1964 Cleveland Browns season
|1964 Cleveland Browns season|
|Head coach||Blanton Collier|
|Home field||Cleveland Stadium|
|Local radio||WERE (1300 AM)|
|Division place||1st NFL Eastern|
|Playoff finish||Won NFL Championship (4)|
The 1964 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 19th season, and 15th season with the National Football League. The Browns won the NFL Championship, despite having not made the playoffs in six seasons.
The Browns' championship is the most recent championship by a professional sports team in the Cleveland area.
The regular season was a success with The Browns finishing with a regular season record of 10-3-1.They were coached by Blanton Collier who had replaced the historic Paul Brown the previous Season. The team had a tremendous amount of heart, which was demonstrated by the fact that they had key commanding wins throughout the season. For instance, they swept their arch rival New York Giants, who the previous year had edged them out as the eastern conference champion. Not only did they win both times they played the Giant but both wins were very convincing, the first being a 42-20 home victory and the second being a 52-20 away victory. The Second Victory over the Giants was a clutch, season ending game that clinched the eastern conference title. Many of the Browns' wins during the regular season were in a very commanding manner, with a 37-21 win over the Detroit Lions being a prime example. The win over the Lions carried extra significance due to the fact that the lions had been the team that knocked them out of the conference champion hunt the previous season by beating them 38-10 in the second to last regular season game. The Browns were led by legendary running back Jim Brown who had a stellar regular season, rushing for 1,446 yards with a 5.2 yards/carry average. Although they had a great rushing game, the Browns had a very balanced offense, choosing not to just hand the ball to Brown on every play. The Quarterback of the team was Frank Ryan who had a decent season throwing for 2,404 yards and 25 touchdowns while throwing 19 interceptions. The top receivers of the team were Paul Warfield and Gary Collins, the second of whom would become a legend by catching three touchdowns in the championship game against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
Leading into the game, the Browns were huge underdogs. Most experts had them losing by double digits. Baltimore was so heavily favored that after the Browns won the game, Sports Illustrated had to scramble to find a picture of a Browns player to put on its cover. Baltimore had the league's best offense and had a league best record of 12-2. They were stacked with future Hall of Famers such as Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, and John Mackey. The Browns though, were unfazed by the apparent talent disparity and Jim Brown was reported stating before the game, "we're going to kick their [butt] today." The game-time temperature that day was 34 degrees and felt much colder in 15- to 25-mph winds whipping under gray December sky. The Municipal Stadium crowd of 79,544 was the second largest in NFL title-game history at the time. The Browns knew that if they wanted to be in the game they had to make a statement early on, and they did just that. Galen Fiss, the Browns team captain, broke up a screen pass from Unitas to Moore, sending Moore airborne for a loss. The Browns tenacity on defense is what got them to the half time score of 0-0. Brown's running back Ernie Green reported after the game about half time, "We cleaned ourselves and sat down, and it seemed like something came over all of us. I think we all kind of looked at each other and concluded, 'Hey, we can beat these guys.'" Not only did the Browns "beat" the Colts in the second half, They destroyed them, scoring 27 unanswered points. Gary Collins became a Cleveland Browns legend by catching three touch down passes, the third one being a 51-yarder with Colts defender Bobby Boyd all over him. The biggest story of the game was how well Cleveland's defense played against Baltimore's heralded offense. Cleveland was able to hold Unitas to just 95 yards while intercepting him twice.
This is the last major sports championship that Cleveland has won, so it has a special place in most Clevelanders' hearts. The players who played in the game went on to become living legends in the town of Cleveland and are still remembered to this day. Not only is it remembered in Cleveland but ESPN ranks the '64 title game as the second-greatest NFL postseason upset, behind only Joe Namath's guaranteed win over the Colts in Super Bowl III four seasons later.
|1||11||Paul Warfield||Wide Receiver||Ohio State|
|2||26||Billy Truax||Defensive End||LSU|
|5||67||Dick Klein||Tackle||Wichita State|
|7||95||Sammy Odom||Linebacker||Northwestern (LA) State|
|8||110||Leroy Kelly||Running Back||Morgan State|
|10||138||Dick Van Raaphorst||Kicker||Ohio State|
|14||194||Terry Sieg||Running Back||Virginia|
|17||235||Larry Bartolameolli||Tackle||Western Michigan|
|18||250||Sherman Lewis||Defensive Back||Michigan State|
|1||August 9, 1964||at San Francisco 49ers||L 26–7||
|2||August 15, 1964||at Los Angeles Rams||W 56–31||
|3||August 22, 1964||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers at Akron||W 42–7||
|4||August 28, 1964||at Detroit Lions||W 35–14||
|5||September 5, 1964||Green Bay Packers||W 20–17||
Regular season schedule
|1||September 13, 1964||at Washington Redskins||W 27–13||
|2||September 20, 1964||St. Louis Cardinals||T 33–33||
|3||September 27, 1964||at Philadelphia Eagles||W 28–20||
|4||October 4, 1964||Dallas Cowboys||W 27–6||
|5||October 10, 1964||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 23–7||
|6||October 18, 1964||at Dallas Cowboys||W 20–16||
|7||October 25, 1964||New York Giants||W 42–20||
|8||November 1, 1964||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 30–17||
|9||November 8, 1964||Washington Redskins||W 34–24||
|10||November 15, 1964||Detroit Lions||W 37–21||
|11||November 22, 1964||at Green Bay Packers||L 28–21||
|12||November 29, 1964||Philadelphia Eagles||W 38–24||
|13||December 6, 1964||at St. Louis Cardinals||L 28–19||
|14||December 12, 1964||at New York Giants||W 52–20||
|Championship||December 27, 1964||Baltimore Colts||W 27–0||
|St. Louis Cardinals||9||3||2||.750||357||331||W-4|
|New York Giants||2||10||2||.167||241||399||L-4|
1964 Cleveland Browns roster
Rookies in italics
NFL Championship Game
- CLE – FG Groza 43
- CLE – Collins 18 yard pass from Ryan (Groza kick)
- CLE – Collins 42 yard pass from Ryan (Groza kick)
- CLE – FG Groza 9
- CLE – Collins 51 yard pass from Ryan (Groza kick)
Awards and records
- Jim Brown, NFL Rushing Leader, (1,446 yards)
- Frank Ryan, NFL Leader, Touchdown Passes, (25)
- Jim Brown, Seventh NFL Rushing Title
- Last playoff appearance, 1958
- King, Steve. "History: 1964". The Official Website of the Cleveland Browns. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "Team History". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Lubinger, Ben. "Cleveland Browns fans still cherish 1964 NFL championship season, more than two generations later". The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "1964 NFL Draft Listing – Pro-Football-Reference.com". Archived from the original on 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2009-07-19.