1953 NFL season

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1953 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 27 –
December 13, 1953
East Champions Cleveland Browns
West Champions Detroit Lions
Championship Game
Champions Detroit Lions

The 1953 NFL season was the 34th regular season of the National Football League. The names of the American and National conferences were changed to the Eastern and Western conferences.

Meanwhile, a Baltimore, Maryland, group headed by Carroll Rosenbloom was granted an NFL team, and was awarded the holdings of the defunct Dallas Texans organization. The new team was named the Baltimore Colts, after the previous team that folded after the 1950 season. The 12 teams of this NFL season continued for the rest of the 1950s; these teams became known as "old-line" teams as they predated the 1960 launch of the American Football League.

The 1953 season ended on December 27 with the NFL championship game; the Detroit Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns for the second year in a row.

Major rule changes[edit]

  • The definition of illegal motion is clarified. A player must be moving directly forward at the snap to be considered illegally in motion.

Conference races[edit]

For 1953, the former American and National Conferences of the previous three seasons were renamed the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively. The Western race saw the Rams beat the Lions twice, in Detroit (October 18) and in L.A. (November 1), and at the midway point in Week Six, the Rams were a full game ahead in the race. In Week Seven (November 8), the 49ers beat the Rams 31–27, and the Lions won their game, to put all three teams at 5–2–0. In Week Eight, the Lions beat Green Bay 14–7, while the Rams were tied 24–24 by the Cards, and the 49ers lost 23–21 to the Browns. As both teams won their remaining games, San Francisco was always a game behind Detroit.

In the Eastern, the Cleveland Browns won their first eleven games and led wire-to-wire, clinching a playoff spot by week 10. Their shot at a 12–0–0 regular season was spoiled by a 42–27 loss in the finale on December 13, and tarnished further by the championship game loss to the Lions two weeks later.

Week Western Record Eastern Record
1 4 teams 1–0–0 Tie (Cle, Was) 1–0–0
2 Tie (Det, SF) 2–0–0 Cleveland Browns 2–0–0
3 Detroit Lions 3–0–0 Cleveland Browns 3–0–0
4 3 teams 3–1–0 Cleveland Browns 4–0–0
5 Tie (Det, LA) 4–1–0 Cleveland Browns 5–0–0
6 Los Angeles Rams 5–1–0 Cleveland Browns 6–0–0
7 3 teams 5–2–0 Cleveland Browns 7–0–0
8 Detroit Lions 6–2–0 Cleveland Browns 8–0–0
9 Detroit Lions 7–2–0 Cleveland Browns 9–0–0
10 Detroit Lions 8–2–0 Cleveland Browns 10–0–0
11 Detroit Lions 9–2–0 Cleveland Browns 11–0–0
12 Detroit Lions 10–2–0 Cleveland Browns 11–1–0

Final standings[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Note: The NFL did not officially count tie games in the standings until 1972

Eastern Conference
Team W L T PCT PF PA
Cleveland Browns 11 1 0 .917 348 162
Philadelphia Eagles 7 4 1 .636 352 215
Washington Redskins 6 5 1 .545 208 215
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 6 0 .500 211 263
New York Giants 3 9 0 .250 179 277
Chicago Cardinals 1 10 1 .091 190 337
Western Conference
Team W L T PCT PF PA
Detroit Lions 10 2 0 .833 271 205
San Francisco 49ers 9 3 0 .750 372 237
Los Angeles Rams 8 3 1 .727 366 236
Chicago Bears 3 8 1 .273 218 262
Baltimore Colts 3 9 0 .250 182 350
Green Bay Packers 2 9 1 .182 200 338

NFL Championship Game[edit]

Detroit 17, Cleveland 16 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, on December 27, 1953

Awards[edit]

League leaders[edit]

Statistic Name Team Yards
Passing Otto Graham Cleveland 2,722
Rushing Joe Perry San Francisco 1,018
Receiving Pete Pihos Philadelphia 1,049

References[edit]