Browns chronology

November 10, 1995


1953: McBride sold the team to Cleveland industrialist Dave R. Jones for $600,000. Groza set an NFL record with 23 field goals and the Browns went 11-1. A 15-player trade with the Colts brought Mike McCormack to Cleveland. On Dec. 27, Graham completed just 2 of 13 passes and the Lions beat the Browns with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, 17-16.

1954: After losing twice in the first three weeks, Cleveland finished with a 9-3 record. On Dec. 26, Graham announced he was retiring after the NFL title game and then led the Browns to a 56-10 victory over Detroit.

1955: Brown talked Graham out of retirement at the end of the exhibition season and the team went 9-2-1. On Dec. 26, appearing in its 10th consecutive title game, Cleveland defeated the Rams, 38-14, for its second consecutive NFL title and third overall.

1956: Graham and Lavelli retired and the Browns suffered their first losing season ever, 5-7.

1957: Jim Brown of Syracuse was taken as the sixth pick in the NFL draft. With the offense centered around Brown, who won the league rushing title (942 yards) and the rookie of the year award, Cleveland went 9-2-1. On Nov. 24, Brown set an NFL rushing record with 237 yards against the Rams. On Dec. 29, Detroit held Brown to 69 yards and won the NFL title game, 59-14.

1958: Cleveland drafted Illinois running back Bobby Mitchell, and Brown set the single season rushing record with 1,527 yards in a 9-3 season. The Browns dropped the final regular season game to New York and then lost again to the Giants the following week in the playoffs.

1959: Brown won his third consecutive rushing title but Cleveland went just 7-5 and failed to make the playoffs.

1960: Lou Groza, the last of the original Browns, retired after 14 years. Brown again won the rushing title but the team failed to make the playoffs despite an 8-3-1 record.

1961: On Jan. 25, Art Modell bought the Browns for nearly $4 million. Players such as quarterback Milt Plum and Brown became critical of Paul Brown's stern coaching style. Groza returned to the team but the Browns again missed the playoffs with an 8-5-1 record.

1962: Brown traded Mitchell to Washington for the rights to Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. Davis was stricken with leukemia and never played for the Browns. The team finished 7-6-1 as Jim Brown failed to win the rushing title for the only time in his career. He threatened retirement if a new coach was not brought in. Quarterback Frank Ryan arrived in a trade from Los Angeles.

1963: On Jan. 5, Modell fired Brown as coach and general manager with six years remaining on his contract. Defensive coordinator Blanton Collier was named to replace him. Jim Brown returned to form, setting a single-season rushing record of 1,863 yards, and the Browns improved to 10-4.

1964: Brown received help in the backfield from Ernie Green, and Ryan became the best quarterback in Cleveland since Graham. The Browns won the Eastern Conference title with a 10-3-1 mark. On Dec. 27, the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts, 27-0, in the NFL Championship game as Ryan threw three touchdown passes to wide receiver Gary Collins.

1965: Otto Graham was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Browns went 11-3 as Brown again led the league in rushing with 1,544 yards. On Jan. 2, 1966, Cleveland lost to Green Bay, 23-12, in the NFL title game. Brown retired after the game at the age of 29 to become an actor.

1966: Third-year running back Leroy Kelly replaced Brown and rushed for 1,141 yards and Ryan threw 29 touchdown passes but the team failed to make the playoffs with a 9-5 mark.

1967: Paul Brown was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Browns moved to the Century Division of the expanded 16-team NFL and won it with a 9-5 mark. Kelly won the rushing title with 1,205 yards. On Dec. 24, Dallas defeated Cleveland, 52-14, in the opening round of the playoffs.

1968: Marion Motley was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lou Groza retired again at the age of 43. Collier benched Ryan after a 1-2 start and replaced him with Bill Nelson. The Browns again won the Century Division with a 10-4 record as Kelly led the NFL with 1,239 yards and 20 touchdowns. On Dec. 21, the Browns defeated Dallas, 31-20, in front of 81,000 fans in Cleveland Stadium. On Dec. 29, the Colts beat the Browns, 34-0, in Cleveland for the NFL title.

1969: The Browns again won the Century Division with a 10-3-1 mark. On Dec. 28, Cleveland defeated Dallas, 38-14, in the first round of the playoffs. On Jan. 4, 1970, Cleveland missed its second chance to advance to its first Super Bowl when the Minnesota Vikings dealt them a 27-7 loss.

1970: Star receiver Paul Warfield was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a draft pick used to take quarterback Mike Phipps. The Browns become part of the AFC Central. On Sept. 21, the Browns defeated the Jets in the first Monday Night Football game. Cleveland finished the season 7-7.

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