How the Votes Shake Down on Browns Proposal to Move
How NFL teams might vote on Art Modell’s proposal to move the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore if the vote were held now (23 votes are needed to approve the move):
AGAINST THE MOVE
Buffalo--Ralph Wilson is the most outspoken of the traditionalists--"General Motors and IBM also thought they’d thrive forever,” he says of what he perceives as the NFL’s decline.
Kansas City--Lamar Hunt is as traditional as they come.
New England--Bob Kraft is a new owner with a sense of preserving the old.
Washington--Jack Kent Cooke couldn’t care less about tradition. But he’s concerned about competition--he wants to build a new stadium about 30 miles from where Modell’s would be.
FOR THE MOVE
Arizona--Bill Bidwill’s already moved the Cardinals three times and could make it four if Cleveland gives him a deal.
Atlanta--Rankin Smith and his sons go with the flow.
Carolina--Jerry Richardson once played in Baltimore.
Cleveland--No surprise here.
Chicago--Tradition is nice, but Mike McCaskey, George Halas’ grandson, is going after city and state officials for his own new deal.
Dallas--Modell’s move is all about money. So is Jerry Jones.
Denver--Pat Bowlen decries “franchise free agency,” but he’s also seeking leverage to get a new stadium from Denver.
Detroit--William Clay Ford says little. But he has his own stadium lease problems.
Houston--Bud Adams is going to Nashville. He’s going to vote against Cleveland moving?
Indianapolis--Bob Irsay’s the guy who left Baltimore and started the chain reaction.
Jacksonville--Wayne Weaver is respected as a sharp new owner. But he got the expansion franchise at Baltimore’s expense and probably would make amends.
Miami--Wayne Huizenga’s world is built on money over tradition. He’s dumping a first-place hockey team, so what does he care about Cleveland?
New Orleans--Tom Benson, a bottom-line businessman, rarely rocks any boats.
Philadelphia--After Modell’s announcement, Jeff Lurie immediately quashed rumors the Eagles would move to Los Angeles. Still, he wants leverage for a new stadium.
St. Louis--The league may have set the precedent when it reneged on its vote to block Georgia Frontiere. No way she votes “no.”
San Diego--"How could anyone turn down the deal Art got,” says Alex Spanos, a bottom line guy. In the next breath, he says he has no intention of leaving San Diego.
Seattle--The Behrings are flirting with Los Angeles.
Tampa Bay--Malcolm Glazer bid for a Baltimore expansion franchise. Now he may be headed to Orlando.
LEANING FOR THE MOVE (2)
New York Giants--Wellington Mara, Modell’s good buddy, was the first owner to learn of the move. He hates it, but will probably put friendship first.
New York Jets--Leon Hess is old guard. He’s also a close friend to whom Modell made a personal appeal. Might change his mind if Mara changes his.
Oakland--Al Davis started the whole thing, then went back again. But he always abstains. “I don’t think he’s voted in 35 years,” says Ralph Wilson.
HARD TO TELL
Cincinnati--Mike Brown talked to Baltimore and turned it down. The Browns were named for his father, their first coach, but Modell fired him and sent him south. Cleveland might want to lure the Bengals.
Green Bay--A publicly owned team that’s done well in a small market with an old stadium. Bob Harlan, who runs it, prefers that the Browns stay but will heed commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s recommendation.
Minnesota--Usually votes with the majority. Like Harlan, Roger Headrick will go with Tagliabue.
Pittsburgh--Dan Rooney had tears in his eyes when the move was announced. He might put friendship first, but he loves the Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry.
San Francisco--Eddie DeBartolo and Carmen Policy have roots in northern Ohio and have played in a bad stadium for years.