Hall of Famer Lou Groza described the Art Modell-engineered exodus of the Browns from Cleveland as “like some man walking off with your wife.” Nearly two decades later, and two years after the exiting owner’s death, Groza’s analogy, and the bitterness, holds.
Calling Art Modell a “piece of s—,” a Cleveland Browns fan traveled to Pikesville, Maryland, disguised himself in a Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed jersey, and apparently used a catheter just to urinate on the businessman’s grave. Along with a creepy accomplice heard but not seen, the man posted the video of the indecent act on YouTube. The fan wears the jersey of Lyle Alzado–he left Cleveland in a trade so that makes him okay–as he purges himself of liquid and hopefully of anger.
“As far as pissing on your grave,” the burly, tattooed Browns fan explains to Art Modell (who presumably watches YouTube videos from the spirit world). “I had no choice. Anybody says, ‘It’s been about fifteen years. Art’s dead. Let it go.’ You know what? F— You. You let it go.”
Hell hath no fury like a lover scorned.
Despite promising never to move the Browns and passing a ballot measure to fund a new stadium, Modell moved the franchise he had owned since 1961 to Baltimore after the 1995 season. Modell, who had won an NFL championship in Cleveland in 1964 with a team largely assembled by the man he fired (Paul Brown), won a Super Bowl as owner of the Baltimore Ravens, which he sold in 2004. The Browns had been the most successful franchise in professional football in the postwar years prior to Modell’s ownership.
The NFL introduced an expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999. But the new Browns haven’t had the success in Cleveland as the old Browns have had in Baltimore. The last time the team won a playoff game Bill Belichick coached the Browns and Art Modell owned the franchise.