1968 Cleveland Browns season

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1968 Cleveland Browns season
Head coach Blanton Collier
Home field Cleveland Stadium
Local radio WHK
Results
Record 10–4–0
Division place 1st NFL Century
Playoff finish Lost NFL Championship
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1967 1969 >

The 1968 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 19th season with the National Football League. The Browns made it to the playoffs for the 2nd straight year thanks to an 8-game winning streak and the brilliant play of quarterback Bill Nelsen who replaced Frank Ryan as the starting quarterback prior to week 4 of their season.

Season summary[edit]

In a relative sense Browns hadn't done much since 1965, when they lost to the Green Bay Packers 23–12 in the NFL Championship Game. They finished 9–5 in 1966 and '67, but made the playoffs only in the second year. However, it was a short stay, as the Dallas Cowboys blew them out 52–14 in the Eastern Conference Championship Game. So with a retooled roster the Browns headed into the 1968 season, hoping to get back into serious title contention. It worked. After a slow start in which they lost two of their first three games and three of their first five, the re-tooled Browns won eight in a row before falling 27–16 to the St. Louis Cardinals in a meaningless game in the regular-season finale. The result was a 10–4 mark, the Century Division crown (by the slimmest of margins over the 9–4–1 Cardinals) and a spot in the conference title game again opposite those same Cowboys.

Only this time, the Browns advanced, beating Dallas 31–20 to get to the league title game against the Baltimore Colts. The Colts, returning to Cleveland Stadium, where they were stunned by the Browns 27–0 in the championship contest four years before, got revenge with a shutout victory of their own, 34–0.

So it was the Colts and not the Browns who headed to Super Bowl III, where they were stunned once more, this time by the New York Jets, 16–7.

The key to the Browns' turnaround in 1968 was the insertion of Bill Nelsen at quarterback early in the season. Nelsen replaced Frank Ryan, the architect of that victory over the Colts in 1964. By '68, though, he was really banged up, battling shoulder problems. Nelsen had been acquired in an offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was inspired by going to a team that had a chance to win. At the time, the Steelers were in the midst of a 6-year run without a playoff appearance.

Nelsen made an impact right away, helping to beat the Colts 30–20 to hand Baltimore its only loss in a 13–1 season.

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

The following were selected in the 1968 NFL Draft.

Round Overall Player Position School/Club Team
1 21 Marvin Upshaw Defensive End Trinity
2 47 John Garlington Linebacker LSU
3 64 Harry Olszewski Guard Clemson
3 66 Reece Morrison Running Back Texas State
4 104 Wayne Meylan Linebacker Nebraska
5 131 Mike Wempe Tackle Missouri
5 134 Jackie Jackson Running Back Clemson
6 152 Nate James Defensive Back Florida A&M
7 186 Dale Brady Running Back Memphis
8 212 Tom Schoen Defensive Back Notre Dame
9 238 David Porter Defensive Tackle Michigan
10 255 James Greer Defensive End Stephen F. Austin
10 267 Alvin Mitchell Defensive Back Morgan State
11 293 Jim Alcorn Quarterback Clarion
12 319 Tom Beutler Linebacker Toledo
13 348 Terry Sellers Defensive Back Georgia
14 374 Edgar Whipps Running Back Jackson State
15 400 Bob Baxter Flanker Memphis
16 429 Dick Sievert Defensive End Wisconsin-River Falls
17 455 Wayne McDuffie Center Florida State

[1]

Exhibition schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 August 9, 1968 at Los Angeles Rams L 23–21
64,020
2 August 18, 1968 at San Francisco 49ers W 31–17
26,801
3 August 24, 1968 at New Orleans Saints L 40–27
70,045
4 August 30, 1968 at Buffalo Bills W 22–12
45,448
5 September 7, 1968 Green Bay Packers L 31–9
84,918

Regular season schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 15, 1968 at New Orleans Saints W 24–10
74,215
2 September 22, 1968 at Dallas Cowboys L 28–7
68,733
3 September 29, 1968 Los Angeles Rams L 24–6
82,514
4 October 5, 1968 Pittsburgh Steelers W 31–24
81,865
5 October 13, 1968 St. Louis Cardinals L 27–21
79,349
6 October 20, 1968 at Baltimore Colts W 30–20
60,238
7 October 27, 1968 Atlanta Falcons W 30–7
67,723
8 November 3, 1968 at San Francisco 49ers W 33–21
31,359
9 November 10, 1968 New Orleans Saints W 35–17
71,025
10 November 17, 1968 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 45–24
41,572
11 November 24, 1968 Philadelphia Eagles W 47–13
62,338
12 December 1, 1968 New York Giants W 45–10
83,193
13 December 8, 1968 at Washington Redskins W 24–21
50,661
14 December 14, 1968 St. Louis Cardinals L 27–16
39,746

Playoffs[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Eastern Conference December 21, 1968 Dallas Cowboys W 31–20
81,497
NFL Championship December 29, 1968 Baltimore Colts L 34–0
80,628

Standings[edit]

NFL Century
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Cleveland Browns 10 4 0 .714 394 273 L1
St. Louis Cardinals 9 4 1 .692 325 289 W4
New Orleans Saints 4 9 1 .308 246 327 W1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 11 1 .154 244 397 L5

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]