Ravens’ late Jewish owner misses Hall of Fame cut

Ravens’ late Jewish owner misses Hall of Fame cut

As Baltimore team plays in Super Bowl, Canton decides not to honor Art Modell, who died in September

Art Modell, the late owner of the Baltimore Ravens, embraces star linebacker Ray Lewis in 2001. (photo credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens via JTA)
Art Modell, the late owner of the Baltimore Ravens, embraces star linebacker Ray Lewis in 2001. (photo credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens via JTA)

A day before the team plays in American football’s biggest game, the Baltimore Ravens are already having to swallow a loss.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame decided Saturday not to induct the Ravens’ late owner Art Modell, who died on September 6. Modell, who was Jewish, was eliminated in the first round of voting.

Modell is remembered just a few miles north of the Canton, Ohio, Hall of Fame for moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996, robbing Northeast Ohio of its storied franchise. In Baltimore he is seen as a hero who restored football to the city.

The move was seen as the biggest obstacle for inducting Modell, who before the move was remembered for transforming the NFL’s relationship with TV broadcasters, helping turn the league into the multi-billion dollar juggernaut it is today.

Bill Parcels, Warren Sapp, Cris Carter, Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen, and a pair of senior selections, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson, all made the cut.

Along with Modell, Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams, Tim Brown, Kevin Greene, Will Shields and fellow former owner Edward DeBartolo Jr were all eliminated in voting.

DeBartolo, an Ohio native, was a longtime owner of the San Francisco 49ers, which will face off against the Ravens in the Super Bowl on Sunday night (Monday morning, Israel time).

Although Modell’s two sons are Catholic, children from the first marriage of his wife Patricia Breslin, David Modell said his father made sure to teach them the basic Jewish traditions of the religion he loved.

“My father wasn’t the type of man who wore his spirituality on his sleeve, but he was a quietly religious and very spiritual Jew,” David said. “We knew that he carried around a piece of paper with God’s name in his pocket every day of his life. Every year he would light memorial candles for his parents’ death. He always attended temple on High Holidays. And Hanukkah candles were so important to him that my brother in California and I skyped together this year to light candles and recite the prayers.”

The Associated Press and JTA contributed to this report.

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