1964 Cleveland Browns

by Kavin Caruso

The Cleveland Browns last won the NFL Championship in 1964. That year, the Browns beat the Baltimore Colts on December 27. The Browns head coach was Blanton Collier, he used to coach Kentucky Wildcats in the 50’s. He was the one who replaced Paul Brown as head coach in 1962. The Cleveland Browns were the champs of the Eastern conference. The last three champions from the Eastern conference were the NY Giants. In 1960, the Philadelphia Eagles won the Eastern conference. Before 1964, the last time the Cleveland Browns won the championship was in 1955.

The Cleveland Browns had of course running back, Jim Brown. He was a fierce on the offense. Frank Ryan, PhD out of Rice University was the starting qb for the Browns. The other offensive weapons the Browns had that season were Paul Warfield, Gary Collins, and Jim Kanicki. The great ever kicker, Lou Groza was better than ever that season for the Browns.On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns had Monte Clark, Gene Hickerson, and John Morrow. Cleveland Browns weren’t supposed to be contenders for that 1964 season. NY Giants were favored to win the Eastern division under Y.A Title.

The Cleveland Browns won 3 of the first 4 games of the season. They tied the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2nd game of the season; 33-33. The Cleveland Browns were dominating on the offense, but during the season, the defense wasn’t so dominate. Many of the games, the defense would give up many yards to the opposing teams. They had to make some comebacks at the end of the game. The Browns were good because of Jim Brown would run through the defense and Frank Ryan was a good passer.

The Baltimore Colts finished the regular season at 12-2, while the Browns finished at 10-3-1. Baltimore of course had the great Johnny Unitas at quarterback along with Raymond Berry, Jimmy Orr, and John Mackey. Baltimore Colts head coach was Don Shula. The Baltimore Colts were the heavy favorites to win the 1964 championship game. It proved to be wrong.

The Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts played at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on December 27. It was a cold and cloudy day. The first two quarters, no team could score. In the 3rd quarter, Cleveland scored on a 42 yrd field goal from Lou Groza. In Cleveland’s next possession, Jim Brown ran for 46 yard gain. During the drive, Frank Ryan threw an 18 yard touchdown pass to Gary Collins. Cleveland was up 10-0. During the 3rd quarter again, Frank Ryan threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to Gary Collins again.

It made it 17-0 Cleveland Browns. In the 4th quarter, Lou Groza kicked a 10 yard field goal, and then Frank Ryan threw his 3rd touchdown pass of the afternoon to Gary Collins. It was a 51yard touchdowns pass. The Browns beat the Colts 27-0. The Browns defense stymied the Colts offense all afternoon. Johnny Unitas threw 2 interceptions and threw for 95 yards. Lenny Moore only had 40 yards of rushing on the day.

Cleveland Browns were on top of the world in 1964, a year later they would lose in the championship game in Green Bay and future Hall of Famer Jim Brown would retire and become an actor. The Browns were never the same after that. The Browns appeared in playoff games and conference championships but would come up short.

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