1964 NFL Championship Game

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1964 NFL Championship Game
1964 NFL Championship ticket.jpg
Game ticket
1 2 3 4 Total
Baltimore Colts 0 0 0 0 0
Cleveland Browns 0 0 17 10 27
Date December 27, 1964
Stadium Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
Referee Norm Schachter
Attendance 79,544
TV in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Coleman, Chuck Thompson, Frank Gifford
Radio in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Jack Drees, Jim Morse
Cleveland is located in USA
Location in the United States

The 1964 National Football League championship game was the 32nd annual championship game, held on December 27 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.[1][2] With an attendance of 79,544,[3] it was the first NFL title game to be televised by CBS.

The game marked the last championship won by a major-league professional sports team from Cleveland until 52 years later when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Finals.


The Baltimore Colts finished the 1964 regular season with a record of 12–2 and handily won the Western Conference for the first time since 1959, clinching the title with three games remaining;[4] the runner-up Green Bay Packers were at 8–5–1. The Colts were led by second-year head coach Don Shula and quarterback Johnny Unitas. This was the Colts' third NFL championship game appearance since joining the National Football League in 1953, seeking to win their first since repeating in 1959.

The Cleveland Browns finished the regular season with a record of 10–3–1,[5] winning won the Eastern Conference by a half game over the St. Louis Cardinals at 9–3–2.[6] The Browns were led by their head coach Blanton Collier, quarterback Frank Ryan, running back Jim Brown, and receivers Gary Collins and Paul Warfield. This was the Browns' eighth NFL championship game appearance since joining the NFL in 1950, and the first since 1957.

Ticket prices for the championship game were six, eight, and ten dollars,[7] and the Colts were seven-point favorites on the road.[8][9]

Game summary[edit]

Browns' championship ring

The first half went scoreless, but Cleveland went on an unanswered 17-point run to take the lead after three quarters.[3] Unitas completed 12 of 20 passes for only 95 yards. The Browns' Collins set a title game record with three touchdown catches in one game. Ryan threw those three passes in paving the way to the Browns' fourth NFL crown. Lou Groza kicked field goals of 42 and 10 yards, and Brown carried the ball 27 times and gaining 114 yards.[10]

Scoring summary[edit]

Sunday, December 27, 1964
Kickoff: 1:35 p.m. EST[8]

  • First quarter
    • no scoring
  • Second quarter
    • no scoring
  • Third quarter
    • CLE – FG Lou Groza 43, 3–0 CLE
    • CLE – Gary Collins 18 yard pass from Frank Ryan (Groza kick), 10–0 CLE
    • CLE – Collins 42 yard pass from Ryan (Groza kick), 17–0 CLE
  • Fourth quarter
    • CLE – FG Groza 9, 20–0 CLE
    • CLE – Collins 51 yard pass from Ryan (Groza kick), 27–0 CLE


The NFL had five game officials in 1964; the line judge was added in 1965 and the side judge in 1978.

This was also the last game in which penalty flags in NFL games were white. The league switched to bright yellow flags the next season.

Players' shares[edit]

The gate receipts for the game were about $635,000 and the television money was $1.9 million.[8] Each player on the winning Browns team received about $8,000, while Colts players made around $5,000 each.[2][11] This was about triple the amount for the players' shares in the AFL championship game

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johnson, Chuck (December 28, 1964). "Browns play best game of year, Colts their worst - result: 27-0". Milwaukee Journal. p. 10, part 2. 
  2. ^ a b "Cleveland Browns blank Colts for NFL title". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 28, 1964. p. 7. 
  3. ^ a b "Cleveland wallops Baltimore, 27-0". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. December 28, 1964. p. 1D. 
  4. ^ "Colts jar Rams, 24-7, to clinch Western title". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. November 23, 1964. p. 4, part 2. 
  5. ^ "Browns rout Giants; clinch Eastern title". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 13, 1964. p. 1, sports. 
  6. ^ "Pro football standings". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 14, 1964. p. 5, part 2. 
  7. ^ "Browns taking 'title orders'". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. December 14, 1964. p. 6, part 2. 
  8. ^ a b c "Moore, Unitas lead Colts". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. December 27, 1964. p. 4B. 
  9. ^ Taylor, Jim (December 27, 1964). "Colts seven-point favorites". Toledo Blace. Ohio. p. F1. 
  10. ^ Lea, Bud (December 28, 1964). "Browns ride herd on Colts, 27-0". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  11. ^ "Facts and figures". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 28, 1964. p. 13, part 2. 

Coordinates: 41°30′22″N 81°42′00″W / 41.506°N 81.700°W / 41.506; -81.700