History

History: 1960


Team Photo

The Browns of the late 1950s into the '60s were consistently good.

Just not quite good enough.

For the third straight year, the Browns finished in second place in the Eastern Conference in 1960 and failed to earn a trip to the NFL Championship Game.

All they got instead was a trip to the first Playoff Bowl in Miami, matching the second-place teams in each conference. There they lost 17-16 to their old nemesis from the 1950s, the Detroit Lions.

The Browns were 8-3-1 in 1960, just behind the surprising Philadelphia Eagles, who finished 10-2 and captured their first league title since 1949 with a 17-13 win over the Green Bay Packers.

The Browns split with the Eagles in the first four games of the season, handling them with ease in the opener 41-24 and then being edged by them 31-29 in Week 4. That was the Browns' only defeat in their first five games.

They finished the season with a rush, too, winning their final three contests, including a 48-34 decision in the finale over the two-time defending Eastern champion New York Giants. It was Cleveland's first road victory over the Giants since 1957.

But it wasn't enough to catch the Eagles, because the Browns blew their chances after going 1-2-1 in a four-game stretch in the middle of the year.

They fell 14-10 to a mediocre (5-6-1) Pittsburgh Steelers team, and then, the next week, had to settle for a 17-17 tie with an average (6-5-1) Cardinals club in its first season in St. Louis after moving from Chicago.

The Browns had plenty of offense in 1960. Led by Milt Plum, who had a club-record 110.4 quarterback rating and won the NFL's passing title with 21 touchdown throws and just five interceptions, league rushing leader Jim Brown (1,257 yards), and all-purpose star Bobby Mitchell (506 rushing yards and five TDs, and a team-leading 45 receptions), the Browns scored 41 points or more on four occasions.

There was also Gern Nagler, a wide receiver most Browns fans have never heard of. He was second on the team in catches with 36 (good for three TDs) and led in receiving yards with 616. It was that kind of year, when everyone on offense contributed.

In addition to the season-opening win over the Eagles and the season finale against the Giants, they thrashed the expansion Dallas Cowboys 48-7 and blasted the Chicago Bears 42-0 for their first shutout since 1957.

On the year, the Browns outscored their foes 150-60 in the second quarter alone and scored 362 points overall, averaging a whopping 30.1 per contest.

This marked the first season since their inception in 1946 that the Browns had played without place kicker Lou Groza. He had retired -- but for only a season. He would return in 1961.

The name of his replacement for that 1960 season is a great Browns trivia question. It was Sam Baker, who went on to kick for the Eagles. He hit 12-of-20 field-goal tries in 1960.

Defensively, the Browns had a ton of interceptions - 31, to be exact. Safety Bobby Franklin and cornerback Jim Shofner, who would later be an assistant coach with the Browns and an interim head coach, each had eight. Franklin returned two of his picks for TDs.

In fact, the Browns had -- get this -- six interception returns for scores. Even defensive tackle Bob Gain, a big man at the time at 6-foot-3 and 256 pounds, got in on the action with the only interception return for a TD in his 12-year career.

In the end, though, it was a disappointing year for Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown and his club. The Browns missed the playoffs for the third straight season, the longest such dry spell in club history to that point.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 5-1
at Detroit Lions (24,620) 28-14
at Pittsburgh Steelers (16,360) 27-24
at Los Angeles Rams (48,175) 17-22
San Francisco 49ers at Portland (25,898) 26-24
Chicago Bears at Akron (21,568) 16-10
Detroit Lions (25,911) 14-10
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 8 3 1 .727 0 0 0 .000 8 3 1 .727
 
Postseason Results
Playoff Bowl
Date Opponent Result Score
1/07 Detroit Lions (at Miami) Loss 16-17
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/25 W 41-24 at Philadelphia Eagles 56,303
10/2 W 28-20 Pittsburgh Steelers 67,692
10/16 W 48-7 at Dallas Cowboys 28,500
10/23 L 29-31 Philadelphia Eagles 64,850
10/30 W 31-10 at Washington Redskins 32,086
11/6 L 13-17 New York Giants 82,872
11/13 W 28-27 St. Louis Cardinals 49,192
11/20 L 10-14 at Pittsburgh Steelers 35,215
11/27 T 17-17 at St. Louis Cardinals 26,146
12/4 W 27-16 Washington Redskins 35,211
12/11 W 42-0 Chicago Bears 38,155
12/15 W 48-34 at New York Giants 56,517
Playoff Bowl
1/7 L 16-17 Detroit Lions (at Miami) 34,981

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 59 150 58 95 0 --- 362
Opponents 41 60 48 68 0 --- 217

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 219 208
Rushing 107 92
Passing 96 102
Penalty 16 14
Total Net Yards 3,974 3,806
Avg. Per Game 331.2 317.2
Total Plays 647 724
Avg. Per Play 6.1 5.3
Net Yards Rushing 1,930 1,643
Avg. Per Game 160.8 136.9
Total Rushes 383 405
Net Yards Passing 2,044 2,163
Avg. Per Game 170.3 180.3
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/299 0/207
Gross Yards 2,343 2,370
Attempts/Completions 264/160 319/163
Completion Pct. 60.60% 51.10%
Had Intercepted 5 31
Punts/Avg. 55/42.0 46/45.0
Net Punting Avg. 55/38.7 46/40.5
Penalties/Yards Lost 49/534 48/526
Fumbles/Ball Lost 20/12 27/14
Touchdowns 47 26
Rushing 18 10
Passing 22 15
Returns 7 1

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Baker, Sam 0 0 0 0 44/46 0 0 12/20 0 80
Mitchell, Bobby 5 6 1 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 72
Brown, Jim 9 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 66
Renfro, Ray 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Clarke, Leon 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Browns 18 22 1 6 44/47 0 0 12/20 0 362
Opponents 10 15 1 0 25/26 0 0 12/21 0 217

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 215 1,257 5.8 71t 9
Mitchell, Bobby 111 506 4.6 50 5
Gautt, Prentice 28 159 5.7 23 1
Plum, Milt 17 -24 -1.4 7 2
Caleb, Jamie 8 60 7.5 30 1
Browns 383 1,930 5 71t 18
Opponents 405 1,643 4.1 57 10

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Mitchell, Bobby 45 612 13.6 69t 6
Nagler, Gern 36 616 17.1 53t 3
Renfro, Ray 24 378 15.8 66t 4
Brown, Jim 19 204 10.7 37t 2
Kreitling, Rich 16 316 19.8 69t 3
Browns 160 2,343 14.6 86t 22
Opponents 163 2,370 14.5 70t 15

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Franklin, Bobby 8 131 16.4 37t 2
Shofner, Jim 8 75 9.4 23 0
Parrish, Bernie 6 238 39.7 92t 1
Fleming, Don 5 85 17 30 0
Stephens, Larry 1 34 34 34t 1
Browns 31 624 20.1 92t 6
Opponents 5 58 11.6 30 1

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Baker, Sam 55 2,309 42 0 2 64 0
Browns 55 2,309 42 0 2 64 0
Opponents 46 2,072 45 0 8 75 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Shofner, Jim 11 0 105 9.5 36 0
Mitchell, Bobby 9 0 101 11.2 34 0
Franklin, Bobby 1 0 2 2 2 0
Browns 21 0 208 9.9 36 0
Opponents 24 0 178 7.4 46 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Mitchell, Bobby 17 432 25.4 90t 1
Brown, Jim 14 300 21.4 33 0
Caleb, Jamie 5 90 18 21 0
Gautt, Prentice 3 47 15.7 19 0
Parrish, Bernie 2 0 0 0 0
Browns 45 900 20 90t 1
Opponents 62 1,177 19 55 0

Field Goals
1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Tot

Passing
Att Cmp Yds Pct Av/At TD Td% Int Int% LG Tkld Rating
Plum, Milt 250 151 2,297 60.4 9.19 21 8.4 5 2 86t 0/275 110.4
Dawson, Len 13 8 23 61.5 1.77 0 0 0 0 23 0/24 65.9
Mitchell, Bobby 1 1 23 100 23 1 100 0 0 23t 0/0 158.3
Browns 264 160 2,343 60.6 8.88 22 8.3 5 1.9 86t 0/299 109.5
Opponents 319 163 2,370 51.1 7.43 15 4.7 31 9.7 70t 0/207 51.7