Arthur B. Modell
Arthur (Art) B. Modell was born on June 23, 1925, in Brooklyn, New York. As a young man, he amassed a fortune working in television production in New York City. In 1961, he purchased the Cleveland Browns, a National Football League (NFL) team, for four million dollars. Modell actually only contributed 3.1 million dollars of the total purchase price, with co-investors providing the remaining 900,000 dollars.
Modell was not a traditional owner in the National Football League. He believed that the owner should play an active role in the everyday affairs of the team. He repeatedly disagreed with the head coach, Paul Brown, whom he fired at the end of the 1962 season. Modell, however, succeeded in creating a strong team. Under new coach Blanton Collier, the team won the NFL championship in 1964 and four division titles between 1965 and 1969. During the 1970s, Collier, Nick Skorich (1971-1974), Forrest Gregg (1975-1977), and Sam Rutigliano (1978-1984) all served as head coach of the team. While the Browns continued to win on the playing field, they failed to attain a league championship during this period and won only one division title (1980). Due to a poor start to the 1984-1985 season, Modell fired Rutigliano and replaced him with Marty Schottenheimer.
Under Schottenheimer's tenure, the Browns continued to prosper. With Bernie Kosar as quarterback, the Browns won a divisional title in 1986. The Browns participated in the playoffs in during every season from 1985 to 1989, but from 1990 to 1995, the organization made only one postseason appearance. Schottenheimer left the Browns in 1988, and subsequent coaches, including Bud Carson (1989-1990), Jim Shofner (1990), and Bill Belichick (1991-1995) all experienced losing records while leading the team.
At the end of the 1995 season, Modell decided to move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, Maryland. The city of Cleveland retained the rights to the Browns name, and Modell renamed his organization the Baltimore Ravens. The principal reason for the move centered upon Modell's belief that the city government and the team's fans were not supportive enough of the organization. Modell had long lobbied for a new stadium for the Browns, but city officials and residents had been unsupportive.
Modell continues to remain involved with the Baltimore Ravens, but in 2003, he sold his majority interest in the team. Modell now only retains one percent ownership.