While We’re Waiting… It’s all a process.

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While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“The Indians tried the contact route on offense in 2012 and weren’t happy with the results. Despite being the third-hardest team to strike out last summer, Cleveland finished a paltry 22nd in the majors in runs. Only the Mariners had a lower American League slugging percentage. And when you combine a pop-gun offense with probably the worst pitching staff in the AL (4.79 ERA, 4.39 xFIP), you’re not going anywhere. Call it a season up in smoke, 68 measly victories and a .420 winning percentage.

This time around, the Indians don’t care if their hitters swing and miss regularly. The Hack Attack is in. New additions Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher will all do their share of courtesy air conditioning during the hot months, but they’ll also clout some balls into the seats. Not satisfied with last year’s outcome, the 2013 Indians now focus on the Three True Outcomes.” [Pianowski/RotoArcade]

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“In general, the Cavaliers basically have three things to use as trade chips between now and February 21. First, they still have cap space to absorb contracts, as outlined above. Second, they have many first round picks coming over the next few years, and teams are likely to find them valuable. Third, they have the expiring contracts of Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi and Luke Walton. The expiring contracts are less valuable this season than maybe they have been in the past; there are a lot of teams with an abundance of cap space heading into the offseason, and not many free agents teams are genuinely excited to make a run at (although Dwight Howard is a pretty big caveat to that, at this point).” [Zavac/Fear the Sword]

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“What’s wrong with the NBPA is that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and countless other players who matter don’t care enough to get involved.

Until the NBPA is led by an executive director with the necessary passion and intellect to push a vision strong enough to capture the engagement of James, Durant, Melo, Griffin and a handful of other in-their-prime superstars, the NBPA will always remain a toothless, dysfunctional mom-and-pop operation at best or an exploited puppet regime of power agents at worst.

The previous wordy paragraph is the point of this column. I’m sorry it took me so long to get there. But Manti Te’o and Lennay Kekua botched the timing of this column, and I felt it was best to back into my main point.” [Whitlock/Fox Sports]

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ICYMI, Kanicki’s case against Art Modell for the HOF- “Yes, we’re doing this again and we’re doing it comprehensively. It’s a lunar eclipse at high tide plus Halley’s comet set of coalescing events: Modell’s HOF vote occurs in two Saturdays (Feb. 2), months after his death, and with the Ravens in Super Bowl week. The drumbeat to vote him in from all places uninformed and uninvested will be loud. We need a link reviewing Modell’s ‘credentials’ and we need it fast.

Here is the thesis: Art Modell was a corrupt and failed businessman without HOF credentials in the categories of football, business, or civic contribution. This is not personal. This is not vendetta. This is not a bitter Browns fan with a grudge; this is specifically not sour grapes. This is a factual review of Art Modell’s career as owner of the Cleveland Browns.” [Kanicki/Kanick]

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Finally, this video is soooo depressing, but very well done.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3OQNJddL8E]

  • mgbode

    all should read the summary by kanicki there. hits all the major points on why Art Modell is not HOF worthy.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    thanks bode. thanks rick for linking.

    i wanted to get something out the reviewed art’s record. i think arguments based on fan betrayal dont resonate nationally. and nothing was bugging me more than modell people telling us to get over it… and then citing not one good reason for modell to canton.

    the idea is to force baltimore to make a case on behalf of art. so far as i can tell, it’s not do-able.

  • mgbode

    It’s been said by Peter King that Tony Grossi played a huge part in keeping Art out of the HOF when he came up for discussion. I wonder which tactic he used (whether the informed discussion points from this article or a focus on the emotional side of leaving Cleveland).

  • ChadF

    Wow, that video was depressing…

  • Porckchop

    I’m preparing for some down votes but I have to say that I feel like Modell belongs in the HOF. My biggest criteria for anyone in any HOF is this; Could you write the history of that person’s time of involvement, without mentioning their name? From being an essential piece of the merger that created the modern NFL, to working on the TV deals that gave the NFL it footing as “America’s sport” (I still say gambling and later fantasy had more to do with huge TV contracts, but he still worked on the contracts). From everything I’ve read about him he was the consumate back room deal maker, winning compromise through personal charisma.

    Based solely on their contributions at the NFL level, Modell ison equal footing with contemporary HOF’ers Dan Rooney and Ralph Wilson.

    But Art ran Paul Brown and possibly caused the retirement of Jim Brown, and the team stunk in the 70’s. No matter how bad the Browns were they never were as bad as the Bills from the same era, Donald Sterling modeled his franchise after them when he bought the Clippers. And while the Steelers won, Dan Rooney presided over the most reckless use of steriods this side of the East German swim team. The point is everybody has some failures as an owner, be it losing, or looking the other way regarding player health.

    If being a failure as a business man is his sin, then I say keep him out of the MBA HOF, but the Football HOF is filled to the gills with men of all forms of personal failure; Drug and Alcohol abusers, wife beaters, child neglecters, murderers, people who failed in every concievable aspect of life that exists outside the field of play. Yet every one of them are recognized for their acomplishments on the field or contributions.

    He moved the team! Al Davis moved his team, and screwed over two fan bases (okay LA isn’t a fan base) multiple times, if you lead a charge to keep Art out you need to join a chorus to have Al removed.

    Finally, for whatever failings he had as man, he is renowned as a leader in integration. Nearly a decade before the Rooney family affixed their name to a Rule. Modell went out and hired the guy he thought would be the best man to run his front office, he looked past race, and the franchise has really never looked back.

    I hate Modell because I’ve never been as fully engaged as a fan since the move, I cannot forget that sports are a commodity a thing to make more money for someone who already has a lot of it, and I have Modell to thank for this. I have a picture of my younger brother and me from right before the start of The Fumble game. Dog ears rubber noses, orange flags we got from Mcdonalds, and T-shirt replica jerseys. I love that picture because I remember how exicted I was, and I also know that 3 hours later I’d be in the front yard cold and crying. I haven’t felt that way about any sport since the Browns left.
    I think Modell is a POS scumbag, and I don’t think that is enough to keep him out of the HOF.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    he also fired the guy who integrated football before branch rickey did baseball so there’s that if we’re doing a race thing.

    your argument ‘for’ seems [sorry] touchy-feely and really bar-lowering:
    -dont judge him on business skill
    -look past his football record
    -the bills were worse (huh? four super bowls?)
    -other HOFers moved a team
    -there are other unsavory people in the HOF
    -he alienated my fandom but i won’t let that affect my perspective
    -he hired a black GM
    -and of course the fall-back ‘TV Pioneer’ garbage.

    my piece is factual. i hope you read it.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    i frankly think art gets in.

    which is to say, i dont perceive the voters to be up on their art research and even with easy access to the record, will do what feels good to them. it’s harder to stand up for standards and principles.

    at any rate, i hoped to at least provide some data for those voters who are inclined to be curious on this issue.

  • Toddyus

    Kanicki’s article is genius. I don’t want Modell in the HOF. But… I think we have more to gain from neither advancing his cause nor hindering it. It makes us “the bigger man” and frees us from the albatross of our own anger. We don’t have to forgive him to forget him.
    If he gets in the HOF people won’t talk about him anymore. If not, this is going to pop up over and over.

  • mgbode

    You could email Peter King a link perhaps to see if he would peruse it. All it takes is a couple voters who have the information to state it to the rest of them.

  • mgbode

    i think it goes the other way. if he gets in, then it will be a huge story for the impact on Ohio and Canton and the ceremony. then, there will be continued stories moving forward.

    if he doesn’t get in this year, with all the momentum he has going for him (death, Ravens SB, Ray Lewis’ last year), then I think his name falls off the ballot.

  • mgbode

    there are a lot of players and people whom you cannot not write history without mentioning their name but do not deserve such honors.

    re-word it to: Can you write the history of football without mentioning the “positive” contributions of this person?

    and then please name those positive contributions if you still feel Art belongs.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    king has been tweeted the link several times; grossi has been bombarded with forwarded links. (not by me.)

    the piece gained a good deal of traction with some national writers retweeting it. it’s an active area of discussion in reddit.

    i wouldn’t be surprised if the 4000 views it got on tuesday goes higher as it gets closer to the vote.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I think alot of people myself being one just wish the whole Modell in the HOF thing would go away or better yet end. Unfortunately for it to end it probably means he makes it into the HOF but so be it. You can’t tell me the football HOF is some sort of Saintly institution where the most outstanding human beings who were associated with the game reside. Because of this and the fact he won a Super Bowl then died I’m over it. Like someone else said things wouldn’t be so bad had the reborn Browns been so pitiful but because they are people still carry the chip around with them. In the end it was Modell’s team to do what he wished. Haslam is no different nor was Lerner.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Very good piece very informative unfortunately two things. First, I feel even worse about this newest Browns version we’ve all been forced to watch since 1999. Seeing the records under Modell compared to the past 13 years made me want to vomit. (I understand why people wanted to retain the name, colors, records but honestly some serious bloodletting needed to be done and all of that let go if for the least being it may have exorcised demons. Instead the politicians and NFL jumped all over it and used it to their benefit not Cleveland or the fans. In every Modell moving the team discussion you have to always include the politicians and NFL because for me they were all co-conspirators.) Second, after reading and understanding and agreeing what you wrote I’ll be more shocked if Modell doesn’t get in then if he does.

  • Harv 21

    I find Jim Kanicki’s argument forceful but the one point that makes him, in my eyes, HOF-worthy is somewhat distorted. To say that but for Mara’s agreement, no TV removes Modell’s advocacy and vision to get himto agree. Remember, back them Art was the cutting-edge media guy to the older owners at a time when many still feared broadcasting games would reduce their ticket sales. Modell was just out of the Mad Men world and understood the power of tv to impact the NFL. Whatever his skills as a negotiator or businessman, or his quality as a human being, this was the league’s game-changing moment and he was the visionary owner of that day.

    Jim, the rest of your points are valid. Except Jim Brown. We know Jim Brown. To say Art screwed up by pushing Jim Brown’s nose out of joint is to suggest only that Brown reacted to him like he did to every other authority figure he came across for the next 50 years after Paul Brown. There’s plenty of reasons to blast Art, but this one is fringe.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    i take it, you’re buying the tv pioneer thing. i do truly think nfl would be on tv today without art. the afl managed to get a contract as good or better from nbc. mnf was not art. and frankly, all art ever did for me was chase the boston browns backers from bar-to-bar when our hosts received cease and desist orders from him (literally signed by art modell) for showing us satellite feeds of browns games.

    i haven’t found anything indicating modell persuaded mara to do the even split. the timing works (1961).. if you’ve got anything i’d be fine entering it into the ‘record.’ :-)

    as far as jim brown, it is ironic that art in 66 didnt want to have another set of rules for one player, when it was art modell who initially put jim brown above the rest of the team by setting up with lebovitz for radio shows and columns (against the wishes of PB).

    you know where im at on this: i think art’s contributions in the area of television to be overblown and not HOF level.

  • MrCleaveland

    Nice work, Kanick. IMO, you’ve made an irrefutable case.

    It’s very puzzling that there some sentiment that Modell will, or at least should, get in this year because he died and because the Ratbirds are in the SB. Obviously, neither should matter. If he had died two years ago, would he have gotten in then? Why should he have?

    If that Denver safety makes a routine play and knocks down Flacco’s pass, the Ravens aren’t in the SB, and nobody’s talking about Modell’s alleged “legacy.”

    Modell hasn’t gotten a sniff from the voters for ten years and he hasn’t owned the team for about that long. So why now? Makes no sense whatsoever.

  • prckchop

    I’m sorry which of the accomplishments I listed weren’t positive?
    I think you’re dancing with word play.

  • Harv 21

    Because I respect your commentary (including on this subject) I’d would like to at least point to something where we do agree: “i do truly think nfl would be on tv today without art.” Absolutely, I was even going to write as much but felt I was already (big surprise) too wordy.

    But that doesn’t change my opinion as to whether this should exclude him. Marconi should be in the hall of fame even though someone else would have eventually transmitted a radio signal across the ocean if he had not, same for Edison and a slew of stuff. I just believe that television is so central to the power of the NFL that teasing apart this development for possible exaggeration or imprecise credit or inevitability shows bias. The big picture is that this part of football history is huge, and Art was right there out front. If you say moving a historic franchise despite rabid fan support negates that, fine. That’s a judgement call I respect. But don’t think our emotions about his awful later stuff can change what he represented historically as younger man.

  • porckchop

    First of all Jim its a great piece, and I respect, .admire, and even agree with much of your position. I simply feel that if you remove “the move”, Art goes in, and honestly I don’t feel that “the move” is sufficient cause to keep someone out. Had he and the team stayed, had they won a SB here and he still sold the team and kept it in Cleveland, I cannot imagine a single person saying his record should keep him out.

    I feel like you have misconstrued and taken some pretty extreme liberites with reinterpreting my position. My reasons for wanting to NOT get in the HOF are Touchy-feely. My reasons that he belongs in the HOF are based on his record compared to his peers.

    If you use Ralph Wilson as a test and put Modell up against him in a blind comparision (like they do for tournament seedings in March) Model belongs.

    The Browns had a barely .500 record under Model? Buffalo carries a lifetime .465 under Wilson. In fact under just this criteria Art Rooney doesn’t belong in the HOF either. The Steelers posted something like 4 or 5 total winning years out of their first 35.

    Both served as conference President, and both were instrumental in getting the merger accomplished.

    Modell chaired arguably the most important commission in football for 31 years. I cannot believe that a group of greedy billioinaires would allow him to sit in that seat if he was incompetent. You have the AFL getting a better deal 1 time, I have 27 peers who felt he was doing a good job for 30 decades.

    Now, did he fire Paul Brown “Because” he integrated football? If not I’m not sure where you are going with that.

    I find his handling of the Paul Brown issue clumsly and foolish, but when would be an appropriate time to tell him to step down? Should he have been allowed to serve in perpetuity, as a professional Joe Paterno? Should he have been better than he was? Yes. Is this a reason to keep somebody out of the HOF? Would you say Jerry Jones has no right to ever enter for gracelessly firing Landry?

    I won’t shed a tear if he doesn’t get in, and I don’t expect to change your opinion, I’d be disapionted if I did. I just think that if removed from the bubble of Cleveland fanaticism, Modell has a case.

  • porckchop

    3 decades. 300 hundred years of Modell is too much to contemplate (cold shudder)

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    fair enough. i do look at this differently.

    eg, ralph wilson. youre looking at ralph wilson’s won-loss record. only. so in addition to not counting his super bowl appearances (four more than art had in clev), youre not considering the risk of being an original owner of an expansion football and not crediting him enough for building that up from nothing. i think the ‘ralph’s in, so art should be in’ falls flat when you consider what art bought into: the most successful team ever with a brand that dominated from ohio to western new york. i still find old browns fans in new england because it was either browns or giants back then. wilson had nothing and wilson built something. modell had the absolute top team and of course failed to the extent he had to move it.

    regarding the rest:

    i think youre a bit naive if you dont think a closed group of men would allow a crony to chair an important committee. the fact that (new owner) jerry jones had to jump in front of the train to stop art from rebating $230 million to the networks demonstrates plausibly the crony factor of modell’s role. it’s not like any old-tme owners stood up and said wtf. they all bought in cheap and (apparently with the exception of art) had plenty of cash and were able to write $8MM checks to the networks. it was the new guys who bought higher who called art out.

    you raised ‘black GM’ as a reason for art to get in; i didnt get where you were going with that either.

    re PB, there is plenty of evidence available that say it was time to go. but the fact remains that brown’s browns were .750; modell’s browns were .500. PB + bill walsh created an accurate short pass attack for virgil carter (when greg cook was injured) which of course became walsh’s WCO. so PB had some gas left in the tank. modell traded warfield and phipps. his record for hiring HCs and firing the wrong ones is remarkable all the way from skorich to belichick.

    anyways, lookit: i expect him to get in. im not burning down canton if he does. it’s that his candidacy is based on revisionist history and credential bar-lowering and ‘vengeful cleveland fans’ that prompted me to crank out that post.

  • mgbode

    kanicki’s article demonstrates that his “TV deal contract” that is so lauded was actually severely under-value.

    outside of that the only thing you listed was hiring Ozzie Newsome to help with FO integration.

  • mgbode

    fantastic and well done.

  • mgbode

    oh, also I hate the “who else is in the HOF” argument. I don’t agree with some who are in the hall, so why should I use that as a gauge?

    For instance, Charles Bidwell is in the HOF. No, he seriously is in there. I’m not lying . I swear. Stop laughing.

  • porckchop

    I spoke with “Who else is in the HOF”, its hurt by your comments and feels unjustly mischaractarized.
    Seriously I know you like baiting arguments, but “who else is in the Hall is a perfectly legitmate tool to use – not in and of itself but, it defintely has to have weight. The first classes were based on who the best players were, subsequent classes got in primarily based on how they stood up to their predecessors. You are really struggling to stay in a discussion if your sole reason for not likeing “Who else…” simply because you “don’t agree with some selections.

    re; Bidwill

    Now I am really impressed. You feel confident speaking about the qualifications of a man who died in ’47, and was inducted in ’67. Any particular insights you might offer about other HOF members who died a generation or two before you were born? I know about Jim Thorpe the player, but can you tell me about the man?

    (The Other White Meat; I think he is confusing current owner Bill Bidwill, with his father
    Porck; Shhh! He’s on a role)

  • porckchop

    addressed my point to jim regarding Modell’s role as commissioner of broadcasting. That specfiic deal is almost impossible for me to really speak confidently about without knowing so much more than I know or jim related. I would compare it to when the USFL began snapping up top college talent by overpaying. One could look at that period and complain that the NFL brass was allowing top talent to go to a competitor, it proved to be the prudent move over time. Don’t know if the comparision is totally applicable. but simply looking at the final dollar ammounts of the deals in no way solidifies Modell’s standing as a negotiator.

    As for the rest you win. I’ve posted two overly long responses to jim’s argument. You have posted 2 or 3 lines mischaractarizing or simply waving off my argument because it doesn’t fit your narrative. In two long posts I clearly made more points than “the tv deal” and Ozzie. If you have an argument of your own make it don’t lean on jim, if you want to peanut gallery my honest attempt to offer a perspective that is lacking in these parts, then I concede the field to you good sir.

  • porckchop

    I was going to continue this exercise until I realized how man times I’ve used the words Modell and HOF in one day, and compounded it by invoking Ralph Wilson’s name. Very good piece jim. I’m off to cleanse my soul with Something Fine courtesy of Mr. Jackson Browne.

  • mgbode

    Charles Bidwell WON a championship! Of course his team didn’t make the championship game and the trophy was awarded to Pottsville initially.
    Hmmm, he left the team in financial troubles, Violet ended up having to move the team to St.L as a result and the family, which worked until they ran into financial trouble again and moved to Phoenix.
    But, hey, that championship he stole. Good job man.
    (i only know what others have written, true, but it hasn’t been kind on the man)

  • mgbode

    ok, felt it only fair to redo the research on Mr. Charles Bidwell since I invoked his name here.
    1. Conflicting reports to when he bought the team. Some say since early 20’s, some say from ’33 onwards. The Pottsville incident was in 1925, so that blackeye might not belong to him.
    2. Why was he elected into the HOF? It was not a coincidence. The Bidwell’s were in financial trouble and wanted the NFL to allow them to move to StL. They refused so the Bidwell’s took 4 investors down the road of offering them the team and opened up alot of the business to them while doing it. Those 4 investors went on to form the AFL when they figured out Bidwell was yanking their (and the NFLs) chain. When the merger happened, the Bidwell’s used their “friendship” to have those new owners help petition for the elder and deceased Bidwell to be entered into the HOF.

  • Toddyus

    That would surely be my preferred outcome. I hope you’re right. I guess I’m just tired of Cleveland looking like the sore loser, especially by hypocritical Baltimore fans, who have the affection of the national media.