NFL works of Art

Baltimore-centric note: I happened to catch a few minutes of the Scott and Anita chat-fest from 105.7 the Fan via MASN today. A caller made an interesting point in light of how Rod Woodson’s championing Art Modell’s Hall of Fame candidacy was roundly booed at the ceremony in Canton Saturday.

The caller noted how Steelers iconic owner Art Rooney was voted into the Hall in 1964, when his team’s history was mostly one of failure. Scott Garceau agreed with the caller, though the host didn’t elaborate on how Rooney obviously was voted into the Hall — and rightly so — for playing a key role from the NFL’s earliest days. It could be noted, however, that at the point Rooney was elected, his teams had posted seven winning seasons out of 31 and been in one playoff game. On the other hand, Modell’s Cleveland teams made 15 playoff appearances in 35 years, including one NFL championship, and his Ravens won a Super Bowl.

Yes, the Steelers went on to become an NFL powerhouse, but that didn’t happen until after Rooney had made the Hall. The point is to compare the relative merits of two owners at the point of election. One was beloved and a rock upon which the league was built, but also the owner of a franchise known for its futility on the field. The other helped launch the league into the modern television age that made everyone richer and pro football even more popular while also fielding teams that had long runs of success. Of course, Modell’s resume comes with the stain of his move from Cleveland to Baltimore. The booing in Canton tells you that stain has yet to fade.

Then again, Al Davis, an original AFL mover and shaker — and quite literally a mover — made it into the Hall in the ’90s.

All of which might have bogged down the talk show a bit.


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