NFL, with Monday Night Football. But more so, with the way he ran a football team, he treated his players as men and really cared about them. It’s a cruel business at times, but it’s always how you do things, and Art always did it with class and dignity, and you couldn’t say more about a person than you can say about Art.

“I coached his grandson at Gilman [School], and I got to know Art a little bit more through that. The whole Modell family has been such a gift to Baltimore, and Art Modell has been a gift to anybody who has ever been associated with football on any level – but particularly with the National Football League. Art Modell is a giant, and he will be missed.”

 Doug Dieken, the Longest-Tenured Player in Browns’ History:

“The thing that always stands out for me when I think of Art is his sense of humor. He liked to laugh. We’d be angry at each other while negotiating a contract, would have our battles, and he would still find a way to bring humor into it. Art was the last millionaire in what has become a billionaire business, and he tried to make it work. He treated players fairly, and you knew he was in your corner. He was what I would call a ‘players’ owner.’

“I think the players today making so much money should thank Art for his contributions to their pockets. His work with generating more money through TV is a big part of the paychecks today. He was a real competitor. It hurt him to lose, and he’d wear it on his sleeve, just like he would the wins. He did all he could to make us winners.

“I think what he did when he left Cleveland was not right, but there were others here who were wrong, too. It’s a shame that one decision hurt how some people think of him, because he did so much good. He gave people chances, and he helped a lot of people get a better life. He always looked out for the underdog and the underprivileged.”

Former Browns RB/RS Dino Hall:

“Art had a passion and a real love for the game of football. He was the true fan. I can remember him walking the sidelines at camps and at game time; he really was a true fan of football. For a long time, he meant a lot to Cleveland in a positive way, and he was a positive influence in that he loved Cleveland.”

Former Browns G Robert Jackson:

“From the time I was a rookie free agent with the Browns to today, Art made me feel like part of a family. That’s the way he treated his players. He was very fair, often tearing up contracts of players who were playing better and giving them new ones. My era of Browns, we respected him. In fact, a bunch of us got together in June and told stories about Art and those teams we played on. When I think of Art, I think of a good person who was fun to be around and knew how to have fun. And, I think of a person who cared a lot about people – how he could help them – and he did help so many.”

Former Browns RB Greg Pruitt:

“I have always thought so highly of Mr. Modell. And even after I got traded from the Browns to the Raiders, he made a point to apologize to me for the trade. It was something he didn’t want to do. He drafted me, and I became a Cleveland Brown. We had a lot of good times. He was always a great guy to me, and I was very close to Mrs. Modell. I was in love with his wife and his kids. On road trips, the kids would always come around me, and I would babysit. That was good; I liked it.”

Former Baltimore Colts RB Tom Matte:

“He was a special guy to me. I call him a very close friend. We came into the league together in 1961. What he’s done for football can’t be measured. This man deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Former Browns G John Wooten:

“First and foremost, our relationship goes back to the 1960’s when he first bought the Cleveland Browns. He was one of the great, great owners in the NFL. He was a man that sacrificed and did the things to make the NFL what it is today. He was an owner who excelled in dealing with players, working with the public and making sure that our game was growing. He sacrificed.

“He worked alongside Lamar Hunt, Tex Schramm, Well Mara and Art Rooney – and all of those men are in the Hall of Fame. He worked with them in all of those meetings. He was there. It is indeed a shame that he is not in the Hall of Fame.

“I can’t tell you how bad I want Art to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Former Ravens Linebacker, Jaimie Sharper:

“Art was a strong man and even though people would talk about things around him, and how he dealt with them, coming from Cleveland to Baltimore.  It shows his own unwillingness to give up.  He brought his proud ownership to Baltimore and laid the ground work for what the Ravens are.

“He was the bridge between Cleveland and Baltimore; he was the bridge between the Colts and the Ravens.”

Former Ravens Linebacker, Peter Boulware:

A very kind person, obviously I was thankful to have the opportunity to be drafted by the Ravens.  Ultimately, all decisions come through him.  I had a chance to sit down with him to talk about coming to a new city, coming to the NFL, being apart of the Baltimore Ravens and his expectations.  Again he was a great person.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to play for him and am so thankful for the opportunity he gave me to play for the Ravens.”

“He always instilled in us the importance of being thankful to people that supported us. Going out into the community, going to restaurants and getting involved in charity.  As football players,we are given so much, it was him and his lead; if you look at all the charity work he did in the community, it was his lead that guided us.”

 

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Former Ravens owner Art Modell passes away at 87

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Former Ravens owner Art Modell passes away at 87

Posted on 06 September 2012 by WNST Staff

The man who brought NFL football back to Baltimore in 1996 has passed away.

Former Baltimore Ravens owner Arthur B. Modell died Thursday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to natural causes. He was 87 years old. His sons, John and David, were at his side.

“Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at four this morning,” said Modell’s son David in a statement released by the Ravens. “My brother John Modell and I were with him when he finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October.”

Having owned the Cleveland Browns since 1961, Modell announced he was moving his franchise to Baltimore on Nov. 6, 1995. The team was given a new name and treated as an expansion franchise as the city of Baltimore enjoyed NFL football in 1996 for the first time since Robert Irsay had moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in March 1984.

A report from Cleveland late Wednesday night said Modell’s vital organs were failing and his sons were at his side in the hospital.

“’Poppy’ was a special man who was loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law Michel, and his six grandchildren,” David Modell said. “Moreover, he was adored by the entire Baltimore community for his kindness and generosity. And, he loved Baltimore. He made an important and indelible contribution to the lives of his children, grandchildren and his entire community. We will miss him.”

Modell remained the majority owner of the Ravens until 2004 when he sold his share of the franchise to current owner Steve Bisciotti.

His crowning achievement in Baltimore was the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory over the New York Giants on Jan. 28, 2001, the city’s first NFL championship since the Colts’ Super Bowl V victory over the Dallas Cowboys in 1971.

 

 

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Report: Modell gravely ill in Baltimore hospital

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Report: Modell gravely ill in Baltimore hospital

Posted on 06 September 2012 by WNST Staff

WKYC-TV (Cleveland) reporter Jim Donovan reported Wednesday night former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell had been hospitalized in Baltimore and his condition “was worsening.”

According to the report, Modell’s vital organs are “failing” and his sons John and David had gathered with him in the hospital.

Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996 and remained majority owner of the team until 2004 when purchase of the team was completed by current owner Steve Bisciotti.

Modell was majority owner of the Ravens in 2001 when they defeated the New York Giants 34-7 to win Super Bowl XXXV, the franchise’s only Super Bowl title and the first for the city since the Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Pat Modell, Art’s wife since 1969, died in October 2011 of pancreatitis.

WNST will have more on this story as it becomes available.

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March 29 a significant day in history of Baltimore football

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March 29 a significant day in history of Baltimore football

Posted on 29 March 2012 by Luke Jones

Ask any Baltimore football fan over the age of 35 the significance of the morning of March 29, 1984 and you’ll see their expression change as a flood of memories rushes over their countenance.

Thursday marked the 28th anniversary of Robert Irsay and the Baltimore Colts sneaking out of town in the middle of the night, leaving countless grown men and women — like my father and grandparents — to only sob when learning the news that morning.

(Video package courtesy of WMAR-TV in Baltimore)

Many say they’re over the bitterness of the Colts’ departure while others will take that anger to their graves. And younger fans, such as those of my generation and younger, either aren’t that terribly interested or will never fully grasp the emotions of that night and morning and the days and years that followed.

All of those perspectives are perfectly acceptable as long as the feelings of each person invested in Baltimore football are respected.

It took time, but Baltimore wound up better in the long run as the city secured another team and won a championship before the Indianapolis Colts ever tasted Super Bowl glory. The Ravens have become ingrained in the community as much as a franchise can be in the modern and more lucrative era of professional sports.

What I didn’t realize, or perhaps had simply forgotten over the last 16 years, was March 29 also being a more positive day in the history of Baltimore football. Twelve years after those Mayflower trucks pulled out of Owings Mills, Art Modell announced his newly-relocated franchise would be renamed the Ravens — the Marauders and the Americans were the other two finalists — in the first tangible step of establishing a distinct identity for a new NFL team in Baltimore.

Modell

The team’s move from Cleveland had been announced several months earlier, but learning the result of a fan poll to name the franchise somehow granted more authenticity to the idea of NFL football once again being played at Memorial Stadium that fall.

A plethora of detailed accounts by more talented, authoritative writers can easily be found, so I don’t feel the need to rehash the circumstances or emotions surrounding each relocation at length.

But I do believe in the importance of remembering and respecting the city’s football heritage, recognizing where we once were and how those events impacted our lives as well as our loved ones, many of whom are no longer with us.

March 29 represents both the darkest day in the history of Baltimore football and part of a new beginning.

And it’s why I’ll remember and think about my father and grandparents a little more than usual on this day.

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The 15-7-0 Might Be Tricky, But It’s Always A Treat

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The 15-7-0 Might Be Tricky, But It’s Always A Treat

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. With the entire country winning, Andrew Luck looked like a Heisman Trophy winner and future #1 pick Saturday night in Los Angeles.

It’s a shame the USC Trojans gave the ball away just outside the endzone in overtime number three against Stanford. Not only because I picked the Cardinal to lose last Thursday when I played John Allen (of Charm City Devils fame) in “Everybody Beats Glenn”, but also because it was a hell of a game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx7vpD_D4g0[/youtube]

I’ll go ahead and move Luck ahead of Boise State QB Kellen Moore on my Heisman Watch list. Yeah, I guess I’m a sellout. But it’s hard not to like what you see with this kid. Alabama RB Trent Richardson is third on my list; which now ends at three because one of those guys will be your winner.

Going back to Saturday night, Andrew Luck also did this…

luck

2. Marvin Lewis is (very deservingly) the winningest coach in Cincinnati Bengals history.

I get more and more concerned about the Ravens’ pending matchups with the Bengals every time I watch them…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0an-M9us5Y[/youtube]

They did all of that without Cedric Benson and they were playing the Seahawks IN Seattle.

By the way, did you know Adam “Pacman” Jones was still in the NFL? Me neither.

3. I’ll assume Frank Gore is particularly happy to no longer be thought of as “the best player on a bad team.”

Also part of the San Francisco 49ers’ win over the Cleveland Browns? Joe Staley playing the role of “Offensive Lineman” in “Offensive Lineman makes catch, runs with football”….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDTJcYX4hQA[/youtube]

Just beautiful. By the way, I guess the Niners have to be number two in my new NFL power rankings, right? How’s that possible?

4. Penn State controls their own destiny to reach the Big Ten Championship Game, but their schedule leads you to believe Ohio State is still very much in the mix.

Joe Paterno passed Eddie Robinson as the all-time winningest coach in Division I history as Penn State beat Illinois. It was the only time the word “pass” was used in Happy Valley Saturday. I don’t care for much of anything about the Nittany Lions, but I respect their students for packing in behind the goalposts to try to make the Illini’s tying field goal try harder…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-4XhbiILGI[/youtube]

Things get VERY difficult for PSU now, as they host Nebraska in State College next week before finishing conference play with trips to Columbus and Madison. Speaking of which…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwuXzK5Mehs[/youtube]

Wisconsin fans were once again hoping a penalty flag could save them, but Braxton Miller did NOT cross the line of scrimmage before throwing the game winner to Devin Smith. Russell Wilson’s Heisman hopes are totally up in smoke, and the Badgers are now a long shot (at best) for the Rose Bowl, while the Buckeyes are still very much in the picture.

5. Nebraska is firmly back in the race for the Other spot in the Big Ten title game, and Michigan is by no means out of the picture.

Michigan State had no magic left after an incredible two weeks-or more realistically had no answer for some dude named Rex Burkhead, who reportedly plays for the Cornhuskers…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiYLzEwG16Y[/youtube]

Elsewhere in the world of bizarre football names, the Wolverines stomped Purdue thanks to a running back whose name is (seriously) Fitzgerald Toussaint. Shouldn’t he be playing for Dartmouth?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXTWG9xmjgs[/youtube]

Not part of the Big Ten title picture? Iowa. They lost to Minnesota. Yes. That Minnesota.

6. Stephen Tulloch may have shut down the internet after sacking Tim Tebow in the Detroit Lions’ win over the Denver Broncos.

We’ll start with the highlights…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc7Zp6FdEVU[/youtube]

And now for those that missed it in the video…

tulloch

I like Tim Tebow. I also like this. It is what it is.

7. I guess we can assume the Philadelphia Eagles are just fine at this point.

The Eagles DESTROYED the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Sadly the highlight of the game was a Laurent Robinson catch that didn’t count at all…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FwDZz-a6r8[/youtube]

The SNF broadcast was obsessed with Philly O-Line coach Howard Mudd. I actually have no issue with that. Howard Mudd is awesome. Otherwise they’d have been obsessed with Rob Ryan, and I’m about done with that.

Also of note, Jason Kelce snapped the ball off his own ass at one point…

kelce

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