Archive for Monday, January 29, 2001

Modell’s win proves Cleveland’s cursed

Browns fans don’t share in joy of Ravens’ victory in Super Bowl XXXV

January 29, 2001

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It's a Cleveland thing.

Has to be.

How else to explain Art Modell slinking out of town with his team and then winning the Super Bowl?

Maybe the literal translation of Cuyahoga means "Those Who Live Here Will Suffer Unending Bad Luck in Professional Sports."

Maybe Akron and Cleveland are built on ancient Native American burial grounds.

Maybe everyone here should start to follow the ups and downs of ballet or something.

Tick down the list.

Local folks have been beaten by Michael Jordan and John Elway. "The Drive," "The Shot," "The Fumble" The This, The That and Everything Else that makes you want to throw up.

Now, they had to watch the team that should have been in Cleveland and the players who would have been in Cleveland win the Super Bowl for Baltimore.

Yeah, a lot would have had to happen for this exact team to have been playing in Cleveland in this season. As in, Art would have had to fire Bill Belichick at the end of the 1995 season, and Art was more committed to Belichick than America's teen-age males are to Britney Spears.

But there's no doubt that leaving Cleveland changed Art's fortunes forever.

He found a money guy to wipe out his considerable debt. He found a new breed of fans who barely remember the Colts. He found a new stadium to generate revenue for his team.

He also found a rabbit's foot that he never had in Cleveland.

Everything went the Ravens' way in the playoffs. From tipped passes that turned into touchdowns, to blocked field goals that turned into touchdowns, to a 4-yard slant that turned into a TD.

Then in the Super Bowl, their quarterback Trent Dilfer was lousy. He threw short of people, he threw out of bounds, he threw behind them. But on one key first-period play, he threw a perfect scoring pass to Brandon Stokley.

One play, one touchdown, one Super Bowl for Art.

Everything else was gravy.

Hey, even the calls went Art Modell's way.

Think there's a snowball's chance in Cuyahoga Falls that a holding penalty would have wiped out the Giants' first touchdown had Art's team still been wearing orange helmets?

Or that Jessie Armstead's interception return for a score a touchdown that would have tied the score would have been called back? Armstead still would be celebrating, had Art stayed here.

And New York's Kerry Collins would have completed passes, and Ray Lewis would have tripped and fallen before tipping all those passes.

While Browns fans wonder and bluster about the coaching search, the Ravens dance and celebrate into the night.

Baltimore talked the talk all week, then the Ravens walked the walk.

Ozzie Newsome, the man who built this championship team in Baltimore after playing for the Browns, said last week that he hoped Browns fans would share in his success.

Sorry, but that's like asking Al Gore to share in George Bush's presidency. It just won't happen. There's too much bitterness, too much anger. It should have dissipated by now, but it hasn't.

They were there to torment Browns fans.

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