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Art Modell's surprising role in shaping the Giants' franchise

Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell attends a news

Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell attends a news conference at the Ravens training facility in Owings Mills, Md., on Dec. 28, 1998. Modell died of natural causes early Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he had been admitted Wednesday. He was 87. Newsday's obituary for Art Modell
Credit: AP

Art Modell is being remembered today as the NFL owner who made an impact on two cities and their franchises (or is it one franchise, technically): Cleveland and Baltimore. But there’s a third team that he also influenced in a way no one may have ever realized.

It turns out that Modell was the one who initially brought the Mara and Tisch families together.

“It was Art who formally introduced my father (Bob Tisch) to Wellington Mara, which ultimately led to my father purchasing 50 percent of the Giants franchise,” Steve Tisch said in a statement released today upon the death of Modell. “For that, and for Art's good nature, we will always be grateful.”

John Mara, too, issued a statement on Modell’s passing this morning in Baltimore at age 87. In it he called for his enshrinement.

"Art Modell was one of the greatest owners in the history of the NFL,” Mara said. “He contributed in so many ways to the success of this League and he deserves a place in Canton. More importantly, he was a decent man and a great friend to my family. We will miss him dearly."
 

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