1974 Cleveland Browns season

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1974 Cleveland Browns season
Head coach Nick Skorich
Home field Cleveland Stadium
Local radio WHK
Results
Record 4–10–0
Division place 4th AFC Central
Playoff finish did not qualify
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1973 1975 >

The 1974 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 29th season, and 25th season with the National Football League.

The 1974 Browns were only the second Browns team to post a losing record in the 29 year history of the franchise.[1]

Season summary[edit]

The Browns finished 4–10 that year and did not look good doing it. All those great players who had led the Browns to much success through the 1960s and the early part of the '70s, either had retired or were ready to do so. And, as mentioned, since the Browns had been picking at the tail end of the draft for so long, they had little in the way of reinforcements to step into those stars' shoes.

With the exception of the Denver Broncos, who had a modest 7–6–1 record, none of the teams the Browns defeated in 1974 finished above .500. The Browns topped the Broncos 23–21 by scoring two unanswered touchdowns at the end of the game behind a backup third year quarterback by the name of Brian Sipe, out of San Diego State, who the Browns drafted in the seventeenth round of the 1972 draft, and had been on the team's taxi squad during his first two seasons with the team. They beat the 7–7 Houston Oilers 20–7, the 7–7 New England Patriots 21–14 and the 6–8 San Francisco 49ers 7–0 in a tundra-like setting after one of the worst snowstorms in Northeast Ohio history.

Otherwise, it wasn't good. The Browns offense couldn't score enough points behind the direction of quarterback Mike Phipps, taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft that was acquired when the club dealt HOF wide receiver Paul Warfield to the Miami Dolphins. And the defense had trouble stopping people. The Browns got off to a 1–5 start, getting humbled 33–7 by the Cincinnati Bengals in—by far—the most lopsided opening-day loss in franchise history to that point—and losing by 22 points (29–7) to the St. Louis Cardinals and by 16 (40–24) to the Oakland Raiders. They also were thumped by 24 (41–17) by the Dallas Cowboys in the next-to-last game of the season.

But pride is a hard thing to totally extinguish. The Browns players left from those great teams still had it, and despite the lack of overall talent on the club, it helped them to stay close in some other games.

They gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers all they could handle in both meetings, losing 20–16 and 26–16), lost by 10 points (34–24) in the rematch with the Bengals, fell by five (15–10) to the 9–5 Buffalo Bills, lost 36–35 to the San Diego Chargers when Sipe fumbled the snap as the club was positioning the ball in the middle of the field for Don Cockroft to kick a game-winning field goal on the final play, and were beaten by four (28–24) in the rematch with the Oilers in the season finale.

On the season as a whole, the Browns started games well and ended them well, being outscored just 62–61 in the first quarter and outscoring their foes 73–63 in the fourth. But in the middle two quarters combined, they were out-done by a whopping 219–117 count, and therein lies most of the reason why they gave up 344 points, the most in team history at the time.

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

The following were selected in the 1974 NFL Draft.

Round Overall Player Position School/Club Team
2 40 Billy Corbett Offensive Tackle Johnson C. Smith
5 118 Mark Ilgenfritz Defensive End Vanderbilt
6 146 Billy Pritchett Running Back West Texas A&M
7 163 Bob Herrick Wide Receiver Purdue
7 171 Gerry Sullivan Offensive Tackle Illinois
8 199 Eddie Brown Defensive Back Tennessee
9 224 Dan Scott Guard Ohio State
10 238 Mike Puestow Wide Receiver North Dakota State
11 274 Tom Gooden Kicker Harding
12 302 Ron McNeil Defensive End North Carolina Central
13 327 Mike Siefert Defensive End Wisconsin
14 352 Bob Hunt Running Back Heidelberg
15 380 Ransom Terrell Linebacker Arizona
16 407 Preston Anderson Defensive Back Rice
17 430 Carlton Buchanan Defensive Tackle SW Oklahoma

[2]

Exhibition schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 August 2, 1974 at Los Angeles Rams L 24–21
28,021
2 August 12, 1974 San Francisco 49ers W 21–20
24,008
3 August 17, 1974 vs. Baltimore Colts at Tampa L 37–3
25,116
4 August 24, 1974 Washington Redskins L 20–17
44,528
5 September 1, 1974 vs. Cincinnati Bengals at Columbus, Ohio W 21–17
36,326
6 September 7, 1974 at Detroit Lions L 21–7
42,905

Regular season schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 15, 1974 at Cincinnati Bengals L 33–7
53,113
2 September 22, 1974 Houston Oilers W 20–7
58,988
3 September 29, 1974 at St. Louis Cardinals L 29–7
43,472
4 October 6, 1974 Oakland Raiders L 40–24
65,247
5 October 13, 1974 Cincinnati Bengals L 34–24
70,897
6 October 20, 1974 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 20–16
48,100
7 October 27, 1974 Denver Broncos W 23–21
60,478
8 November 3, 1974 at San Diego Chargers L 36–35
36,631
9 November 10, 1974 at New England Patriots W 21–14
61,279
10 November 17, 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers L 26–16
77,739
11 November 24, 1974 Buffalo Bills L 15–10
66,504
12 December 1, 1974 San Francisco 49ers W 7–0
24,559
13 December 7, 1974 at Dallas Cowboys L 41–17
48,754
14 December 15, 1974 at Houston Oilers L 28–24
37,910

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 3 1 .750 4–2 7–3–1 305 189
Houston Oilers 7 7 0 .500 4–2 7–4 236 282
Cincinnati Bengals 7 7 0 .500 3–3 5–6 283 259
Cleveland Browns 4 10 0 .286 1–5 3–8 251 344

References[edit]

  1. ^ The other was the 1956 team
  2. ^ "1974 NFL Draft Listing – Pro-Football-Reference.com". Archived from the original on 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 

External links[edit]