Friday, November 6, 2009

A football interlude

Way back in 1995, the ill-fated NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns was struggling (what else is new?). The controversial owner, Art Modell, was frequently criticized for his leadership. But, Cleveland is a football town, and the city discussed the possibility of spending a substantial amount of money to upgrade their stadium, all for the benefit of the Browns (and their fans).

Amid discussions of improving the stadium, however, Modell was secretly in talks with the state of Maryland about their desire for a football team (they were without a team since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in the 1980s). Just days short of the city's announcement that it would upgrade the stadium, on November 5, 1995, Art Modell announced that he was taking his team on the road — permanently. Reaction was quick and harsh, and critics said Modell purposely got ahead of the bill to improve the stadium so he had one more excuse why the Cleveland Browns needed to leave Cleveland. The city sued the Browns and its leadership. The agreement was to shut down the team entirely for a three-year period, suspending the creation of a Maryland football team until 1999, and requiring that the team's brand (name, colors, etc.) never make it out of Ohio.

The good news was that the NFL approved an expansion team to be named "Cleveland Browns." So, football stayed in Cleveland.

Back in Maryland, in preparation for their new team, to be housed in Baltimore, a local poll asked for help in determining their team name and mascot.

What does this have to do with Edgar A. Poe?

The city of Baltimore, in naming their relocated football team, chose to honor their greatest writer, their adopted son, by naming the team the Baltimore Ravens. Their mascot was named in his honor (originally Edgar, Allan, and Poe; now just Poe). In their second season, the team won their first (and only) SuperBowl. So far as I know, the Baltimore Ravens remain the only professional sports team named after a poem.


ratu lakhsmita indira said...

i love Edgar.

Anonymous said...

Really? Is this true? I may have to move the Ravens up in my rankings. Kit

Rob Velella said...

It's very true, Kit - and that's why the Ravens are my number two team! I'll keep my #1 a secret...