The passing of Art Modell has opened a flood of memories in Cleveland, as Browns fans reflect on the former owner and the franchise move in 1996. YouTube has become an invaluable vault for so many videos from bygone sports days, and that's certainly the case for the Browns. One video that's become popular over the years is NBC's broadcast from Municipal Stadium for the Browns final game against the Bengals.
The video is pretty incredible to watch 17 years later. It features a bespectacled and well-coiffed Bob Costas, decked out in a ridiculous turtleneck. Alongside him is Mike Ditka, undeniably a member of the NFL's old guard, who rails against "franchise free agency." Ditka hammers the greed of Modell and defends the Cleveland fans, delivering this quote:
"The fans in Baltimore are not better fans than the fans in Cleveland, believe me."
Perhaps the most amazing and ironic part of the video is the appearance of Jim Gray. The NBC sideline reporter shows up just after the three-minute mark. While he may not serve in the accomplice role that many felt he had with "The Decision," it's still amazing to see him appear and have a role on the final day of both the Browns and LeBron's time in Cleveland.
The video quality is not good, to say the least, but it's still an incredible look back (after the jump):
Part two of the video, which includes a great interview with Brian Sipe:
You can watch the NFL Films highlights package of that final game and the aftermath here.
For more on Modell's passing, visit Dawgs By Nature.