The 1964 NFL season was the 45th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season started, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle reinstated Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, who had been suspended for the 1963 season due to gambling.
Beginning this season, the home team in each game was allowed the option of wearing their white jerseys. Since 1957, league rules had mandated that the visiting team wear white and the home team wear colored jerseys. The NFL also increased the regular season roster limit from 37 to 40 active players, which would remain unchanged for a decade.
|1964 National Football League season|
|Duration||September 12 –|
December 27, 1964
|East Champions||Cleveland Browns|
|West Champions||Baltimore Colts|
Prior to the season, the NFL club owners voted to increase the regular season roster limit from 37 to 40 active players, the largest in league history up to that point. This standard would remain in place until the 1974 season.
The 1964 season introduced a noteworthy change in uniform rules. While the league had dictated since 1957 that the home team must wear a colored jersey and the visitors a white one, teams were now given the option of wearing their white jerseys at home. As a result, the Browns (who wore white at home before 1957), Cardinals, Colts (except for one home game which was originally scheduled to be an away game), Cowboys, Rams, Redskins, Steelers (for one game vs. Rams) and Vikings (except for most of one game in which the Lions forgot to bring their blue jerseys) did so, while the rest reverted to home colors the following year. The Cardinals would not wear red at home until 1966, the Rams would not do so again until 1972, the Browns only once until 1975, and the Cowboys, aside from an unwilling use of their blue tops as the "home" team in Super Bowl V, have since continuously worn white at home. The Steelers would wear white at home for most home games from 1966 until 1969 (the first year of head coach Chuck Noll), but would not wear white as the "home" team until Super Bowl XL in 2005 and have not worn white in a game in Pittsburgh since Three Rivers Stadium opened in 1970.
The Western Conference race started with Baltimore losing its opener at Minnesota, 34–24. After that, the Colts went on an 11-game winning streak, taking the lead on October 4 with their 35–20 win over the Rams, and clinching a spot in the title game on November 22.
In the Eastern Conference, the Browns and the Cardinals played to a 33–33 tie on September 20, and were both 4–1–1 after six games. In Week Seven, Cleveland beat New York 42–20, while St. Louis fell to Dallas, 31–13. When the Cardinals beat the Browns 28–19 in Week Thirteen, they were only a game behind and needed a win and a Cleveland loss to have a chance for a playoff. St. Louis won, 36–34 in Philadelphia, but Cleveland also won, 52–20 over the Giants.
|1||4 teams (Det, GB, LA, Min)||1–0–0||3 teams (Cle, Phi, StL)||1–0–0|
|2||Tie (Det, LA)||1–0–1||Tie (Cle, StL)||1–0–1|
|3||Los Angeles Rams||2–0–1||Tie (Cle, StL)||2–0–1|
|4||Baltimore Colts||3–1–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||3–0–1|
|5||Baltimore Colts||4–1–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||3–1–1|
|6||Baltimore Colts||5–1–0||Tie (Cle, StL)||4–1–1|
|7||Baltimore Colts||6–1–0||Cleveland Browns||5–1–1|
|8||Baltimore Colts||7–1–0||Cleveland Browns||6–1–1|
|9||Baltimore Colts||8–1–0||Cleveland Browns||7–1–1|
|10||Baltimore Colts||9–1–0||Cleveland Browns||8–1–1|
|11||Baltimore Colts||10–1–0||Cleveland Browns||8–2–1|
|12||Baltimore Colts||11–1–0||Cleveland Browns||9–2–1|
|13||Baltimore Colts||11–2–0||Cleveland Browns||9–3–1|
|14||Baltimore Colts||12–2–0||Cleveland Browns||10–3–1|
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Note: Prior to 1972, the NFL did not include tie games when calculating a team's winning percentage in the official standings
|St. Louis Cardinals||9||3||2||.750||357||331|
|New York Giants||2||10||2||.167||241||399|
|Green Bay Packers||8||5||1||.615||342||245|
|Los Angeles Rams||5||7||2||.417||283||339|
|San Francisco 49ers||4||10||0||.286||236||330|
The Playoff Bowl was between the conference runners-up, for third place in the league. This was its fifth year and it was played a week after the title game.
|Most Valuable Player||Johnny Unitas, Quarterback, Baltimore Colts|
|Coach of the Year||Don Shula, Baltimore Colts|
The 1964 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 19th season, and 15th season with the National Football League. The Browns won the NFL Championship, despite having not made the playoffs in six seasons.1964 NFL Championship Game
The 1964 National Football League Championship Game was the 32nd annual championship game, held on December 27 at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. With an attendance of 79,544, 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 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals. As of 2018 this is the last championship ever won by the Cleveland Browns.Alex Karras
Alexander George Karras (July 15, 1935 – October 10, 2012) was an American football player, professional wrestler, sportscaster, and actor. He was a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL), where he played from 1958 to 1970. As an actor, Karras is noted for his role as Mongo in the 1974 comedy film Blazing Saddles. He was also known for starring as Webster Long's (Emmanuel Lewis) adoptive father, George Papadopolis, in the ABC sitcom Webster (1983–1989) alongside his wife Susan Clark. He was also featured prominently in Victor/Victoria, starring Julie Andrews and James Garner. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.Buddy Parker
Raymond "Buddy" Parker (December 16, 1913 – March 22, 1982) was a football player and coach in the National Football League who served as head coach for three teams: the Chicago Cardinals, the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers.Dave Raimey
David E. Raimey (born November 18, 1940) is a former American football player. He played college football as a halfback for the University of Michigan from 1960 to 1962. He then played professional football as a defensive back for the Cleveland Browns in 1964 and as a running back and defensive back in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1965-1968) and Toronto Argonauts (1969-1974). He played in two Grey Cups, one for the Blue Bombers and one for the Argonauts. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2000.Ed Blaine
Edward Homer Blaine was born in Farmington, Missouri on January 30, 1940. He played offensive guard on the University of Missouri Tigers football team while a pre-med student there. Blaine was named All-Big Eight Conference and All-America in 1961.
Blaine was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (28th overall) of the 1962 NFL Draft, and was also drafted by the New York Titans in the 4th round (29th overall) of the American Football League's 1962 Draft.
He played professionally in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers (1962) and Philadelphia Eagles (1963–1966). He was named All-Pro after the 1964 NFL season. Blaine was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on September 29, 2011.
Blaine is the former Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center Director and continues as a Dalton Development officer and Investigator and Professor in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology with the University of Missouri. Dr. Ed Blaine was not only successful on the football field but also as one of the nation's foremost pharmaceutical researchers with an interest in hypertension and heart failure.
In November 2009, Dr. Blaine was also recognized as a Distinguished Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America. This recognition is held with other greats such as astronaut Neil Armstrong, former President Gerald Ford, and Secretary of defense Robert Gates.Gene Breen
Gene Breen is a former linebacker in the National Football League.NFL Color Rush
The NFL Color Rush was a promotion done in conjunction with the National Football League (NFL) and Nike that promotes so-called "color vs. color" matchups with teams in matchup-specific uniforms that are primarily one solid color with alternating colored accents, primarily airing on Thursday Night Football. Despite being promoted as color vs. color, some games had one team wearing traditional white uniforms, either by choice or out of necessity. The uniforms did not count against each team with regards to their allowed alternate uniform allotment. The games received mixed responses from fans, with some praising the NFL for changing up their games in terms of uniforms, while others criticized the promotion for some of its garish uniforms. The promotion was officially discontinued for the 2018 NFL season, but many teams continue to wear the Color Rush uniforms and promote them heavily, notably the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.Paul Hornung
Paul Vernon Hornung (born December 23, 1935), nicknamed The Golden Boy, is a former professional American football player and a Hall of Fame running back for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 to 1966. He played on teams that won four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl. He is the first pro football player to win the Heisman Trophy, be selected as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, win the NFL most valuable player award, and be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame.A versatile player, Hornung was a halfback, quarterback, and placekicker. He was an excellent all-around college athlete at Notre Dame, where he played basketball in addition to football.Ted Dean
Theodore Curtis Dean (born March 24, 1938) is a former American football running back. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. Dean played college football at Wichita State University.
Dean graduated from Radnor High School and earned All-State honors for football and track, and was named to the National High School All American team. At Wichita State University, Dean received Honorable Mention All American honors and earned All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades following his junior and senior seasons.Dean was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round (40th overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. In his Rookie season, Dean led the NFL in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards gained. Dean's on-field success, which culminated in a game-winning touchdown for the Eagles in the 1960 NFL Championship Game, earned him a place in the 1961 Pro Bowl.
Following the 1960 season, Dean was hailed as an up-and-coming star. According to Ray Didinger, George Halas believed Dean was "going to become the best ever". However, Dean's football career was shortened by several injuries and his production never matched that of his rookie season. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings prior to the 1964 NFL season, but only played in two games for the Vikings (his last two in the NFL) before an automobile accident caused further injuries.Following his NFL career, Dean became an educator in the Philadelphia area.
1964 NFL season