Cleveland Browns relocation controversy

The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans,[1][2] was the decision by then-Browns owner Art Modell to move the National Football League (NFL)'s Cleveland Browns from its long-time home of Cleveland to Baltimore during the 1995 NFL season. Subsequent legal actions by the city of Cleveland and Browns season ticket holders led the NFL to broker a compromise that saw the Browns history, records, and intellectual property remain in Cleveland. In return, Modell was permitted to move his football organization to Baltimore and establish the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are officially regarded by the NFL as an expansion team that began play in 1996. The city of Cleveland agreed to demolish Cleveland Stadium and build a new stadium on the same site, and the NFL agreed to reactivate the Browns by the 1999 season by adding a team or moving one from another city. In 1998, the NFL decided to create a new team and sold it to a new owner for $530 million.[3] The new Browns recruited players through an expansion draft and resumed play in 1999.

This compromise, which was unprecedented in North American professional sports, has since been cited in franchise moves and agreements in other leagues, including ones in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League.

Cleveland Municipal Stadium last game played in the stadium December 17, 1995
Cleveland Stadium, where the Browns played until 1995.

Dissatisfaction with Cleveland Stadium

1980-modell-browns crop
Art Modell.

In 1975, knowing that Municipal Stadium was costing the city over $300,000 annually to operate, then-Browns owner Art Modell signed a 25-year lease in which he agreed to incur these expenses in exchange for: quasi-ownership of the stadium, a portion of his annual profits, and capital improvements to the stadium at his expense.[4] Modell's new company, Stadium Corporation, paid the city annual rents of $150,000 for the first five years and $200,000 afterwards.

Modell had originally promised never to move the Browns. He had publicly criticized the Baltimore Colts' move to Indianapolis, and had testified in favor of the NFL in court cases where the league unsuccessfully tried to stop Al Davis from moving the Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles.

However, Modell refused to share the suite revenue with the Cleveland Indians, who also played at Cleveland Stadium, even though much of the revenues were generated during baseball games.

In 1990, the Indians convinced local governments and voters to build a new ballpark and give the suite revenue to the baseball corporation.[5][6] Modell, mistakenly believing that his revenues were not endangered, decided not to participate in the Gateway Project that built Jacobs Field for the Indians and Gund Arena for the Cleveland Cavaliers.[7] Modell's assumptions proved incorrect, and Stadium Corporation's suite revenues declined sharply when the Indians moved to Jacobs Field in 1994.[6] Soaring player salaries and deficits put additional financial pressure on the Browns' owner. Modell claimed to have lost $21 million between 1993 and 1994.[8]

Announcing the move

After Modell realized how much revenue he lost from the Indians moving out of Cleveland Stadium, he requested an issue be placed on the ballot to provide $175 million in tax dollars to refurbish the outmoded and declining Cleveland Stadium.[9]

On the field, the Browns, coached by Bill Belichick, were coming off a playoff season in which the team finished 11–5 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs entering the 1995 season. Sports Illustrated even predicted the Browns would represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXX at the end of the season; however, the team disappointed many fans by losing three straight games after starting the season 3–1.[10][11]

On November 6, 1995, with the team at 4–5,[11] Modell announced in a press conference at Camden Yards that he had signed a deal to move the Browns to Baltimore in 1996 – a move which would return the NFL to that city since the Colts moved to Indianapolis after the 1983 season.[6][12] Modell said he felt the city of Cleveland did not have the funding nor political will to build a first-class stadium.[13] The very next day, on November 7, Cleveland voters overwhelmingly approved the aforementioned tax issue to remodel Cleveland Stadium.[14]

Initial reaction

The City of Cleveland sued Modell, the Browns, Stadium Corp, the Maryland Stadium Authority, and the authority's director, John A. Moag Jr., in City of Cleveland v. Cleveland Browns, et al., Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-95-297833, for breaching the Browns' lease, which required the team to play its home games at Cleveland Stadium for several years beyond 1995, filing an injunction to keep the Browns in the city until at least 1998. Several other lawsuits were filed by fans and ticket holders.[14][15] The United States Congress even held hearings on the matter.[16][17]

Actor/comedian Drew Carey returned to his hometown of Cleveland on November 26, 1995, to host "Fan Jam" in protest of the proposed move. A protest was held in Pittsburgh during the Browns' game there against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but ABC, the network broadcasting the game (and also the home of Carey's new sitcom that had just premiered), declined to cover or mention the protest. That game was one of the few instances that Steelers fans and Browns fans were supportive of each other, as fans in Pittsburgh felt that Modell was robbing their team of their long-standing rivalry with the Browns.[14] Browns fans reacted with anger to the news,[15] wearing hats and T-shirts that read "Muck Fodell".[18]

On the field, the Browns stumbled to finish 5–11 after the announcement, ahead of only the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, to whom they lost twice, in the AFC Central, becoming the first team in the NFL's modern era to lose twice to a first-year expansion team.[11] Virtually all of the team's sponsors pulled their support,[14] leaving Cleveland Stadium devoid of advertising during the team's final weeks. The final game the team played at Cleveland Municipal Stadium was a 26–10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the first and only victory since the announcement of the move.[19] The game itself was blacked out on television locally, but NBC did broadcast extensive pregame coverage from Cleveland.

Settlement

After extensive talks between the NFL, the Browns, and officials of the two cities, Cleveland accepted a legal settlement that would keep the Browns legacy in Cleveland. On February 9, 1996, the NFL announced that the Browns franchise would be 'deactivated' for three years, and that a new stadium would be built for a new Browns team, as either an expansion team or a team moved from another city, that would begin play in 1999. Modell would in turn then be granted a new franchise (the 31st NFL franchise), for Baltimore. Because he was permitted to retain the current contracts of players and other football personnel, Modell is typically reckoned to have moved the football organization that operated in Cleveland from 1946 to 1995, but not the franchise itself. The settlement stipulated that the reactivated team for Cleveland would retain the Browns' name, colors, history, records, awards, and archives.[19][20]

An additional stipulation was that in any future realignment plan, the Browns would be placed in a division with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, because of longstanding rivalries with those two teams.[21] Upon their reactivation in 1999, the Browns were placed back in the AFC Central with the Steelers and Bengals, as well as the Ravens, Titans, and Jaguars. This arrangement put teams from Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the same division for the first time in NFL history. When the NFL realigned into divisions of four teams for the 2002 season, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Baltimore remained together in the new AFC North. Tennessee, Jacksonville, Indianapolis (from the AFC East), and the new Houston Texans were placed in the new AFC South.

The only other active NFL team to suspend operations without merging with another was Cleveland's previous NFL team, the Rams, during the 1943 season at the height of World War II.[22]

Aftermath and legacy

The return of the NFL to Baltimore compelled the departure of the professional football team already in Baltimore at the time, the Grey Cup champion Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Although they had drawn respectable fan support during their two seasons in Baltimore, Stallions owner Jim Speros knew his team could not compete with an NFL team and opted to establish a new franchise in Montreal.[23] They subsequently adopted the name and assumed the history of the team that previously played in the city, the Alouettes, who had ceased operations in 1987. Much of the Stallions' roster and most of the Stallions' other football personnel made the move to Montreal, although unlike Modell, Speros was not formally given the sort of successor rights to existing contracts that would have allowed him to transplant his football organization to Montreal in the same manner was done from Cleveland to Baltimore - this would have been problematic due to the CFL's requirement that the re-activated Alouettes adhere to roster limits on American players (then called "imports") that the defunct U.S. CFL teams had not been bound to. The ability of Speros to retain the core of his championship roster to the point that the transaction superficially appeared to be a "move" was the result of a gentlemen's agreement between Speros and the other CFL teams. CFL commissioner Larry Smith, an Alouettes alumnus who was keen to ensure the revived Montreal franchise was an immediate contender, had pressured the other CFL teams to agree not to aggressively pursue what were technically free agents.

Focus groups, a telephone survey, and a fan contest were all held to help select a new name for Modell's team. Starting with a list of over 100 possible names, the team's management reduced it to 17. From there, focus groups of a total of 200 Baltimore area residents reduced the list of names to six, and then a phone survey of 1000 people trimmed it down to three, Marauders, Americans, and Ravens. Finally, a fan contest drawing 33,288 voters picked "Ravens", a name that alludes to the famous poem, "The Raven", by Edgar Allan Poe, who spent the latter part of his life in Baltimore, and is also buried there.[24] The team also adopted purple and black as their team colors, a stark contrast to the brown and orange colors of the Browns.[25] The former Colts Marching Band, which remained in Baltimore after the Colts moved to Indianapolis, was subsequently renamed the Baltimore's Marching Ravens.[26] Along with the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins, the Ravens are one of only four NFL teams with an official marching band.

Modell's move to Baltimore came amid an unprecedented flurry of similar threats — and actual moves —[27][28] that fueled 12 new stadiums throughout the NFL. The Seahawks, Buccaneers, Bengals, Lions, Cardinals, and Bears used the threat of moving to coerce their respective cities to build new stadiums with public funds.[27][28] Modell's team was one of four that actually moved between 1995 and 1997: Los Angeles lost both of its teams for the 1995 season, as the Raiders moved back to Oakland and the Rams moved east to St. Louis; and the Houston Oilers move to Tennessee in 1997, where they become the Tennessee Titans two years later.

After several NFL teams threatened to move to Cleveland to become the reactivated Browns (most notably the Tampa Bay Buccaneers[29]), the NFL decided in 1998 to make the reactivated Browns an expansion team, which while it temporarily gave the league an odd number of teams (causing at least one team to be off in each of the 17 weeks of the NFL season from 1999–2001), it also eliminated any possibility of an existing franchise giving up its own identity for the Browns and thus prevented more lawsuits. In an ironic twist, Al Lerner—who helped Modell move to Baltimore—was granted ownership of the reactivated Browns;[30] his son Randy took over ownership after Al's death in 2002 before selling the team to Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam in 2012. From its beginning, the odd number of teams and the ensuing awkward scheduling was considered a temporary arrangement pending the addition of a 32nd NFL franchise – although Los Angeles was heavily favored, it was ultimately the Houston Texans who were created as the 32nd team to replace the Oilers in Houston, Texas for the 2002 NFL season to give the league once again an even number of teams. Following this decision, Los Angeles became the favored destination for owners threatening to move their teams until the St. Louis Rams finally returned to Los Angeles for the 2016 season,[31] followed by the San Diego Chargers (who had previously called L.A. home in the early days of the American Football League) one year later.[32]

The reactivated Browns have had only two winning seasons since returning to the NFL in 1999: a 9–7 finish in 2002 which also saw the team clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs, and a 10–6 finish in 2007 while barely missing the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been more successful, reaching the playoffs eight times since 2000 and winning Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XLVII, often to the dismay of Browns fans.[19][33] Longtime placekicker Matt Stover was the last remaining Ravens player that played for the Modell-owned Browns – he departed the Ravens following the 2008 season when the team chose not to re-sign him, finishing his career with the Indianapolis Colts.[34] General manager and former Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome (who was in a front-office role under Modell in Cleveland) remained with the Ravens until his retirement in 2018.

The move would also affect in Pittsburgh. Steelers owner Dan Rooney was one of two owners to oppose Modell's move to Baltimore because of a mutual respect for the team and the fans. Because of the move, the Browns–Steelers rivalry, arguably one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, has somewhat cooled in Pittsburgh due to the new Browns' lack of success. The Steelers–Ravens rivalry is considered the spiritual successor by fans in Pittsburgh and is one of the most heated current rivalries in the NFL.[35] Since returning to the NFL, the Browns and Steelers rivalry has been largely one-sided in favor of Pittsburgh; although the rivalry is not as intense in Pittsburgh, Browns fans still consider it their top rivalry despite the Browns' recent struggles against the Steelers.

Because of continual financial hardships, the NFL directed Modell to initiate the sale of his franchise. On March 27, 2000, NFL owners approved the sale of 49 percent of the Ravens to Steve Bisciotti.[36] In the deal, Bisciotti had an option to purchase the remaining 51 percent for $325 million in 2004 from Art Modell. On April 8, 2004, the NFL approved Steve Bisciotti's purchase of the majority stake in the club.[37]

Although Modell later retired and had relinquished control of the Ravens, he is still despised in Cleveland, not only for moving the Browns, but also for his firing of legendary head coach Paul Brown in 1963. Some considered the Browns' move and subsequent lawsuits costing Modell a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is in Canton, Ohio, 60 miles south of Cleveland and is both part of the Cleveland television market and part of the Browns' territorial rights.[38][39] Modell died in 2012, having never returned to Cleveland.[8] The Browns were the only home team that did not acknowledge, much less commemorate, Modell's death the following Sunday. The team opted not to do so at the request of David Modell, who feared that the announcement would be met with anger by Browns fans still upset about the move.[40]

Effect on teams in other sports leagues

Major League Baseball

  • The Minnesota Twins, when they signed their deal with Hennepin County, Minnesota for Target Field in 2006, agreed to a provision that was signed into law that allows the state of Minnesota the right of first refusal to buy the team if it is ever sold. Also, it requires that the name, colors, World Series trophies, and history of the team remain in Minnesota if the Twins are ever moved out of state. The deal is similar to what Modell agreed to with the city of Cleveland during the move.

Major League Soccer

  • In December 2005, the San Jose Earthquakes moved to Houston to become the Houston Dynamo. At the time, it was announced by the league that while players and staff would move with the team, the team name, colors, logo, and records (including two championship trophies) would stay in San Jose for when a new expansion team arrives.[41][42] In 2008, the Earthquakes returned under the ownership of Lew Wolff.
  • The Browns move in 1996 had a direct effect on a proposed move of Columbus Crew SC to Austin, Texas; the Modell Law, which was implemented in 1996, prohibits sports teams that benefited from public facilities or financial assistance from movine to another city without a six-month notice and an attempt to sell the team to a local ownership group. A lawsuit was filed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the city of Columbus. Rather ironically, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy and Dee Haslam, alongside with other investors, offered to buy the Columbus Crew in order to keep them in Columbus.[43] The proposed sale would sell the operational rights of the Crew to the new buyers, while previous Crew owner Anthony Precourt would keep his equity stake in MLS, and would have ownership of a new franchise in Austin.[44] The sale of the Crew to Haslam's ownership group was announced as agreed to on December 28, 2018, and was completed in January 2019. As part of the deal, the lawsuit was dismissed that day; the Modell Law remains untested as a result.[45]

National Hockey League

  • After the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995 to become the Colorado Avalanche, the franchise's retired numbers, name, logos, and historical stats remained in Quebec City and are expected to be used by any future Quebec City NHL franchise that may be established or move there. Upon arrival at Denver, the Nordiques' retired numbers were placed back into circulation.
  • On the other hand, in a more recent professional sports franchise relocation scenario, a team retook the name of the city's previous team that bore that name (as the relocated Baltimore Stallions did when the Ravens forced their move to Montreal). The Winnipeg Jets announced in 1996 that they would be leaving Manitoba for Phoenix, Arizona and become the Phoenix Coyotes. After the Coyotes went bankrupt and were taken over by the league in 2009, Winnipeg-based True North Sports & Entertainment offered to buy the team and return it to Canada, where it presumably would have re-assumed the Jets' name and history in Winnipeg. The NHL turned down that proposal because they still thought an owner willing to operate the franchise in Arizona could be found and because the municipal government had agreed to subsidize the Coyotes' financial losses, while also confirming that their preference would be to return the team to Manitoba if that effort proved unsuccessful. However, when the Atlanta Thrashers came up for sale a year later the league decided that, compared to Phoenix, they had no realistic prospect of finding another owner willing to operate a franchise in Atlanta, so they arranged for True North to purchase that franchise instead and move them north for the 2011–12 NHL season. Since the NHL was still in control of the Coyotes after their bankruptcy, they had the prerogative to decide if the new Winnipeg team could assume both the identity and the history. The league elected to let True North and the new Jets use the identity, but not the history, which remained in Arizona with the Coyotes. Among other things, the "new" Jets organization effectively recognized the league decision when they immediately re-issued the team's #9 jersey to forward Evander Kane (who had worn the same number in Atlanta), notwithstanding that number's retirement by the former Jets/Coyotes organization in recognition of superstar Bobby Hull's tenure with the original Jets. Forward Bryan Little switched to #18 from his original #10 in respect to Dale Hawerchuk, often considered the greatest original Jet. In July 15, 2016, the Jets announced the creation of the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame, to honour the impact and accomplishments of the team's hockey legends and celebrate the rich history of professional hockey in the city, with four players currently inducted, each from the old era of Jets play, such as Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg.

National Basketball Association

  • The Seattle SuperSonics relocation to Oklahoma City in 2008 included an agreement that the SuperSonics' name, logo, colors, and history would all be left in Seattle. This also includes banners and trophies, which would be displayed in a museum until a new franchise is brought to Seattle to be hung from the rafters of its arena.[46] The original franchise, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, continue to keep the SuperSonics tie-ins, including records, championships, and retired numbers, until a new SuperSonics franchise is brought to Seattle. Both the Thunder and a potential new SuperSonics franchise would "share" the original SuperSonics history.
  • Similar to the Winnipeg Jets scenario in the NHL, the NBA first entered Charlotte in 1988 in the form of the Charlotte Hornets. That team remained in Charlotte until moving to New Orleans after the 2001–02 season, retaining the Hornets name. The league returned to Charlotte for the 2004–05 season with a new team, the Charlotte Bobcats. After the New Orleans franchise changed its name to the Pelicans after the 2012–13 season, the Bobcats announced that they would reclaim the "Hornets" name effective with the 2014–15 season. When the name change from Bobcats to Hornets became official in May 2014, it was also announced that the Hornets, Pelicans, and the NBA had reached an agreement that all history and records of the original Charlotte Hornets would be transferred to the revived Hornets. As a result, the Hornets are now considered to have been established in 1988, suspended operations in 2002, and resumed in 2004 (as the Bobcats, then again changing their name back to the Hornets in 2014), while the Pelicans are now considered a 2002 expansion team.[47]

See also

References

  1. ^ Dyer, Bob (2007). The Top 20 Moments in Cleveland Sports History: Tremendous Tales of Heroes and Heartbreaks. Gray & Company. pp. 277–291. ISBN 9781598510300. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "LeBron James makes his pick: He's going to Miami". NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Associated Press. July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  3. ^ Sandomir, Richard (September 9, 1998). "Lerner Wins Browns for $530 Million". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  4. ^ Henkel, Frank (2005). Cleveland Browns History. Arcadia. p. 102.
  5. ^ Munson, Lester (December 4, 1995). "A Busted Play". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Henkel 2005, p. 102
  7. ^ Naymik, Mark (September 13, 2012). "Art Modell was offered a stadium for the Cleveland Browns and passed". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  8. ^ a b McFadden, Robert D. (September 6, 2012). "Art Modell, Owner of Browns, Then Ravens, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012.
  9. ^ Smith, Timothy (November 4, 1995). "Baltimore Browns May Be a Done Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Zimmerman, Paul (September 4, 1995). "Postseason Predictions". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c "1995 Cleveland Browns". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  12. ^ Morgan, Jon (November 6, 1996). "Unforgettable is what it's been". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Morgan, Jon (December 17, 1995). "Inside the Browns Deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d Sandomir, Richard (November 12, 1995). "A City Fights To Save The Browns". The New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Rushin, Steve (December 4, 1995). "The Heart of a City: Cleveland won round 1 in what will be an agonizing battle to hold on to its beloved Browns". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "Franchise Relocation Curb Sought on Hill". Washington Post. 1995-11-30. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  17. ^ Cleveland Browns Move to Baltimore Debate. C-SPAN. December 1, 1995. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  18. ^ "Muck Fodell". September 4, 1995. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  19. ^ a b c Henkel 2005, p. 103
  20. ^ "Agreement between the NFL, Cleveland". NFL Enterprises, LLC. February 8, 1996. Archived from the original on November 12, 1996. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  21. ^ Stellino, Vito (October 7, 1999). "NFL to try realign play". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  22. ^ "The Cleveland Rams". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  23. ^ Klingaman, Mike (November 26, 2000). "Once, the Stallions rode high". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  24. ^ "Baltimore Ravens History". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  25. ^ "Naming Baltimore's Team: Ravens". Baltimore Ravens. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  26. ^ "Band History". Baltimore Ravens. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  27. ^ a b King, Peter (November 13, 1995). "Down...And Out: Citing his crushing debts, Art Modell is taking his Browns to Baltimore". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  28. ^ a b Crothers, Tim (June 19, 1995). "The Shakedown: Greedy owners are threatening to move their teams if demands for new stadiums, better lease deals, etc., aren't met". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  29. ^ Williams, Charean (December 7, 1995). "Tampa Still Hopeful Bucs Will Stay Put". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  30. ^ Sandomir, Richard (September 9, 1998). "PRO FOOTBALL; Lerner Wins Browns for $530 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "Rams to Return to Los Angeles". St. Louis Rams. January 12, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  32. ^ "Chargers to Relocate to Los Angeles". San Diego Chargers. January 12, 2017. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  33. ^ NFL Network (May 31, 2010). "Top 10 snakebit franchises". NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  34. ^ Grossi, Tony (February 5, 2010). "Indianapolis Colts kicker Matt Stover has many ties to Cleveland Browns". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  35. ^ "Top 10 New NFL Rivalries". Sports Illustrated. December 15, 2005. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "Bisciotti approved as co-owner of Ravens". Associated Press. 2000-03-27. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  37. ^ "Bisciotti takes control of Ravens". NFL Enterprises, LLC. Associated Press. April 8, 2004. Archived from the original on June 16, 2004. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  38. ^ Livingston, Bill (December 12, 2010). "Upon further review, Art Modell's case for Canton gets weaker every year". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  39. ^ Clayton, John (September 6, 2012). "Modell was mostly a model owner". ESPN. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  40. ^ https://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2012/09/cleveland_browns_cancel_their.html
  41. ^ Halpin, Jason (December 15, 2005). "Earthquakes set to move to Houston". MLS Digital. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  42. ^ "San Jose's MLS team moving to Houston". USA Today. Associated Press. December 15, 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  43. ^ "Statement from Dee and Jimmy Haslam on interest in Columbus Crew". ClevelandBrowns.com (Press release). NFL Enterprises, LLC. October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  44. ^ Wahl, Grant (12 October 2018). "Columbus Crew Set to Avoid Austin Move After New Local Buyers Emerge". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  45. ^ Carlisle, Jeff (December 28, 2018). "MLS: Haslam family has 'agreement in principle' to take over Columbus Crew SC". ESPN. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  46. ^ "THE PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL CLUB, LLC AND CITY OF SEATTLE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT" (PDF) (Press release). City of Seattle, Washington. July 2, 2008. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  47. ^ "Charlotte Hornets Name Returns to Carolinas". Hornets.com (Press release). NBA Media Ventures, LLC. May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.

Further reading

  • Henkel, Frank M. (2005). Cleveland Browns History. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-3428-2.

External links

1995 AFC Championship Game

The 1995 AFC Championship Game was the championship game for the American Football Conference for the 1995 season. The game was played on January 14, 1996 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who hosted the Indianapolis Colts for the chance to play the winner of the National Football Conference in Super Bowl XXX in Tempe, Arizona.

While it was considered a mismatch between an expected Super Bowl contender (Pittsburgh) and a Cinderella team (Indianapolis) in the week leading up to the game, it turned out to be very competitive, going down to the last play of the game when Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh threw a Hail Mary pass that was dropped in the end zone by the intended receiver, Aaron Bailey. The dropped pass gave the Steelers a 20–16 victory and sent them to Super Bowl XXX, the team's first Super Bowl appearance since Super Bowl XIV sixteen years earlier.

The game would mark a turning point for both franchises. For Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, it would be the first of only two times the Steelers would advance to the Super Bowl during his 15-year tenure at home, as the team would host the AFC Championship Game five times between 1994 and 2004 but would lose nearly all of them, with the 1995 game being the one exception. For the Colts, it marked an unexpected period of success in the mid-1990s for a franchise that otherwise struggled between its 1984 move to Indianapolis (as well as the team's last few years in Baltimore before that) and the team drafting Peyton Manning with the number one overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.

The game has been ranked among the best Conference Championship games in the history of the National Football League by several publications, including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, AOL, and several local publications throughout the United States. NFL Films would go on to feature the game in both its ongoing NFL Films Game of the Week and NFL's Greatest Games series.

1999 Cleveland Browns season

The 1999 Cleveland Browns season was the Browns 51st season overall and 47th in the NFL. It marked the return of professional football to the city of Cleveland, Ohio for the first time since the 1995 season, when the franchise was temporarily deactivated following the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, which ultimately established the Baltimore Ravens. Officially, the Browns are considered a continuation of the previous franchise, as the history and colors of the team remained in Cleveland. The franchise was still alive as a legal entity between 1996–1998 and its assets kept in a trust managed by the NFL until Al Lerner became the owner in 1998. The Browns, however, in 1999 were treated as a new franchise by having an expansion draft and receiving the number one overall draft pick.

2002 NFL season

The 2002 NFL season was the 83rd regular season of the National Football League.

The league went back to an even number of teams, expanding to 32 teams with the addition of the Houston Texans. The clubs were then realigned into eight divisions, four teams in each. Also, the Chicago Bears played their home games in 2002 in Champaign, Illinois at Memorial Stadium because of the reconstruction of Soldier Field.

The NFL title was eventually won by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they defeated the Oakland Raiders 48–21 in Super Bowl XXXVII, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California on January 26, 2003.

AFC North

The American Football Conference – Northern Division or AFC North is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The division was adopted after the restructuring of the 2002 NFL season, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams.

Baltimore Browns

No sports team has ever existed bearing the name Baltimore Browns. However, two sports franchises were named the Browns prior to their respective owners' assuming new team names in Baltimore:

In baseball, the Baltimore Orioles moved from St. Louis, where they were known as the St. Louis Browns.

The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy arose when the owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns was given a new franchise when he relocated that team's personnel to Baltimore. That team now plays as the Baltimore Ravens.

Browns–Ravens rivalry

The Browns–Ravens rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. The rivalry began in 1999, with the resumption of the expansion Browns' franchise, which was created as a result of the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy. The rivalry between the Browns and Ravens was more directed at former Browns owner Art Modell than the team itself, and has, by most Ravens fans, been simply considered a divisional game.

Additionally, this matchup is more bitter for Cleveland than other rivalries due to the fact that many of the draft picks from 1996 to 1998 were on the roster for the Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV in 2000. Had the Browns stayed in Cleveland, these teams (drafted by general manager and former Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome) might have given the Browns the title after a 36-year drought. This bitterness was compounded when the Ravens won their second Super Bowl in 2012.The two AFC North rivals have played twice annually since 1999 when they represented the bygone AFC Central Division. The rivalry has been relatively one-sided; Baltimore holds an advantage of 30–10 against Cleveland. The two teams have never met in the playoffs.

Expansion team

An expansion team is a new team in a sports league, usually from a city that has not hosted a team in that league before, formed with the intention of satisfying the demand for a local team from a population in a new area. Sporting leagues also hope that the expansion of their competition will grow the popularity of the sport generally. The term is most commonly used in reference to the North American major professional sports leagues but is applied to sports leagues in other countries with a closed franchise system of league membership. The term comes from the expansion of the sport into new areas. That sometimes results in the payment of an expansion fee to the league by the new team and an expansion draft to populate the new roster.

History of the Baltimore Colts

The Indianapolis Colts professional American football franchise was originally based in Baltimore, Maryland, as the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1984. The team was named for Baltimore's history of horse breeding and racing. It was the second incarnation of the Baltimore Colts, the first having played for three years in the All-America Football Conference and one in the National Football League (NFL). The 1953–83 Baltimore Colts team played its home games at Memorial Stadium.

List of Cleveland Browns head coaches

The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football franchise based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are a member of the North Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team began playing in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), and joined the NFL as part of the AAFC–NFL merger in 1950. The team played their home games at Cleveland Stadium from 1946 to 1995 before moving to FirstEnergy Stadium, where they have played since 1999. The Browns did not play from 1996 to 1998 when the team's owner, Art Modell, moved the team to Baltimore, Maryland and formed the Baltimore Ravens. The team was re-activated under new ownership in Cleveland in 1999. The team is currently owned by Jimmy Haslam III, and Joe Banner is their Chief Executive Officer. Tom Heckert was their general manager until the end of the 2012 season, when he was fired along with the team's incumbent head coach Pat Shurmur.There have been 17 non-interim head coaches for the Browns franchise. Their first head coach was Paul Brown, who coached for 17 complete seasons. Brown is also the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular season games coached (214), the most regular season game wins (158), the most playoffs games coached (14), and the most playoff game wins (9). Brown is the only Browns head coach to win an AAFC championship with four, the NFL championship with three, the Sporting News NFL Coach of the Year three times, the United Press International (UPI) NFL Coach of the Year once, and to have been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach. Blanton Collier, Dick Modzelewski, Sam Rutigliano, Bud Carson, Jim Shofner, Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, and Rob Chudzinski have spent their entire NFL head coaching careers with the Browns. Eric Mangini had been the head coach of the Browns since the firing of Romeo Crennel, but was himself fired on January 3, 2011. Shurmur replaced Mangini as head coach, but was fired after posting a 9–23 record over two seasons in charge. On January 11, 2013, the Cleveland Browns officially named Rob Chudzinski as the replacement for Pat Shurmur. Chudzinski compiled a 4–12 record during the 2013 season, but he was fired on December 29. On January 23, 2014, the Browns hired Mike Pettine as their head coach. Pettine was fired on January 3, 2016, hours after the Browns lost their 2015 season finale. On January 13, 2016, Hue Jackson was named the Browns' new head coach. He was then fired on October 29, 2018 after only 3 wins in 40 games. He was replaced by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on an interim basis. On January 9, 2019, Freddie Kitchens was promoted from interim offensive coordinator to head coach.

List of NFL franchise post-season droughts

This is a list of current National Football League (NFL) franchise post-season and Super Bowl droughts (multiple consecutive seasons of not winning). Listed here are both appearance droughts and winning droughts in almost every level of the NFL playoff system.

As of the 2018 NFL season, every active NFL team has qualified for, and won a game in, the playoffs at least once. Teams that have never made it beyond each successive milestone are listed under the year in which they began NFL play.

Of the 12 teams that have never won the Super Bowl, four (4) are expansion franchises younger than the Super Bowl itself (Bengals, Panthers, Jaguars, and the Texans). The Falcons began playing during the season in which the Super Bowl was first played. The seven (7) other clubs (Cardinals, Lions, Oilers/Titans, Chargers, Browns, Bills, and Vikings) all won an NFL or AFL championship prior to the AFL–NFL merger; in the case of the Vikings, however, the Super Bowl existed at the time they won their league title, leaving them and the Falcons as the only two teams to have existed for as long as or longer than the Super Bowl that have never secured the highest championship available to them. The longest drought since a championship of any kind is that of the Cardinals, at 71 seasons.

Note that for continuity purposes, the Cleveland Browns are officially considered to have suspended operations for the 1996, 1997 and 1998 seasons, Since returning 19 years ago, they have only made the playoffs once, while the Baltimore Ravens are considered to be a separate team that began play in 1996. The Ravens, as a result of the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, absorbed the Browns' personnel upon their suspension, but not their history.

List of shared franchise names in North American professional sports

Many North American professional sports franchises have used the same team name. The list below are names that have been shared by two or more professional sports teams.

Major professional sports teams of the United States and Canada

This article is a list of teams that play in one of the six major sports leagues in the United States and Canada: the Canadian Football League (CFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL).

Future expansion teams whose inaugural seasons are confirmed are also included in this list.

Memphis Mad Dogs

The Memphis Mad Dogs were a Canadian football team that played the 1995 season in the Canadian Football League. The Mad Dogs were part of a failed attempt to expand the CFL into the United States. They played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The team's principal owner was Fred Smith, founder of FedEx.

Mike Frederick

Thomas Michael Frederick (born August 6, 1972) is a former American football defensive end. He played college football at Virginia. He was drafted in the 3rd round (94th overall) of the 1995 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.

National Football League rivalries

As with all sports leagues, there are a number of significant rivalries in the National Football League (NFL). Rivalries are occasionally created due to a particular event that causes bad blood between teams, players, coaches, or owners, but for the most part, they arise simply due to the frequency with which some teams play each other, and sometimes exist for geographic reasons.

Rivalries in the NFL are commonly recognized as such by fans and players alike. While many rivalries are well established, others are of more recent vintage, accepted as existing by the nature of the competition and history between the two teams. Other rivalries have fallen by the wayside due to league realignment and reduction in frequencies of meetings.

November 6

November 6 is the 310th day of the year (311th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 55 days remain until the end of the year.

Super Bowl XXXV

Super Bowl XXXV was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Ravens and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2000 season. The Ravens defeated the Giants by the score of 34–7, tied for the seventh largest Super Bowl margin of victory with Super Bowl XXXVII. The game was played on January 28, 2001 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The Ravens, who posted a 12–4 regular season record, became the third wild card team to win the Super Bowl and the second in four years. Also, the city of Baltimore had its first Super Bowl title since the Baltimore Colts' triumph thirty years prior and became the first city to win major professional football championships with four franchises, the others being the Colts, the 1985 Baltimore Stars of the United States Football League and the 1995 Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League. The Giants entered the game seeking to go 3–0 in Super Bowls after also finishing the regular season with a 12–4 record.

Baltimore allowed only 152 yards of offense by New York (the third-lowest total ever in a Super Bowl), recorded 4 sacks, and forced 5 turnovers. All 16 of the Giants' possessions ended with punts or interceptions, with the exception of the last one, which ended when time expired in the game. New York's lone touchdown, a 97-yard kickoff return, was quickly answered by Baltimore on an 84-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff. The Giants became the first team since the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII to not score an offensive touchdown and the fifth overall (joining the Bengals as well as the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX, the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII, and the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, and subsequently the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.) Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, who made 3 solo tackles, 2 assists, and blocked 4 passes, was named Super Bowl MVP.

The Decision (TV program)

The Decision was a television special in which National Basketball Association (NBA) player LeBron James announced that he would be signing with the Miami Heat instead of returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. It was broadcast live on ESPN on July 8, 2010. James was an unrestricted free agent after playing seven seasons in Cleveland, where he was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a six-time All-Star. He grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio, where he received national attention as a high school basketball star.

Youngstown Patricians

The Youngstown Patricians were a semi-professional football team based in Youngstown, Ohio. In the 1910s, the team briefly held the professional football championship and established itself as a fierce rival of more experienced clubs around the country, some of which later formed the core of the National Football League. The Patricians football team motto was "With Malice to None and a Square Deal to all."

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