A video uploaded to YouTube last week showed a man peeing on Art Modell’s grave. That got us thinking about other sports team owners that once held a city’s hearts in his hands – before he crushed them, becoming a hated pariah forever more.
6 Previously Loved Owners That Became the Most Hated Owners
It’s all about money, we get it. They love the green, and who doesn’t!?! If we were each in their positions, who’s to say we wouldn’t have done the same thing!?! … Oh yeah, well, we have hearts bigger than a raisin and we all realize millions and millions of dollars is still pretty good, when you have an entire city loving you.
These guys just couldn’t figure that out, which might have been the reason they had money to begin with.
Art Modell, Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens
When a guy pees on your grave because you relocated one of the only reasons why people in Cleveland don’t move to Florida, then you’ve definitely done something wrong in your life.
In 1986, Modell was looking good, running a franchise that got within a John Elway Drive from getting to their very first Super Bowl.
Not 10 years later, he moved a Browns team to Baltimore that had the following assets:
- Head coach Bill Belichick
- Director of Pro Personnel Ozzie Newsome
- Scouting assistant Scott Pioli
- Player personnel assistant Mike Tannenbaum
- Scout Jim Schwartz
- Offensive line coach Kirk Ferentz
- Grounds crew member Tom Dimitroff
- PR intern Eric Mangini
- Defensive assistant coach Phil Savage
- Director of Player Personnel Michael Lombardi
- Defensive coordinator Nick Saban
- Two first-round picks that would become:
- LB Ray Lewis
- OT Jonathan Ogden
That Ravens Super Bowl win against the Giants in 2000 was supposed to be Cleveland’s.
Al Davis, Oakland/L.A./Oakland Raiders
The Raiders teams of the ‘70s were some of the toughest, most beloved/hated teams in all of sports. Al Davis went from head coach to owner, while always staying the general manager, building a team that only their fans could love.
But when you move a team from tough and dirty Oakland, Calif., to the sunny beaches of Los Angeles, people aren’t going to remember you kindly. Then, when you move the team back to Oakland, they’ll accept you, but there’s still a scar from the last time you burned them. Plus, now you have indifferent L.A. fans and gang members mad at you!
Peter Plockington, Edmonton Oilers
The hockey owner was the toast of the town in Canada after acquiring Wayne Gretzky and winning five Stanley Cup titles in seven seasons.
Then he traded Jesus.
The Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, Canada’s favorite son, to the Los Angeles Kings because he was in trouble financially.
Can you imagine if the Cavaliers won five titles in seven years, then chose to trade LeBron James and his talents to South Beach?
The Oilers did end up winning one Cup without The Great One, but Pocklington was never forgiven, and finally went bankrupt and was forced to sell in 1988.
Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
The son of Paul Brown, who brought football to the city of Cincinnati and an entire franchise was named after him in Cleveland, Mike was loved before he even took ownership when his dad died in 1991.
Then he fired Sam Wyche, whom the city also loved, and replaced him with Dave Shula, who has to be considered one of the worst NFL head coaches to last four seasons ever. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, and they had missed the playoffs entirely from 1991-2004. They were considered the worst NFL team of the ‘90s, blowing high draft pick after draft pick, from David Klinger to Ki-Jana Carter to Akili Smith to Peter Warrick.
You have to wonder if Bengals fans didn’t wish Brown would have moved the Bengals to another city during the ‘90s.
Wayne Huizenga, Miami Dolphins/Florida Marlins
You own the most loved franchise in the history of the South Florida area, you were singularly responsible for bringing baseball to the state of Florida and hockey to South Florida, and your ’97 Marlins won the World Series faster than any other franchise ever! Why wouldn’t everyone love Huizenga unconditionally!?!
Well, he went on to trade away most of those ’97 players and kill the chances of a repeat. Or did he!?! In 2003, a young Marlins club won their second World Series – only to be sold off and traded the next season again. He’s like the girlfriend that lets you wine and dine her before she sleeps with you, then right after you tell your parents she’s the one – she breaks up with you. Only to do it again to you six years later.
Plus, we hate Huizenga for all of those late fees on our Blockbuster video tapes.
Walter O’Malley, Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers
This is the guy that started it all – owners moving teams to better locations for more money.
The Dodgers were always in the Yankees’ shadows, and even after finally winning their first World Series in 1955, the city rejected a plan for a bigger/better stadium than Ebbets Field. Then, after the 1957 season, the Dodgers announced they were moving to Los Angeles, bringing baseball across the country to California. The New York Giants would follow suit, bringing two teams to the west coast.
Dodgers fans, who had dealt with all sorts of disappointments in the franchise’s history, including four lost World Series in the eight seasons before their first championship, were destroyed.
Eventually, the Mets came to Queens in 1962, giving New York a National League team for the first time in five years, but Dodgers fans were never able to fill that hole in their hearts. This was especially true after the (L.A.) Dodgers won a second World Series in 1959, with most of their Brooklyn players, like Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Don Zimmer, Don Drysdale, and a young pitcher named Sandy Koufax.