February 6, 2013
Who still has the Super Bowl hangover?
Not the kind of hangover where you may have indulged in an adult beverage or two too many Sunday night and woke up badly Monday morning.
Rather the hangover of no more football from now until August?
There is a definite lull in the sports world now.
Get excited about the NBA All-Star game?
The NHL All-Star game?
The Daytona 500?
Not this guy.
I will feel hungover until we get to Spring Training with baseball and March Madness with basketball.
As for the Super Bowl, I wasn’t rooting for the Ravens in the end, even though I correctly predicted they would win the game outright.
I was rooting for a good, a close game, which we finally got. A 34-minute power outage gave the San Francisco 49ers a chance to regroup and rally from a 22-point deficit.
But the best part of Super Bowl weekend was the Saturday announcement of the 2013 NFL Hall of Fame class, and that former Browns owner Art Modell wasn’t part of it.
I may be past the “hating the Ravens because they are the old Browns” stage, but I will never get over Modell moving the team out of Cleveland.
I got a phone call from good buddy Chris Wheeler on Saturday night, around the time the Hall of Fame announcement was supposed to take place.
“Did he get in?” asked Wheel.
“Don’t know yet,” I responded. “But don’t be surprised if he does. The Ravens are in the Super Bowl, and they dedicated the season to him after he passed away back in the fall. There is a growing sentiment to get the SOB in,” I added.
“He doesn’t deserve it,” replied the longtime Browns fan. “Everybody remembers what he did to Cleveland and to Browns’ fans all over the world.”
I harkened back to my memories of that terrible year.
Working at WLIO-TV and when news outlets reported that rumors were running rampant that Modell may take the Browns out of Cleveland, I refused to believe them.
“They are just rumors,” I announced. “There is no way that the NFL would ever let him take the legendary franchise out of Cleveland. Browns backers are all over the world, not just in Ohio. It just can’t be true.”
But I was wrong.
I will never forget where I was when the actual announcement was made. I was in a hospital room in Fort Wayne, Ind. where my wife was being treated for a kidney stone.
Tears were streaming down my face as Modell announced the move to Baltimore. I was in a state of shock.
Modell had taken my favorite team away.
A team I had rooted for since I was a little boy.
A team I had lived and died with every win and every loss, every Sunday, every season, even as an adult.
Not having my favorite team to root for, was worse than, “the drive, and the fumble, and red right 88,” combined.
Sundays were never the same for three long years.
Yes, we have the Browns back, but they have never been the same.
And it’s because of Art Modell.
Then the ESPN Sportscenter theme music came blaring in on the radio.
“Wait a minute, Wheel,” I interrupted. “Sportscenter is coming on with breaking news. Larry Allen, Warren Sapp, Curly Culp, Cris Carter, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells and Dave Robinson. He didn’t get in. He didn’t get in,” I screamed.
“Yesssssss,” yelled Wheel. “Justice is served. Justice is served.”
Amen, Wheel, Amen.
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