Redskins-Ravens may be exhibition of futility Modell seeks annual game

Cooke doesn't like idea

March 05, 1997|By Ivan Penn and Vito Stellino | Ivan Penn and Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

As state lawmakers paused from their daily business yesterday to honor the Ravens, team owner Art Modell seized the moment to lobby for an initiative -- an annual preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

Standing on the floor of the state Senate, Modell solicited the help of President Thomas V. Mike Miller -- a Prince George's County Democrat and Redskins fan -- in negotiating a yearly Ravens vs. Redskins exhibition.

"I feel the same way you do about the Redskins, Mr. President," Modell said. "We want to have an annual Governor's Cup game on alternate sites. I know you're the one who can arrange that."

Modell was in Annapolis with Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda, quarterback Vinny Testaverde and linebacker Ray Lewis -- all of whom were honored yesterday with Senate and House of Delegates resolutions.

The Ravens' proposed challenge would likely highlight the long-standing divide between Baltimore and Washington. It also would give the franchises a chance for bragging rights as the area's best football team and a likely boost in their preseason revenue.

The problem is that Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke isn't interested. Mike McCall, a Redskins spokesman, said Cooke doesn't want to play an exhibition against one team every year.

"We want to provide our fans with a variety of opponents, so they can see different teams," McCall said.

Sources close to the club say they believe that Cooke won't schedule the Ravens during the preseason because he doesn't want to give more recognition to a Baltimore team.

That's where Miller would come in -- only he's not willing to. Miller said he supports the idea of the annual competition but doesn't believe the General Assembly should help cut the deal.

"That's for the owners to negotiate between themselves," Miller said.

Under the current schedule format, the teams will play once every three years in the regular season.

The teams will play this fall in the regular season and can't play again before the year 2000 because teams from opposing conferences can't meet more than once every three years. But if either team wins its division in 1999 and the other finishes fifth, they won't play in 2000 and would go at least six years without playing each other.

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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