Cleveland Browns relocation controversy

relocaterelocatedrelocationrelocation of the Brownsrelocation to BaltimoreThe Move1996 relocation to Baltimoredivision rivalmoved to Baltimoremoving to Baltimore
The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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.wikipedia
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Relocation of professional sports teams

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The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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.
(This move proved so unpopular in Cleveland that the move was treated as the Baltimore Ravens being awarded an expansion franchise, and the Browns name and their official lineage would remain in Cleveland for a "reactivated" team that rejoined the NFL three years later.) A little more than a decade earlier, the Baltimore Colts left for Indianapolis (NFL owners voted to give Colts owner Robert Irsay permission to move his franchise to the city of his choosing after no satisfactory stadium would be built).

Art Modell

Arthur B. ModellModell
The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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.
In 1995, Modell faced widespread scorn in Cleveland when he attempted to relocate the Browns to Baltimore.

Baltimore Ravens

RavensBaltimoreBAL
In return, Modell was permitted to move his football organization to Baltimore and establish a new franchise, the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens were established in 1996, after Art Modell, who was then the owner of the Cleveland Browns, announced plans to relocate the franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1995.

Cleveland Browns

ClevelandBrownsCleveland Browns Ring of Honor
The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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.
After threats of legal action from the city of Cleveland and fans, a compromise was reached in early 1996 that allowed Modell to establish the Baltimore Ravens as a new franchise while retaining the contracts of all Browns personnel.

Expansion team

expansionexpansion franchiseexpansion teams
The Ravens are officially regarded by the NFL as an expansion team that began play in. 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.
One exception is the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL): when the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore, an agreement was reached for which the trademark and history of the pre-1996 Cleveland Browns remained in that city and was claimed by the post-1999 Browns when the league placed a new franchise there, even though the personnel and roster had moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens.

1999 NFL expansion draft

expansion draft1999 expansion draft1999
The "new" Browns recruited players through an expansion draft and resumed play in 1999.
The Cleveland Browns had spent three years with its operations suspended after Art Modell had relocated the Browns' organization and players to Baltimore, Maryland to form the Baltimore Ravens at the end of the 1995 NFL season.

1995 NFL season

19951995 season1996
The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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. 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 (the Rams would later move back to Los Angeles in 2016); and the Houston Oilers move to Tennessee in 1997, where they become the Tennessee Titans two years later.
During the course of the season it emerged that the Cleveland Browns would relocate to Baltimore for the 1996 season.

Cleveland Stadium

Cleveland Municipal StadiumMunicipal StadiumCleveland
As nobody was prepared to purchase and operate a franchise for the 1996 season in Cleveland Stadium, the NFL deactivated the Browns franchise and the city of Cleveland agreed to demolish the stadium and build a new stadium on the same site.
As part of an agreement between Modell, the city of Cleveland, and the NFL, the Browns were officially deactivated for three seasons and the city was required to construct a new stadium on the Cleveland Stadium site.

Baltimore Colts relocation to Indianapolis

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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.
The franchise's move continues to embitter many Baltimore natives decades afterward, and has had a lasting impact on the NFL, including another controversial relocation twelve years later that resulted in Baltimore receiving its current NFL team, the Ravens.

AFC North

AFC CentralNorthAFC Central Division
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. 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.
Both the Bengals and the Browns were founded by Paul Brown, while the Ravens and the city of Cleveland have their own unique relationship.

Houston Texans

HoustonTexansFootball Time in Houston
Tennessee, Jacksonville, Indianapolis (from the AFC East), and the new Houston Texans were placed in the new AFC South.
In 1996, a year earlier, the Cleveland Browns had controversially relocated to become the Baltimore Ravens.

2002 NFL season

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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.
Legally, three teams from the AFC Central (Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh) were required to be in the same division as part of any realignment proposals; this was part of the NFL's settlement with the city of Cleveland in the wake of the 1995 Cleveland Browns relocation controversy.

Baltimore Stallions

Baltimore CFLersBaltimore Football ClubStallions
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).
Only a month after the Stallions' Grey Cup triumph, the state's Maryland Stadium Authority and the City of Baltimore announced that they had reached an agreement with Art Modell, the long-time owner of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, (NFL) to move his franchise to Baltimore for the 1996 season.

Cleveland

Cleveland, OhioCleveland, OHCleveland Ohio
The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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.
Former owner Art Modell's relocation of the Browns after the 1995 season (to Baltimore creating the Ravens), caused tremendous heartbreak and resentment among local fans.

Baltimore

Baltimore, MarylandBaltimore, MDBaltimore City
The Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, sometimes called "The Move" by fans, 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.
The NFL returned to Baltimore when the former Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Baltimore Ravens in 1996.

History of the Baltimore Colts

Baltimore ColtsBaltimoreColts
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.
Baltimore did not prevail in court, but eventually acquired a new NFL team in 1996 with the establishment of the Baltimore Ravens following the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy.

Canadian Football League

CFLCanadian FootballCanadian
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).
The establishment of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, worsening financial problems among the league's core Canadian teams, and the inconsistent performance of the other American teams prompted the CFL to abandon its American experiment and retrench its Canadian operations.

Jim Speros

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.
During the 1995 Grey Cup playoffs, the Cleveland Browns under long-time owner Art Modell, announced plans to move to Baltimore.

Baltimore's Marching Ravens

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The former Colts Marching Band, which remained in Baltimore after the Colts moved to Indianapolis, was subsequently renamed the Baltimore's Marching Ravens.
The band became attached to a third franchise when the Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens.

Grey Cup

Grey Cup championshipGrey Cup Championshipschampionship-winning
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).
The relocation of the National Football League's Cleveland Browns to Baltimore (to become the Ravens) in 1996 caused the Stallions to seek a new city to avoid direct competition with an NFL team.

Montreal Alouettes

Montreal ConcordesAlouettesMontreal
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.
Only a week before the Stallions won the Grey Cup, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to relocate his NFL club to Baltimore.

National Football League television blackout policies

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The game itself was blacked out on television locally, but NBC did broadcast extensive pregame coverage from Cleveland.

History of the National Football League in Los Angeles

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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 (the Rams would later move back to Los Angeles in 2016); and the Houston Oilers move to Tennessee in 1997, where they become the Tennessee Titans two years later.
The Seahawks planned move was announced at a time when the Cleveland Browns had announced their relocation to Baltimore and the Houston Oilers to Nashville.

American Football Conference

AFCAmericanAmerican Football Conference (AFC)
Sports Illustrated predicted that the Browns would represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXX at the end of the season, and the team started 3-1, but they then lost their next three games.
In 1995, the Cleveland Browns had attempted to move to Baltimore; the resulting dispute between Cleveland and the team led to Modell establishing the Baltimore Ravens with the players and personnel from the Browns, while the Browns were placed in suspended operations before they were reinstated by the NFL.

NFL on NBC

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The game itself was blacked out on television locally, but NBC did broadcast extensive pregame coverage from Cleveland.
On December 17, 1995, NBC was on hand for the final home game for the Cleveland Browns before their relocation to Baltimore.