Calling all HGL fans! This weekly column is your one stop shop to get in the know about everything going on around the league. From injury updates, to news off the field, your football knowledge will surely grow week after week. Don’t believe me? Put your knowledge to the test with friends and that certain someone. You’ll surely be able to hold your own and them some in the conversation.
1. Notable NFL Owner, Art Modell, Dies at 87
The Associated Press (Hyperlink) has reported that former NFL owner Art Modell died early Thursday of natural causes. He died with his family at the age of 87. Modell helped mold the foundation of the league over his 43 seasons as a majority owner of the Browns and Ravens franchise. Much to the dismay of Cleveland Browns fans, he decided to move his franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996. He did not take the Browns name with him, thus the creation of the Baltimore Ravens. In 1999 the NFL returned to Cleveland.
Members of the league turned to social media to express their condolensces. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tweeted: “Art Modell’s leadership was an important part of the NFL’s success during the league’s explosive growth during the 1960s and beyond … Art was a visionary who understood the critical role that mass viewing of NFL games on broadcast television could play in growing the NFL.” Former Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe (HYPERLINK) said, “Art talked with me every day when I played in Baltimore. He knew everything about what was going on in my life. He showed real concern. But, it wasn’t just me. He knew the practice squad players’ names. He treated them the same. He was out at practice when it was 100 degrees and when the December snows came. I loved playing for him.”
Modell has left an imprint on the league that won’t soon be forgotten. In his 43 seasons of ownership, 24 teams had winning records, 18 made the playoffs, and he won an NFL championship with both the Browns and the Ravens. He successfully negotiated the NFL’s first players’ CBA in 1968. He helped to establish NFL Films and became its first chairman. Modell even played an important role with ABC to launch “Monday Night Football” and hosted the first game in Cleveland. This is just a small list of Art Modell’s many accomplishments.
A testament to the man behind all the big moves is how he left Cleveland. Yes he may have have tarnished his reputation to some, but he left Cleveland the best way that he could. “I think that part of my legacy is I left the colors, the name and the records in Cleveland,” Modell said in an interview about his reputation in Cleveland. “The fans in Cleveland were loyal and supportive. They lived and died with me every Sunday for 35 years.” Every team of the NFL will have a moment of silence in Art Modell’s honor.
2. Game time decisions
Ahh, the best Sunday in the NFL season is fastly approaching. Dreams of playoffs and a Super Bowl are in tact. Friends will gather and bond over their favorite teams, while indulging in game day snacks. Its time to whip out your favorite jersey and chant, “This is our year! This is our year!” But before you get any farther, just how intact is your favorite team? Check out the list below to see who will be game time decisions, and who may be sidelined week 1.
3. Peyton Manning Jersey Ban
Not everyone in Colorado is extending a warm welcome to Peyton Manning . A school in the Greenly school district in Colorado sent home a 3rd grader for wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. The issue lies in Manning’s number 18. The “18″ is too close to the name of a local gang. The Dever Post
reported that the Greenley school district has a policy that bans clothing with “18″ on it. The rule has been in place for three years, after 18th Street Gang members were convicted of intimidation, burglary, organized crime and other violations. Along with the number 18, 13, 14 and their reverse, 31, 41 and 81 are also banned. The numbers 13 and 14 are associated with other gangs but are not used in their names. Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dressen who wears number 81 told reporters he is not bothered by the Greenley school district’s ban on the jersey number bans if it prevents trouble.
Do you think the school has a right to ban some jerseys?
4. NFL Players Stance on Gay Marriage Stirs Controversy
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo has had a lustrous NFL career boasting 10 seasons with two All-Pro appearances. He is known for his special-teams ability, but now he is gaining attention for his support of same-sex marriage. Not everyone agrees that Ayanbadejo should express his opinion. Particularly, one Baltimore County politician thinks the linebacker should stick to football, and stay out of politics. Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns Jr. sent a letter
owner Steve Bisciotti, asking for the team to silence Ayanbadejo’s support of the issue. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports (via the Big Lead
) obtained the letter.
“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo
would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player. Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other.
“Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.,” Burns wrote. “I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.
“I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”
No matter what side you are on in this issue, this letter comes off brash and is written in poor taste. From the looks of Ayanbadejo’s twitter
I don’t think the letter accomplished what Burns Jr. intended it to do.