The Browns had already moved on to the NFL about a month before, but on Jan. 23, 1950, it was time to look back -- maybe for one last time -- at their former league, the All-America Football Conference.
It was on that day that quarterback Otto Graham was named the Most Valuable Player of the AAFC for 1949, the league’s final year of existence. He was presented the award at a Cleveland Touchdown Club meeting at the Cleveland Athletic Club.
The 1949 Browns won their fourth AAFC championship, all with Graham at quarterback. He completed 161-of-285 passes (56.5 percent) for 2,785 yards and 19 touchdowns with 10 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 97.5. He also rushed for 107 yards and four TDs as the Browns finished 9-1-2 to win the Western Division crown. They then defeated the Buffalo Bills, 31-21, in a first-round playoff game and went on to beat the San Francisco 49ers 21-7 in the league title contest.
The Browns, 49ers and Baltimore Colts were the AAFC teams being absorbed into the NFL for 1950, and interestingly enough, the league also announced on Jan. 23 that Cleveland would be placed into the American Conference. San Francisco and Baltimore would go to the National Conference.
As such, the Browns would be in the same conference with the two-time defending NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins.
The American would be renamed the Eastern Conference in 1953. But the conference’s name change didn’t matter to the Browns. They just kept winning.
With Graham at the controls, they won the conference championship in their first six seasons (1950-55) in the NFL, and earned the league title three times.
After leading the 1955 Browns to their second consecutive league crown with a 38-14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, Graham retired. In his 10 seasons beginning in 1946, all with the Browns, he had pulled off the unprecedented feat of taking the team to 10 straight league championship games, with seven crowns.
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