Loyalty is not an attribute that many people would use to describe Art Modell, and now the same can be said of the Ravens.
Bernie Kosaar spent the best years of his NFL quarterback career with the Cleveland Brown, when Art Modell owned the Browns. Kosar was a good quarterback with an excellent ability to read what a defense was going to do (the Miami Dolophin’s Dan Mureno used this to his advantage later when Kosar joined the Dolphins). Kosar’s problem in Cleveland was a bad offensive line, which kept him running from defensive lines almost every down.
Rather than build a better offensive line, the Browns cut Kosar before the end of the season. Not letting a player finish a season is considered a “slap in the face.” An insult that many in the NFL did not think Bernie had deserved. The Cleveland Browns fans agreed in their usual loud way. The Dallas Cowboys immediately picked up Kosar and went on to win the super bowl that year. Bernie Kosar not only got a super bowl ring, Modell did not have one yet, but he was the quarterback for the last couple of plays of the game.
One of the Cowboy’s players noted afterwards, there were more “Bernie Kosar” signs in the stands than for either of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl. Yup, that’s Browns fans, loyal and very vocal.
Next, in 1996, the city of Cleveland approached Art Modell to renegotiate with the team to keep the Browns in Cleveland. Art Modell told the city he did not want to begin negotiations during the season and would talk with them after the season. Then, with two games left in the season, good ol’ Art announced he was moving the team to Baltimore. Cleveland never saw it coming. The next time Modell went to Cleveland (he didn’t even show up for the Browns last two games) was many years later, but Browns fans do not forget.
You see Art Modell did not just lie to the city of Cleveland and to the Browns fans. He lied to the NFL too. The excuse he gave the NFL (when he asked their permission to move the team) was that the city would not give him a new stadium. Art’s mistake was that he told the NFL this the day before voters in Cleveland voted on a new football stadium. Seemed like good logic at the time. Announce the move before the vote. With no football team, no reason
for voters to vote tax dollars to build a new football stadium, and the taxpayers of Cleveland would prove his point. I may be a Dolphins fan (thank you for your sympathy) but even I knew Modell made a mistake. The day after the announcement, the Cleveland taxpayers, football fans and non-football fans alike, voted by an overwhelming majority (more than 70%) to build a new football stadium in a city that now had no football team. The city sued Modell and won. Modell moved the team, but it would be a new franchise named the Ravens. The name, records, and history of the Cleveland Browns football would stay in Cleveland.
Even though Art Modell may be dead, it seems he has left his impression on the Ravens football team. This time the injured party is one of the Ravens cheerleaders, Courtney Lenz.
The team says that they would have liked to have taken all 60 cheerleaders, but the NFL limits them to 32 at the Super Bowl. The team used a selection criteria of seniority, performance, and personal conduct. The team went on to say that all the cheerleaders with more than three years of experience are going to the Super Bowl.
Courtney Lenz, the most experienced cheerleader on the squad, is the only cheerleader with more than three years experience not going. Courtney, a five-year veteran, announced earlier in the year she was retiring after the last game this year.
Courtney was also disciplined twice this year. This of course would be a hit on her “performance and personal conduct” portion of the selection criteria. What was she disciplined for?
Drug related issues? No.
Driving while under the influence? No.
Domestic violence? No.
Carrying a gun onto a plane? No.
Did she kill a member of the organization while driving drunk or on drugs? No.
Was she arrested for assault and battery? No.
A public scandal involving prostitution? No.
Courtney did not do any of these things. Though all of these actions have become so common, every year, among NFL players that they are barely noticed in the press. No, Courtney was benched for two games because she gained 1.6 pounds. That is one-point-six-pounds.
Even old football players who just do not have it anymore are given a couple snaps in the last game before their retirement. Not Courtney.
It has been reported that Courtney’s announced retirement did not go over very well with the team. But, whatever the reasons … Art Modell would be proud of his Ravens.
The fans started a facebook site and a petition to try to get Courtney re-instated. ( facebook and the petition ). As of 11:30 am New York time on Saturday, the petition has 29,288 signatures (mine is number 22,482), the facebook site had 7,572 likes.
I am not as big a fan of cheerleaders as I was 25 years ago. But, I am not politically correct when it comes to the attributes I find attractive in women either (for the record: natural physical attractiveness, intelligence, and weighs less than I do).
Cheerleaders have the reputation of being cute and dumb. An undeserved reputation I might add. The professional cheerleaders I have know were attractive, smart, and well educated; all having college degrees some even a master’s or doctor’s degree. Courtney has a bachelor’s degree and is leaving the Ravens for a job as a sales and marketing coordinator.
This isn’t just about a cute kid (hey, as old as I am most of your could be my kids). It is about honoring someone who has given loyal service to the team. Something Art Modell’s teams find to be a foreign concept.
So, from Bernie Kosar to Courtney Lenz, the “no-last-game-slap-in-the-face” is alive and well in Baltimore, thanks to our good friend … Art Modell.
“GO 49ERS !!!”
*** Credits ***
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