1975 Cleveland Browns season
|1975 Cleveland Browns season|
|Head coach||Forrest Gregg|
|Home field||Cleveland Municipal Stadium|
|Division place||4th AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
The 1975 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 26th season with the National Football League. The Browns lost their first nine games—again, a team record—en route to going 3–11 in Forrest Gregg's first year as head coach after having been promoted from offensive line coach following the offseason firing of Nick Skorich.
Making matters even harder to swallow was that, save for a 16–15 decision at Denver in Week 5 and a 24–17 decision at Cincinnati in the season opener, the losses were pretty much one-sided. At home no less, the Browns fell 42–10 to the Minnesota Vikings, 42–6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers and 40–10 to the Houston Oilers, the worst three-game stretch they've ever had. Later in the year—it was the last of those nine consecutive defeats—the Browns were beaten 38–17 at Oakland.
The Steelers and Vikings both finished 12–2, the Oilers just missed the playoffs at 10–4 and the 11–3 Raiders lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game, but none of that was of any consolation to a franchise as proud as the Browns. After 1974, the Browns were hoping that '75, in which the team went to orange pants and altered its basic uniform design for the first time since that inaugural season of 1946, would usher in a new era of success. But it didn't work out that way. The problem for the Browns was that they were in the middle of a major rebuilding phase, trying to replace old-line, grizzled veterans from the team's glory days of the 1960s with free agents from other teams, or young players. Another problem was at the QB position; Mike Phipps, the Browns' No. 3 overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft, threw just four touchdown passes with 19 INTs on the year. More and more, Browns fans were calling for Brian Sipe, who started in two victories in the final five games in 1974, to permanently secure the starting QB job in what became a major quarterback controversy.
Asides from the progress of Sipe, another diamond in the rough was Greg Pruitt. With Pro Football Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly having retired after the 1973 season, Pruitt, the first of the team's two second-round draft picks that year, had taken a quantum leap in '75 into settling into his job as the go-to running back. He raced for 214 yards, still the seventh-best performance in team history, en route to putting together the first of his three-straight 1,000-yard seasons by getting 1,067. He became the first 1,000-yard runner for the team since Kelly in 1968.
Pruitt averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 1975, the highest by a Brown since Kelly's 5.0 in 1968, and, while scoring three times against the Chiefs, rushed for eight touchdowns, the most since Kelly's 10 in 1971.
The following were selected in the 1975 NFL Draft.
|1||5||Mack Mitchell||Defensive end||Houston|
|3||57||Oscar Roan||Tight end||SMU|
|5||109||John Zimba||Defensive end||Villanova|
|5||119||Jim Cope||Linebacker||Ohio State|
|6||150||Charles Miller||Cornerback||West Virginia|
|6||154||Henry Hynoski||Running back||Temple|
|7||161||Merle Wang||Offensive tackle||TCU|
|8||186||Barry Santini||Tight end||Purdue|
|9||213||Larry Poole||Running back||Kent State|
|10||238||Stan Lewis||Defensive end||Wayne|
|11||265||Tom Marinelli||Guard||Boston College|
|13||317||Willie Armstead||Wide receiver||Utah|
|14||341||Tim Barrett||Running back||John Carroll|
|15||369||Willie Moore||Defensive tackle||Johnson C. Smith|
|16||394||J.K. McKay||Wide receiver||USC|
|17||421||Dave Graf||Linebacker||Penn State|
|1975 Cleveland Browns roster|
Rookies in italics
|1||August 10, 1975||at San Francisco 49ers||L 17–13||
|2||August 16, 1975||Philadelphia Eagles||W 14–6||
|3||August 22, 1975||at Washington Redskins||L 23–14||
|4||September 1, 1975||Buffalo Bills||L 34–20||
|5||September 7, 1975||vs. New York Giants at Seattle||W 24–20||
|6||September 13, 1975||Detroit Lions||L 27–24||
Regular season schedule
|1||September 21, 1975||at Cincinnati Bengals||L 24–17||
|2||September 28, 1975||Minnesota Vikings||L 42–10||
|3||October 5, 1975||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 42–6||
|4||October 12, 1975||Houston Oilers||L 40–10||
|5||October 19, 1975||at Denver Broncos||L 16–15||
|6||October 26, 1975||Washington Redskins||L 23–7||
|7||November 2, 1975||at Baltimore Colts||L 21–7||
|8||November 9, 1975||at Detroit Lions||L 21–10||
|9||November 16, 1975||at Oakland Raiders||L 38–17||
|10||November 23, 1975||Cincinnati Bengals||W 35–23||
|11||November 30, 1975||New Orleans Saints||W 17–16||
|12||December 7, 1975||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 31–17||
|13||December 14, 1975||Kansas City Chiefs||W 40–14||
|14||December 21, 1975||at Houston Oilers||L 21–10||
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Awards and records
- Greg Pruitt, 304 Combined Net Yards vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, November 23,
- "1975 NFL Draft Listing – Pro-Football-Reference.com". Archived from the original on 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 443