Cleveland Browns

Tue, 16 Sep 2008 19:59

The history of Cleveland Browns

About the NFL team Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football team that plays in the Northern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Cleveland Browns started to play in 1946 as charter member of the All-America Football Conference. The Cleveland Browns joined the NFL in 1950 after the AAFC folded but won all four AAFC titles and an undefeated season in 1948 with 15-0 score including four NFL Championships.

The team was founded in 1946 by businessman Arthur B. “Mickey” McBride, who appointed Paul Brown (the coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes) as vice president, general manager, and head coach. A search for the team’s name was done through a fan contest where “Panthers” turned out to be the most popular choice. A second contest was run through after Brown's objecting to the name when he learned that “Panthers” was used in the city by a semipro team which was known as a constant loser. “Brown Bombers,” named after the reigning heavyweight champion Joe Louis, was shortened to “Browns” to comply with the convenience needed by headline writers. Until today, the perception however of naming the team after Paul Brown continues.

The Browns then controlled the AAFC with all four wins in the championship which includes the 1948 season where they became the first team to be unbeaten and untied in the history of professional football. With their undefeated record, the Browns called to NFL teams for challenges only to be turned down each time. Magnificent support was given to the Browns, undeniably with the promotional efforts of their founder McBride which drew an average attendance of 57,000 in each game in its first season.

The closure of the AAFC after the season in 1949 was believed to be mainly due to the Brown’s almost absolute domination of the league. The NFL at that time agreed to take three of AAFC’s teams for the 1950 season where there was no doubt that the Browns would be one of them. The Browns competed against the two-time defending champion Philadelphia Eagles during their first NFL game. Being first timers, many believed that the Browns would be defeated by the Eagles. The Browns, however, were as resolute to prove that they did belong to the NFL and can be winners as they shredded the defense of the Eagles for 487 yards total offense toward a 35-10 blowout.

In the next NFL games, the Browns defeated the New York Giants with 8-3 in a playoff game then went on to beat the Rams 30-28 in the championship game. With AAFC’s records not recognized by the NFL, the Browns, by technicality, became the most triumphant expansion team in history. In any sense of the term, the Browns in 1950 however were not an expansion team. During the next season, the Browns went 11-1 against the Rams in a rematch of the title game in the previous year. With the 73-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, Los Angeles placed a lead for good and the 24-17 loss was the first for Brown in a championship game.

The 1953 season was a start for the Browns winning 11 straight games; however, the Browns lost the final week to the Eagles and also the rematch with the Lions in the championship game. Finishing 9-3 in 1954, the Browns faced Detroit in the championship the third time in a row for three years; the Browns went home with their second NFL crown.

In 1954, the Browns finished 9–3 and met up with Detroit in the championship for a third consecutive year. This time, however, the Browns were relentless on both sides of the ball, intercepting Bobby Layne six times and forcing three fumbles. Otto Graham threw three touchdowns and ran for three more, en route to a 56–10 thrashing and the Browns' second NFL crown. The Browns kept their record going strong, winning their third NFL championship game in six seasons with 38-14 against the Los Angeles Rams. After ten years (four in AAFC and six in NFL), the Browns made the titles yearly and won seven games. Because of Graham’s retirement due to injuries during the 1956 season, the Browns suffered setbacks with the team’s 5-7 record as the first losing season ever.

Having drafted fullback Jim Brown from Syracuse University, the Browns in 1957 responded soundly with the new player having become NFL's leading rusher and Rookie of the Year in a short span of time. In 1958 the team lost to the New York Giants and faced each other for a tiebreaker where they were shut out once more with a 10-0 score. The Browns started 6-2 but finished 7-5 in 1959 then garnered second place in 1960.

Art Modell bought the team from David Jones in 1961 where the power struggle between them started leading the team two games out of a berth in the championship. Modell replaced Brown with Blanton Collier who led his team being more considerate. In his first season, the Browns scored 10-4 finishing a game out of the conference title.

The Browns took their first title game in 7 years in 1964 further taking three more NFL titles in 1968 and 1969. Jim Brown retired and after the 1970 season with a 7-7 record Collier also retired and replaced by Nick Skorich. With his leadership the Browns played in a division title in 1971 and a wild-card berth in 1972 and later nearly defeated the Dolphins. The playoffs were nearly missed in 1973.

The Browns’ fame in 1974 came to a halt when the team garnered a 4-10 record. This cost Skorich’s job, being the second losing season in its franchise history. In 1975, assistant coach Forrest Gregg took over but the Browns’ had a bad start with a 9-0 score. Victory gain came in when they played against the Cincinnati Bengals and got a 35-23 comeback. The team continued to improve in 1976 as Brian Sipe took control at the quarterback.

In 1977 the Browns rolled into half of the NFL season. Brian Sipe was injured seriously giving the team a finish of 6-8, a defeat that caused Forrest Gregg’s dismissal before the season’s final game. The team then lost to the Seattle Seahawks. Before the end of the year, Sam Rutigliano was appointed coach who led the team to finishing 8-8 during the 1978 NFL season. The 1979 season gained four consecutive wins and four more games were won. After a tough AFC Central, the team finished behind Houston and Pittsburgh with a 9-7 record.

The 1980 games were a promising season, with the Browns winning three straight games with the fourth win against Baltimore Colts. Another two games were won, but at the end of the season the Oakland Raiders won the Super Bowl. The team had a low profile win in 1981 but gained some success in 1982. The players regained their sparks in 1983 but still finished one game behind the Steelers, and, due to a tiebreak, lost on a wild-card spot.

In 1984, Brian Sipe transferred to USFL and Paul McDona took his place. Mike Pruitt joined the Buffalo Bills. Marty Schottenemer took over Coach Sam Rutigliano after a 1-7 game start. The team finished with a 5-7 score, and, with the significant change in their composition, the team was up for rebuilding.

After the challenging season, the team advanced to the AFC Championship games in 1985 and broke into the NFL’s elite with a 12-4 in 1986 however; the Denver Broncos won over the Browns in this season. In 1987 the Browns won the AFC Central against Indianapolis Colts. The team went for a rematch with Denver which surprised the Browns with a 38-33 record. The team won over the Oilers in 1988 but lost the rematch and soon after Schottenheimer left the Browns. The two comebacks and a tie kept the Browns in the playoff race in 1989. In 1990 the team, with Kosar playing back with the Browns, finished last in the league in rushing offense and near the bottom in rushing defense. This time Bill Belichick was named coach.

The next five years had a slow start and experienced drastic changes and challenges. Aside from a thin winning score, the team’s owner, Modell announced that he agreed to relocate the browns to Baltimore in 1996. This resulted into leading to involving fans and taxpayers to demolish the old stadium and build a new stadium for the Browns in the Municipal Stadium.

The team was inactive for three years from 1996 to 1999. The owner, Modell was given a new franchise for Baltimore Ravens. The team again joined the NFL in 1999 with their first two seasons struggling and getting better in 2000. The Browns made the first playoff since 1994 after finishing 7-9 in 2002 but still losing records in 2003 and 2004.

With Chris Palmer as the new coach, 2005 and 2006 remained a losing year for the Browns. In 2007 however there was huge turnaround In 2007, the Browns finished the season with 10-6 which was the team’s best record since 1994. In addition, six players gained Pro Bowl awards and Coach Crennel agreed to extend his contract for two years.