Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you writing this book?
Why not? It’s been nearly 24 years since Modell moved the Browns, 22 since the last full book on the topic was written — and that was by a Modell associate. Has the full story been told? I don’t think so.
What makes you qualified to write it?
I’m a lifelong Browns fan, already a family man in his mid-30s when Modell moved the team. I’m a lifelong journalist who has covered businesses from Fortune 500 down to family-owned. I’m a fourth-generation Greater Clevelander. I wrote a previous book about a carpetbagging owner from New York City who swept an NFL franchise out of Cleveland for financial reasons — it’s called The Cleveland Rams. I harbor no grudges, I swear.
Sounds like your interest in this topic may be deep-seated.
More than you may think. My dad was at the very first Browns game in 1946. He used to officiate Browns scrimmages during the Schottenheimer / Carson / Belichick era. He probably thinks more highly of Modell than I do.
Isn’t this all just ancient history?
Hardly. Every year Modell’s name comes up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and every year he gets shot down. Modell apologists — especially from That City in Maryland — skew history to favor their own and Modell’s accounts. Clevelanders still await their first Super Bowl while Baltimore already has won two — with Cleveland’s former team. This story is not over.
Are you just going to regurgitate past history?
Nope. Though Art is gone — his wife and son too — there are plenty of people who are still around who had a front-row seat for the action and still haven’t told their story. Most especially the fans.
So this book will just be a “hit job”?
I don’t think so. Art was a tragic figure — a poor businessman and questionable football man who nevertheless really wanted to be loved. He had redeeming qualities; he did many good things for Cleveland. He decided to turn traitor on Cleveland with one hope only: that he would preserve the team for his son. And even that didn’t turn out. I want to get to that pathos — to the psychological essence of Art, and why he felt he had to do what he did.
Well, good luck. It sounds like this will be a tall challenge.
Thanks, I think I’ll need it.