Cliff Brown (American football)

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Cliff Brown
No. 8
Position: Quarterback / Placekicker / Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1952-06-14)June 14, 1952[1]
Place of birth: Middletown, Pennsylvania
Date of death: December 10, 2012(2012-12-10) (aged 60)
Place of death: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
College: Notre Dame
NFL draft: 1974 / Round: 17 / Pick: 427
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards

Clifton "Cliff" Brown, Sr. (June 14, 1952 – December 10, 2012) was an American football quarterback for the University of Notre Dame, and was the first African American quarterback to start a game for the prestigious program.[2]

After future Hall-of-Famer Joe Theismann graduated in 1971, Irish head coach Ara Parseghian selected Pat Steenberge to start the first two games of the next season. Following a leg injury to Steenberge, backup Bill Etter started the next two games, and then he too suffered a knee injury that ended his season.[3] Cliff Brown then went into action in the second quarter against Miami, and led the team to a 17–0 victory. Brown started all of the remaining games in the season, losing only to USC and LSU.[2]

The following year, sophomore Tom Clements started at quarterback, and Brown was the primary backup for both the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Brown's last touchdown at Notre Dame came in the final regular-season game of the 1973 national championship season—a 6-yard run at the end of a 44–0 rout of Miami.[4] Brown was selected in the 17th round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles as a running back;[5] he did not make the final roster.

Brown died on December 10, 2012 at the age of 60.[6]


  1. ^ "Clifton "Cliff" Brown Sr. Obituary". Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  2. ^ a b Schoor, Gene. 100 Years of Notre Dame Football. New York: Morrow (1987). p.184-186
  3. ^ "QB Battles And Results". Blue and Gold. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  4. ^ "1973 Notre Dame at Miami". College Football Belt. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  5. ^ "Philadelphia Eagles Draft History". Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  6. ^ "Notre Dame football: Former Irish QB Cliff Brown dead at 60". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-14.