December 27, 1964: Cleveland Browns Win NFL Championship!

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A Brief History

On December 27, 1964, the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship, by itself not that earth shattering, but it marked the end of an era.

Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find the Cleveland Browns at that time as the most successful NFL franchise, having won the highest percentage of their games.

Winning the All America Conference title all 4 years of its existence (a football league not affiliated with the NFL), the Browns joined the NFL in 1950 and continued their winning ways.  The Browns played in every championship game from 1950 to 1955 and won three of them.

With Jim Brown, the greatest football player of all time (and a college All-American at lacrosse as well!), the Browns stayed near the top of the NFL most years and won the championship game in 1964.

Sadly, it was not to last.  Losing the NFL championship game 3 times in the 1960s after their 1964 success, they failed twice to make it to what is now known as the Super Bowl.  They remain to this day one of only a few teams never to make it to a Super Bowl!

The 1970s were dark times indeed for the Browns as they reached new (for the time) lows.  In the 1980s, they incredibly played the Denver Broncos 3 times for the AFC championship, which would have put them in the Super Bowl, only to break their fans’ hearts each time.

The even more gut wrenching moving of the team to Baltimore in 1995 was a crushing blow to a city (and area) that had become economically downtrodden and was in dire need of a lift.

Spurred with the building of a new stadium courtesy of taxpayers, a new Cleveland Browns franchise started in 1999. Despite their beautiful new home, the new Browns have not done well, and at times have been ridiculously bad.

How could a team go 49 years without a championship?  Or at least making it to the Super Bowl?  Well, the Cleveland Indians have not won a World Series since 1948, 65 years ago!  (They were in the World Series in 1954, 1995, and 1997.)  With the Cleveland Cavaliers starting play in 1970, they took 37 years to make it to the NBA Championship Series and got blown away!

Many Clevelanders have never experienced a major championship in their entire lives.  Sports does not seem like such a big deal to non-fans, but just wait to see how those people act and feel if their city’s team wins the big one! Cleveland has waited a long time, and they are due.  (Honorable mention: Chicago Cubs, but Chicago has had Bears and Bulls and White Sox!)

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you root for the Browns?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information on this great moment in sports history, please read:

Pluto, Terry.  Browns Town 1964: The Cleveland Browns and the 1964 Championship.  Gray & Company, Publishers, 2003.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.