Dante Lavelli

Dante Bert Joseph "Gluefingers" Lavelli (February 23, 1923 – January 20, 2009) was an American football end who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1956. Starring alongside quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley, placekicker Lou Groza and fellow receiver Mac Speedie, Lavelli was an integral part of a Browns team that won seven championships during his 11-season career. Lavelli was known for his sure hands and improvisations on the field. He was also renowned for making catches in critical situations, earning the nickname "Mr. Clutch". "Lavelli had one of the strongest pairs of hands I've ever seen," Browns coach Paul Brown once said of him. "When he went up for a pass with a defender, you could almost always count on him coming back down with the ball."[1]

Lavelli grew up in Hudson, Ohio and played football, baseball and basketball at his local high school. After graduating, he enrolled at Ohio State University, where he played only a handful of games before he was drafted for service in the U.S. Army during World War II. Returning in 1945 after serving in Europe, he joined the Browns in the team's first-ever season in the AAFC. Helped by Lavelli's play, the Browns won each of the AAFC's championships before the league dissolved in 1949 and the team was absorbed by the NFL. Cleveland continued to succeed in the NFL, winning championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955. Lavelli, who helped found the National Football League Players Association toward the end of his career, retired after the 1956 season.

After retiring from football, Lavelli held a variety of coaching and scouting jobs and was active in NFL alumni affairs. He also ran a furniture store in Rocky River, Ohio. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975. He died in a Cleveland hospital in 2009.

Dante Lavelli
Cleveland Browns receiver Dante Lavelli on a 1950 football card
Dante Lavelli on a 1950 football card
No. 56, 86
Position:End
Personal information
Born:February 23, 1923
Hudson, Ohio
Died:January 20, 2009 (aged 85)
Cleveland, Ohio
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:199 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school:Hudson (Hudson, Ohio)
College:Ohio State
NFL Draft:1947 / Round: 12 / Pick: 103
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:386
Receiving yards:6,488
Receiving touchdowns:62
Player stats at NFL.com
Dante Lavelli
AllegianceUnited States United States
Service/branchUnited States Army seal U.S. Army
Years of service1942–1945
Unit28th Infantry Division SSI (1918-2015).svg 28th Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early life and high school career

Lavelli was born and grew up in Hudson, Ohio, a small town in the northeastern part of the state.[2] Both of his parents were Italian immigrants.[3] His father Angelo Lavelli was a blacksmith who made shoes for horses on nearby farms.[3] As a child, he practiced catching by throwing baseballs against walls and trying to catch them when they bounced back.[4] He liked to have friends throw ping-pong balls at him to see if he could catch them.[4]

Lavelli was a standout as a running back at Hudson High School and developed a reliable set of hands.[2] Lavelli's Hudson High Explorers football team had three undefeated seasons and won three county championships.[5] He also played baseball and basketball in high school.[3]

Notre Dame offered Lavelli a scholarship, and he committed to attend the school.[3] After he had a chance encounter with Eddie Prokop, however, an able running back who was a fifth-string player for Notre Dame, Lavelli was convinced to look elsewhere.[3] "If Eddie Prokop were a fifth-string player, I was not one to sit on anyone's bench," he later said.[3] Lavelli enrolled at Ohio State University in 1941 after learning that Paul Brown was appointed the football team's new head coach.[6] Brown had developed a sterling reputation as the high school coach at Massillon Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio, losing only eight games in nine years there.[7] Lavelli's catching ability had made him a star infielder in high school, and the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball recruited him to play second base in the low minor leagues. He refused the invitation, opting to concentrate on football.[4]

College career and military service

On arrival at Ohio State, Lavelli roomed with Les Horvath and Don McCafferty and played on the freshman team under coach Trevor Rees.[8] Brown switched Lavelli to end (the position is now called wide receiver).[6] His playing time with the football team was limited, however, due to injury.[4] He became a first-string end as a sophomore in 1942, but was ailing from a charley horse in his thigh and sat out the first game of the season against a Fort Knox military team.[8] He had recovered by the third game of the season and started in a game against Southern California.[8] Lavelli was hit in the knee while grabbing for a pass near the end of the game, however, and broke a bone.[8] He was sidelined for the rest of the season. The Buckeyes won the college football national championship that year.[4][6]

After the 1942 season, Lavelli was drafted by the U.S. Army as American involvement in World War II intensified.[8] After basic training and a number of other specialized courses on land-sea assaults, he was sent with the 28th Infantry Division to fight in the European Theatre of World War II.[2][8][9] There his division landed on Omaha Beach, part of the Allied invasion of Germany-occupied France in 1944.[9] He was involved with American forces in Germany's Battle of the Bulge offensive and in the Siege of Bastogne later the same year.[4] One in five members of his division was killed in battle.[10]

Professional career

After returning from the war, Lavelli was again offered a chance to play baseball with the Tigers.[11] He saw a matchup in late 1945 between the National Football League's New York Giants and Washington Redskins and noticed that a former teammate at Ohio State named Sam Fox was an end for the Giants.[12] "I thought if he could make the grade, so could I," Lavelli later said. When Paul Brown offered him a chance to play on a new professional team he was coaching in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946, Lavelli jumped at the opportunity.[12] He was given a $500 bonus ($6,424 in today's dollars) for signing with the team, called the Cleveland Browns.[11]

Lavelli attended the Browns' first training camp in 1946. Competition was fierce for a spot on the roster, but Lavelli was one of the men who made it.[13] He was up against a number of National Football League veterans and former college stars. "The toughest game I ever played in was the first intrasquad scrimmage game," he said later. "Nobody talked to each other for two days."[13] He joined an offense that featured quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley, placekicker Lou Groza and fellow end Mac Speedie.[14] Lavelli quickly became Graham's top passing target and led the AAFC in receiving as a rookie with 40 receptions and 843 yards.[15] The Browns made it to the league championship that season, and Lavelli caught the game-winning touchdown in a 14–9 victory over the AAFC's New York Yankees.[16] The victory "didn't mean so much then, but as time goes on, it builds," Lavelli said in 2008.[17]

The Browns won the AAFC championship again in 1947. Lavelli finished second in the league in receiving behind his teammate Speedie.[18] Both Lavelli and Speedie were named to all-AAFC teams, as they had been in 1946.[18] Lavelli broke his leg in a preseason game in 1948 and sat out seven weeks.[19] He came back later in the year and helped Cleveland finish a perfect season, catching a touchdown pass in a 31–21 win over the AAFC's Brooklyn Dodgers in the championship game.[20] In a game against the Los Angeles Dons the following year, Lavelli caught four touchdowns and had 209 receiving yards, an AAFC record.[21] In 1949 Cleveland won the AAFC championship for the fourth year in a row.[22] The AAFC dissolved before the 1950 season and three of its teams, including the Browns, were absorbed by the more established National Football League (NFL).[23] Lavelli was the AAFC's all-time leader in yards per catch and second in receiving yards behind Speedie.[24]

As the Browns won in the AAFC, Lavelli continued his studies at Ohio State between seasons and got his degree in 1949.[25] He married Joy Wright of Brecksville, Ohio that year.[25]

When Cleveland entered the NFL in 1950, questions lingered about whether the team could sustain its early dominance.[26] The Browns, however, began the season by beating the defending NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.[27] The team finished with a 10–2 regular-season record and reached the championship game after winning a playoff game against the New York Giants.[28] In the championship against the Los Angeles Rams, Lavelli caught 11 passes – then a record for a title game – and had two touchdown receptions.[29] The Browns won the game 30–28.[30]

Cleveland reached the NFL championship game the following year but lost to the Rams.[31] The 1952 and 1953 seasons followed a similar pattern: the Browns made it to the championship game but lost both times to the Detroit Lions.[32] Lavelli was named to the Pro Bowl in 1951 and 1953.[33] He was seventh in the NFL in receiving yards in 1951, with 586.[34] He gained 783 receiving yards in 1953, the fifth-highest total in the league.[35]

Over the years, Lavelli developed a reputation for making big plays when they counted most, as he had done with his touchdown reception in the Browns' first championship game in 1946.[37] He was nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" in a Pittsburgh Steelers scouting report, although "Gluefingers" – a name bestowed upon him by Browns announcer Bob Neal – was more widely used.[2] He practiced with Graham tirelessly to refine routes and was not afraid to run over the middle, where he risked a pounding from defenders when the ball came his way.[37] "Dante was the greatest guy at catching a ball in a crowd that I have ever seen," Brown once said.[37] Among other innovations, he and Graham also mastered sideline patterns at a time when few teams used them.[12]

The Browns won another championship in 1954, thanks in part to a strong regular-season performance from Lavelli.[38] Lavelli led the team in receiving that year and made the Pro Bowl after the Browns beat the Lions for their second NFL title.[39] A third NFL championship followed in 1955. In the championship game against the Rams, Lavelli caught a touchdown in the second quarter and scored a second time on a 50-yard pass just before the end of the first half.[40] The Browns won 38–14.[41]

Lavelli initially planned to retire in 1955 but came back for a final year in 1956, when the Browns posted a 5–7 record, the team's first-ever losing season.[42] In his 11-year career, Lavelli caught 386 passes for 6,488 yards and 62 touchdowns.[2] He was a confident receiver, former teammates said in later years. He could often be heard calling for Graham to throw him the ball while running routes.[43] He was also known for his ability to improvise on the field. In a 1955 game against the Eagles in slippery conditions, he caught the winning touchdown with less than a minute left by swinging around the goalpost with his arm to get open.[11]

During his Browns career, Lavelli was involved in the creation of the National Football League Players Association.[11] The concept of a union to represent players in league matters was hatched in Lavelli's basement in 1954. Lavelli and two teammates, Abe Gibron and George Ratterman, met every Wednesday to discuss the union. They approached Creighton Miller, a Cleveland lawyer and former Notre Dame star who had worked briefly as an assistant coach with the Browns, for help.[11] The union was founded at a meeting before the NFL championship game in 1956.[44][45] The following year, the players got $50 per exhibition game, a $5,000 minimum salary, injury pay and medical care.[45] The union is now the primary representative of players in labor negotiations and disputes with the NFL.[46]

Later life and death

After retiring from football, Lavelli ran an appliance business on Cleveland's west side.[47] From 1961 through 1963, he served as an assistant to Graham, who was coaching college stars in the annual College All-Star Game.[48][49][50] Lavelli was also an assistant coach with the Browns and a scout for the Chicago Bears.[25] He later owned a furniture store in Rocky River, Ohio and had an interest in two bowling alleys.[5] He had a hand in founding the NFL Alumni Association, a charitable organization.[5][9]

Lavelli was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975, joining former teammates Graham, Motley and Groza and coach Paul Brown.[11] Later in life, he golfed and attended NFL alumni events and lobbied to get the NFL to recognize his and other players' AAFC statistics.[51] The NFL refused to incorporate AAFC statistics into its own when the league dissolved and the Browns became part of the NFL, in contrast to the NFL's recognition of statistics from the American Football League (AFL) following the AFL-NFL merger.[9] Lavelli called it a "double standard".[9] He died in 2009 at 85 at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland of congestive heart failure and bladder and kidney infections and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hudson, OH.[52] He and his wife Joy had three children, Lucinda, Edward and Lisa; as well as four grandchildren, Aaron, Noah, Luke and Danielle.[51] Hudson High's stadium is named in honor of him.[53]

The Akron Community Foundation established a Dante Lavelli Scholarship Fund in 2010 to help Hudson High athletes pay for college.[54] "He was one of the best I’d ever seen," Willie Davis, a defensive end who played for the Browns shortly after Lavelli retired, said. "He set the mold with his running patterns and catching the ball."[54] After Lavelli died, Graham praised his abilities and remembered his eagerness to get his hands on the ball. "He was always coming into the huddle and telling me he was open and that I should throw to him," Graham said. "He wasn't saying that to be a big shot. He just loved to play. If he was open by a few inches, he'd be yelling, 'Otto, Otto.' Many a time when I was stuck and heard that voice I would throw it in his direction and darned if he didn't come down with it. He had fantastic hands."[9]

Career statistics

Career Statistics More: Pro-Football-Reference.com
Season Team Receiving Rushing Fumbles
G GS Rec Yds Avg Long TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
NFL Statistics
1956 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 11 0 20 344 17.2 68 1 1 1
1955 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 12 0 31 492 15.9 49 4 0 0
1954 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 12 0 47 802 17.1 64 7 0 0
1953 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 12 0 45 783 17.4 55 6 1 1
1952 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 8 0 21 336 16.0 41 4 0 0
1951 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 12 0 43 586 13.6 47 6 0 0
1950 Cleveland Browns (NFL) 12 0 37 565 15.3 43 5 2 2
AAFC Statistics
1949 Cleveland Browns (AAFC) 9 7 28 475 17.0 67 7 0 0
1948 Cleveland Browns (AAFC) 8 7 25 463 18.5 54 5 1 9 9.0 9 0 0 0
1947 Cleveland Browns (AAFC) 13 6 49 799 16.3 72 9 0 0
1946 Cleveland Browns (AAFC) 14 8 40 843 21.1 63 8 1 14 14.0 14 0 0 0
Combined Career Stats Total 123 28 386 6,488 16.8 72 62 2 23 11.5 14 0 4 4

References

  1. ^ Keim 1999, p. 54.
  2. ^ a b c d e Heaton 2007, p. 172.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Steinberg 1992, p. 93.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Keim 1999, p. 51.
  5. ^ a b c Litsky, Frank (January 21, 2009). "Dante Lavelli, Cleveland Browns Receiver Known as Gluefingers, Dies at 85". New York Times. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Boyer 2006, p. 33.
  7. ^ Cantor 2008, pp. 205–206.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Steinberg 1992, p. 94.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Pluto, Terry (January 24, 2009). "Lavelli caught everything, but his family insists they received the most". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  10. ^ Steinberg 1992, p. 95.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Keim 1999, p. 53.
  12. ^ a b c Piascik 2007, p. 22.
  13. ^ a b Piascik 2007, p. 29.
  14. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 45.
  15. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 65.
  16. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 64.
  17. ^ Grossi 2008, p. 14.
  18. ^ a b Piascik 2007, p. 82.
  19. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 109.
  20. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 118–119.
  21. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 134.
  22. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 146.
  23. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 141.
  24. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 149.
  25. ^ a b c Heaton 2007, p. 174.
  26. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 145.
  27. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 164.
  28. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 173–176.
  29. ^ Heaton 2007, p. 173.
  30. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 178–181.
  31. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 233.
  32. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 253, 281.
  33. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 235, 284.
  34. ^ "1951 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  35. ^ "1953 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  36. ^ Steinberg 1992, p. 96.
  37. ^ a b c Piascik 2007, p. 315.
  38. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 325.
  39. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 316, 319.
  40. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 340.
  41. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 341.
  42. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 366.
  43. ^ Keim 1999, pp. 53–54.
  44. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 73.
  45. ^ a b Anderson, Dave (September 26, 1982). "The "Erased" Labor Leader". New York Times. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  46. ^ "About Us". NFLPlayers.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  47. ^ Heaton, Chuck (December 14, 1956). "Lavelli Aims to Add to Impressive Figures in Farewell Game With Cards". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 55. Football will become but a memory for the 33-year-old veteran after Sunday afternoon when he returns to his west side appliance business.
  48. ^ "College All-Star Gridders Begin Training Thursday". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. July 9, 1961. p. 4. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  49. ^ "U-M's Miller Named To College All-Stars". The Miami News. Miami News Wire Services. June 10, 1962. p. 2C. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  50. ^ "College Stars, Packers Battle". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. July 28, 1963. p. 3B. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  51. ^ a b "Browns Hall of Famer Dante 'Gluefingers' Lavelli dies at 85". NFL.com. Associated Press. January 21, 2009. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  52. ^ "Find a Grave: Dante 'Glue Fingers' Lavelli". Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  53. ^ "Dante Lavelli Stadium". Hudsonexplorers.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  54. ^ a b "Dante Lavelli Scholarship Fund". Akron Community Foundation. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.

Bibliography

  • Boyer, Mary Schmitt (2006). Browns Essential. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-57243-873-6.
  • Cantor, George (2008). Paul Brown: The Man Who Invented Modern Football. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-57243-725-8.
  • Grossi, Tony (2004). Tales From the Browns Sideline. Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-1-58261-713-8.
  • Heaton, Chuck (2007). Browns Scrapbook: A Fond Look Back at Five Decades of Football, from a Legendary Cleveland Sportswriter. Cleveland: Gray & Company. ISBN 978-1-59851-043-0.
  • Keim, John (1999). Legends by the Lake: The Cleveland Browns at Municipal Stadium. Akron, OH: University of Akron Press. ISBN 978-1-884836-47-3.
  • Piascik, Andy (2007). The Best Show in Football: The 1946–1955 Cleveland Browns. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58979-571-6.
  • Steinberg, Donald (1992). Expanding Your Horizons: Collegiate Football's Greatest Team. Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8059-3323-9.

External links

1946 Cleveland Browns season

The 1946 Cleveland Browns season was the team's first in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns, coached by Paul Brown, ended the year with a record of 12–2, winning the AAFC's Western Division. Led by quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and ends Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie, the team won the first AAFC championship game against the New York Yankees.

The Browns were founded by Arthur B. McBride, a Cleveland taxi-cab tycoon, as a charter franchise in the new AAFC. McBride in 1945 hired Brown, a successful coach at the high school and college levels. Brown, who was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, began to assemble a roster as the team prepared to begin play in 1946. After beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in an exhibition game, Cleveland opened the regular season against the Miami Seahawks at Cleveland Stadium on September 6, winning 44–0. The Browns proceeded to win six more games before losing for the first time in October against the San Francisco 49ers at home by a score of 34–20. Cleveland lost a second game in a row against the Los Angeles Dons the following week, but rebounded to win the final five games of the season, including a 66–14 victory over the Dodgers. Cleveland finished with the league's best record and a spot in the championship game against the Yankees. The Browns won the game 14–9.

Lavelli led the AAFC in receiving with 843 yards and 8 touchdowns, while placekicker Lou Groza led the league in points scored, with 84. Graham had the league's best passing average, with 10.5 yards per attempt. His quarterback rating of 112.1 was the highest in professional football history until Joe Montana surpassed it in 1989. Cleveland played all of its home games in Cleveland Stadium. The 1946 Browns set a professional football record with 67 defensive takeaways; the record still stands as of 2019.

1947 Cleveland Browns season

The 1947 Cleveland Browns season was the team's second in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). Coached by Paul Brown, Cleveland finished with a 12–1–1 win–loss–tie record, winning the western division and the AAFC championship for the second straight year. As in 1946, quarterback Otto Graham led an offensive attack that featured fullback Marion Motley and ends Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie.

After a number of coaching changes and roster moves in the offseason, including signing punter Horace Gillom and fullback Tony Adamle, the Browns began with a 30–14 win over the Buffalo Bills, the first of a string of five victories. The team lost its only game of the season to the Los Angeles Dons in October. Five more wins followed before a come-from-behind tie in November with the New York Yankees, the team Cleveland defeated in the 1946 AAFC championship. The Browns won their last two games, including a 42–0 shutout against the Baltimore Colts in the finale, to set up a championship game rematch with the Yankees in December. Cleveland beat the Yankees 14–3 in New York on an icy field to win its second championship in a row.

Graham was named the AAFC's most valuable player after leading the league in passing yards, with 2,753, and passing touchdowns, with 25. Speedie led the league in receiving, and several other Cleveland players were named to sportswriters' All-Pro lists. Brown was named the league's coach of the year by Pro Football Illustrated. The Browns played all their home games in Cleveland Stadium, attracting an average crowd of 55,848, the best home attendance record in both the AAFC and the competing National Football League (NFL).

1947 NFL Draft

The 1947 National Football League Draft was held on December 16, 1946, at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, New York.The National Football League in this draft made the first overall pick, a bonus pick determined by lottery. The Chicago Bears won the first lottery. This process was ended in 1958.

1948 Cleveland Browns season

The 1948 Cleveland Browns season was the team's third in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). After winning the AAFC crown in 1946 and 1947, the league's first two years of existence, the Browns repeated as champions in 1948 and had a perfect season, winning all of their games.

The season began with a number of roster moves, including the addition of linebacker Alex Agase and halfbacks Ara Parseghian and Dub Jones. Following training camp and two preseason games, the Browns began the regular season with a win against the Buffalo Bills. Led by quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and ends Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, the Browns followed with a string of victories leading up to a November matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams had perfect records to that point, the 49ers relying heavily on the offensive production of quarterback Frankie Albert and end Alyn Beals to win their first 10 games. The Browns beat the 49ers 14–7, and followed two weeks later with another narrow victory over San Francisco, their closest competition in the AAFC in 1948.

By the end of the season, the Browns had a perfect 14–0 record and led the league's Western Division, setting up a championship-game matchup with the Bills, who had won a playoff to take the Eastern Division. Cleveland beat Buffalo 49–7 in December to win the championship and preserve its unbeaten record. After the season, Graham, Motley and Speedie were included in many news organizations' All-Pro teams, alongside several other teammates. Graham was named the co-Most Valuable Player of the league alongside Albert. Browns games were televised for the first time in 1948.

The season is recognized as perfect by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, although the National Football League (NFL), which absorbed the Browns when the AAFC dissolved in 1949, does not recognize it. Ohio senator Sherrod Brown wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2008 asking the league to officially recognize AAFC team statistics, including the perfect season. The 2007 New England Patriots were vying to complete a 19–0 season at the time and join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only teams to register a perfect record.

In the 2017 NFL season, the Browns went 0-16, becoming the first team in NFL history to have a imperfect season and a perfect season.

1950 NFL Championship Game

The 1950 National Football League Championship Game was the 18th National Football League (NFL) title game, played on Sunday, December 24th at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.In their first NFL season after four years in the rival All-America Football Conference, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 30–28. The championship was the first of three won by Cleveland in the 1950s under head coach Paul Brown behind an offense that featured quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley, and ends Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie.

Cleveland began the season with a win against the Philadelphia Eagles, who had won the previous two NFL championships. The Browns won all but two of their regular-season games, both losses coming against the New York Giants. Cleveland ended the season with a 10–2 win–loss record, tied with the Giants for first place in the American Conference. The tie forced a playoff that the Browns won, 8–3. Los Angeles, meanwhile, finished the season 9–3, tied with the Chicago Bears for first place in the National Conference. The Rams won their playoff, setting up the championship matchup with the Browns, in which the Browns were four-point favorites at home.The game began with a long touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Bob Waterfield to halfback Glenn Davis on the first play from scrimmage, giving Los Angeles an early lead. Cleveland tied the game later in the first quarter with a touchdown from Graham to Dub Jones, but the Rams quickly went ahead again on a Dick Hoerner touchdown run. Cleveland scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second and third quarters, retaking a 20–14 lead. A pair of Rams touchdowns in the third quarter, however, gave Los Angeles a two-possession advantage going into the final period. Cleveland responded with a diving touchdown catch by Rex Bumgardner in the final minutes of the game, followed by a field goal by placekicker Lou Groza with 28 seconds left to win, 30–28.

Lavelli set a then championship-game record with 11 receptions, and Waterfield's 82-yard pass to Davis on the first play of the game was then the longest scoring play in championship history. Los Angeles had 407 total yards to Cleveland's 373, but Cleveland had five interceptions, compared to just one for the Rams. The Browns' Warren Lahr had two interceptions in the game. After the game, NFL commissioner Bert Bell called Cleveland "the greatest team ever to play football".

1952 Cleveland Browns season

The 1952 Cleveland Browns season was the team's third season with the National Football League.

1953 All-Pro Team

The 1953 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1953 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP) (based on voting among 48 member paper sports writers and AP staffers), the United Press (UP), and the New York Daily News.

1954 Cleveland Browns season

The 1954 Cleveland Browns season was the team's fifth season with the National Football League. The Browns' defense became the first defense in the history of the NFL to lead the league in fewest rushing yards allowed, fewest passing yards allowed and fewest total yards allowed. Assistant coach Weeb Ewbank left the club to coach the Baltimore Colts.

1955 NFL Championship Game

The 1955 National Football League Championship Game was the 23rd league championship game, played on December 26 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.It was between the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns (9–2–1), the defending league champions, and the Los Angeles Rams (8–3–1), champions of the Western Conference. The attendance of 87,695 broke the NFL championship game record by nearly 30,000. This was the first NFL championship game played on a Monday and the first televised by NBC. In their sixth consecutive NFL title game, the Browns were six-point favorites.The Browns successfully defended the title and won their third NFL championship of the 1950s in a second straight rout, 38–14. Their next (and most recent) league title was in 1964, 55 years ago.

This was the Rams' fourth title game in seven seasons, with one victory in 1951. They did not reach the league's big game again until Super Bowl XIV in January 1980, and did not win until Super Bowl XXXIV in January 2000, as the St. Louis Rams.

Abe Gibron

Abraham "Abe" Gibron (September 22, 1925 – September 23, 1997) was a professional American football player and coach. Gibron played 11 seasons as a guard in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL) in the 1940s and 1950s, mostly with the Cleveland Browns. He was then hired as an assistant coach for the NFL's Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears before becoming head coach of the Bears between 1972 and 1974.

Gibron grew up in Indiana, where he was a standout athlete in high school. After graduating, he spent two years in the U.S. military during World War II, enrolling at Valparaiso University upon his discharge. He later transferred to Purdue University, where he played football for two years and was named an All-Big Ten Conference guard. Gibron's professional career began in 1949 with the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC. The league dissolved after that season, however, and he moved to the Browns in the NFL. While he was initially a substitute, Gibron developed into a strong lineman on Cleveland teams that won NFL championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955 behind an offensive attack that featured quarterback Otto Graham, end Dante Lavelli and tackle Lou Groza. He was named to the Pro Bowl, the NFL's all-star game, each year between 1952 and 1955.

After short stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Bears, Gibron ended his playing career and got into coaching. He served first as a line coach for the Redskins for five years, and then in a similar role for the Bears beginning in 1965. He rose to become Bears' defensive coordinator in the early 1970s, and was named head coach in 1972, replacing Jim Dooley. Gibron's three years leading the Bears were unsuccessful, however. His teams posted a combined win–loss–tie record of 11–30–1 over three seasons. Gibron was fired in 1974, and spent the following year as coach of the Chicago Winds, a team in the short-lived World Football League.

Gibron, who was known for his colorful personality and large size – he ballooned to more than 300 pounds as a coach – spent seven seasons as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring from coaching. He stayed close to the game, however, by serving as a scout for the Seattle Seahawks in the late 1980s and as an advisor to the Buccaneers in the early 1990s. He died after suffering a series of strokes in 1997.

Creighton Miller

Creighton Miller (September 26, 1922 – May 22, 2002) was an American football player and attorney. As an attorney, he played a role in organizing the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the union that represents players in the National Football League. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 1976.

Miller was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was the seventh member of his family to play football at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He was a star halfback for a Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team that won the national championship in 1943. Miller was named an All-American that year, finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting and led the nation in rushing yards, with 911.

Miller was drafted by the Brooklyn Tigers of the National Football League (NFL) but did not play professionally because of high blood pressure. He coached briefly at Notre Dame and as an assistant in 1946 for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference before becoming a lawyer practicing in Cleveland. Working with Browns players including Dante Lavelli and Abe Gibron, he helped found the NFLPA in 1956 and served as its first legal counsel. He stayed in the position until 1968, the same year the union was recognized by the NFL. Miller continued to practice law in Cleveland, specializing in maritime and asbestos litigation, until his death in 2002.

Hudson City School District (Ohio)

The Hudson City School District is a school district in Ohio, covering most of Hudson and Boston Heights, and parts of Boston Township and Cuyahoga Falls.

John Sandusky

John Thomas "Sandy" Sandusky, Jr. (December 28, 1925 – March 5, 2006) was an American football player and coach. He played seven seasons as an offensive and defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) during the 1950s for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers before starting a 36-year career as an assistant coach. He was head coach of the Baltimore Colts for part of the 1972 season.

Sandusky grew up in Philadelphia and attended the nearby Villanova University. He played tackle on Villanova's football team and was named a first-team All-American in 1949, his senior year. The Browns selected him in the second round of the 1950 NFL draft. Sandusky played six seasons for the Browns, who won NFL championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955 behind an offense that featured quarterback Otto Graham and end Dante Lavelli. He spent the 1956 season with the Packers before ending his playing career.

Sandusky started coaching at Villanova for two years before being hired as an assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1959. He spent 13 seasons in Baltimore overseeing the offensive and defensive lines under head coaches Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula and Don McCafferty. Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts won an NFL championship in 1959 and beat the Dallas Cowboys to win Super Bowl V in 1970. When McCafferty was fired midway through the 1972 season, Sandusky replaced him as head coach. Sandusky himself was fired after the season, however, and went on to spend three years as an assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by 19 seasons with the Miami Dolphins under Shula. His son Gerry is a radio broadcaster in Baltimore and calls Baltimore Ravens games.

List of Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl selections

This is a list of Cleveland Browns players who were elected to the Pro Bowl.

The year indicates when the game was played, not the season that it followed.

Mac Speedie

Mac Curtis Speedie (January 12, 1920 – March 5, 1993) was an American football end who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL) for seven years, and later served for two years as head coach of the American Football League's Denver Broncos. A tall and quick runner whose awkward gait helped him deceive defenders and get open, Speedie led his league in receptions four times during his career and was selected as a first-team All-Pro six times. His career average of 800 yards per season was not surpassed until two decades after his retirement, and his per-game average of 50 yards went unequalled for 20 years after he left the game.

Speedie grew up in Utah, where he overcame Perthes Disease to become a standout as a hurdler on his high school track team and a halfback on the football team. He attended the University of Utah, where he continued to excel at track and football before entering the military in 1942 during World War II. He spent four years in the service before joining the Browns in 1946, where he played as an end opposite quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and fellow receiver Dante Lavelli. The Browns, a new team in the AAFC, won the league championship every year between 1946 and 1949. The Browns merged into the NFL in 1950 after the AAFC disbanded, and Speedie continued to succeed as the team won another league championship. After two more years with the Browns, however, Speedie left the team for the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU) amid a conflict with Paul Brown, Cleveland's head coach. He played two full seasons in the WIFU and one game in a third season before leaving professional football.

Speedie was hired in 1960 as an end coach for the Houston Oilers in the American Football League (AFL). The Oilers won the AFL championship that year, but Speedie left in 1961 after the head coach, former teammate Lou Rymkus, was fired. He then took a job as an assistant for the AFL's Denver Broncos and was promoted to head coach in 1964. His two-year run with the team was unsuccessful, however. After his resignation in 1966, Speedie became a scout for the Broncos, a job he kept until his retirement in 1982. Despite lobbying by friends and former teammates, Speedie was not selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mr. Clutch

Mr. Clutch is the nickname of:

Francis Arnaiz (born 1951), Filipino basketball player

Glenn Davis (halfback) (1924–2005), American football player

Jalen Hurts (born 1998), American football player

Dante Lavelli (1923–2009), American football player

Pat Tabler (born 1958), American baseball player and sportscaster

Adam Vinatieri (born 1972), American football player

Jerry West (born 1938), American basketball player

National Football League 1940s All-Decade Team

This is a list of all NFL players who had outstanding performances throughout the 1940s and have been compiled together into this fantasy group. The team was selected by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame retroactively in 1969 to mark the league's 50th anniversary.

Notes:

1 Team belonged to both the National Football Conference and the All-America Football Conference at different times

2 The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers were merged into one team for the 1943 season due to World War II

3 Three-time finalist to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Paul Sarringhaus

Paul Richard Sarringhaus (August 13, 1920 – April 7, 1998) was an American football halfback who played two seasons in the National Football League with the Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the ninth round of the 1944 NFL Draft. He played college football at Ohio State University and attended Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ohio.

Tony Adamle

Anthony "Tony" Adamle (May 15, 1924 – October 7, 2000) was a professional American football linebacker and fullback in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and the National Football League (NFL). He played his entire career for the Cleveland Browns before retiring to pursue a medical degree.

Adamle grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and was a star fullback on his Collinwood High School football team. He attended Ohio State University in 1942, but his college career was cut short by World War II. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Adamle returned to finish his education at Ohio State in 1946. He soon dropped out of school, however, and joined the Browns. Cleveland won AAFC championships in each of Adamle's first three years, after which the league folded and the Browns were absorbed by the more established NFL. Cleveland continued to succeed in the NFL, winning the 1950 championship and advancing to the 1951 championship but losing to the Los Angeles Rams. Adamle left the Browns after the 1951 season to pursue a medical degree, but he came out of retirement briefly in 1954 as the Browns won another NFL championship.

Adamle left football for good after the season, earning a medical degree from Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1956. He settled with his family in Kent, Ohio, where he ran a medical practice until his death in 2000. He was a team physician for his local high school and for Kent State University for more than 35 years. Adamle's son Mike played in the NFL as a fullback in the 1970s before retiring and becoming a sports broadcaster.

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