The passing of Art Modell has incited the debate over the former Browns owner's Hall of Fame credentials. Modell's name has come up for the Hall over the past decade, making it into the top 15 in the 2002. Former Plain Dealer beat reported and current WKNR reporter Tony Grossi is often cited as the man who single-handedly kept him out of Canton that year. Grossi claims he simply made the argument he was asked to make, representing the local Cleveland market and the negative impact Modell had made in Northeast Ohio.
Ravens blog Baltimore Beatdown, as you would imagine, has quite the different reflection and reaction to the news of his passing. Bruce Raffei addressed the the Hall of Fame debate in a post there:
The hate from the city of Cleveland has been the sole reason this man was not honored by his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This continues to be one of the most heinous oversights in all of sports and the travesty that he was not inducted while alive can never be forgiven.
Obviously, Clevelanders would disagree. The unforgivable uprooting of the Browns was an act that overshadowed any other impact he had on the league, and his personal financial difficulties that forced the move mitigate his candidacy.