History

History: 1962


Team Photo

Although no one knew it at the time, the 1962 season would be Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Paul Brown's last with the team named for him, the Browns.

Or at least if they knew it, they didn't express so publicly.

Brown was unceremoniously fired in the ensuing offseason after irreconcilable differences with new young team owner Art Modell, who had purchased the club in March 1961.

Firing Paul Brown? Might as well take a wrecking ball to the Terminal Tower, while you're at it, or pave over the area making up Edgewater Park.

Brown wasn't just a football coach. He was much bigger than that. He was, like the Terminal Tower and Edgewater Park, part of the fabric of the community -- a landmark, as it were. When people thought of Cleveland and football, they thought first of Brown, not the Browns.

He really was bigger than the team itself.

Sadly, Browns' final season couldn't be more successful. The Browns finished just 7-6-1, the second-worst record of his 17 years with the club -- the first 17 years of the club's existence.

The fact the Browns did not do better lies largely in the quarterback position. Milt Plum, who had been 30-16-2 in four seasons since he took over as the starter in 1958, got into a squabble with Brown over play calling -- Plum wanted to call his own plays, and Brown was not about to turn that duty over to anyone -- and was dealt to the Detroit Lions following the 1961 season.

Efficient and accurate, just the kind of quarterback Brown liked, Plum had won the NFL passing title in 1960 with a club-record 110.4 quarterback rating.

He was replaced by Jim Ninowski, who had come in the deal with the Lions after originally starting his career in Cleveland, and Frank Ryan, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams.

Ryan would blossom the following year upon being named the full-time starter, and eventually lead the Browns to the NFL title in 1964, while Ninowski would prove to be a capable backup to him.

But in 1962, Brown couldn't decide on a starter and instead used them both almost equally -- with mixed results. They had 17 TD passes and 15 interceptions, and the offense was sporadic.

The lack of a downfield passing game can be found in the fact Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown led the club in receptions for the first - and only - time in his nine-year career. He had 47, good for five touchdowns, also best on the team.

The Browns beat up twice on both the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Cardinals, winning those four games by a combined score of 148-49, but the offense scored 17 or fewer points in eight of the other 10 contests. A humbling 45-21 loss to the second-year Dallas Cowboys didn't help matters, either.

On the other hand, the Browns split with the New York Giants, who would go on to win the second of their three straight Eastern Conference championships. The Cleveland victory was a 17-7 decision at home in the opener, providing a lot of hope that this was going to be the Browns' year.

As evidenced by their final record, it was an up-and-down season for the Browns. They never won - or lost - more than two games in a row. One of those two-game losing streaks followed that win over the Giants in the opener.

And just when it seemed the Browns might make a late-season run at the Giants after winning two in a row to improve to 6-4-1, they promptly lost two straight to the Cowboys and New York (17-13).

But what doesn't show up in the standings is how much the Browns suffered from the effects of a trade they had made earlier that year. They dealt running back Bobby Mitchell to the Washington Redskins to get rookie runner Ernie Davis, the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner. Paul Brown's idea was to have two big backs with Davis and Jim Brown, ala the Green Bay Packers with Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung.

But Davis, who had broken most of Jim Brown's rushing records at Syracuse, became ill with leukemia and never played a down with the Browns, passing away the following year.

Meanwhile, Mitchell, who had proven to be a budding star in Cleveland, went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Redskins. In fact, he scored the game-winning TD late in the fourth quarter in week 2 in his first trip back to Cleveland.

Instead of winning 16-10 and, with the opening win over the Giants, getting off to a fast 2-0 start, they were left at 1-1 wondering what might have been.

It was that kind of season for the Browns.

Looking back, it seems only fitting that Paul Brown's last game as coach of the Browns was a 13-10 win at San Francisco in the 1962 regular-season finale, for it was the 49ers who were the chief rivals of Brown's clubs right from the start in 1946 in the fledging All-America Football Conference.

Steve King,
Staff Writer


YEAR RESULTS
Preseason Results
National Football League: 5-0
at Detroit Lions (34,241) 17-14
Pittsburgh Steelers (77,683) 33-10
San Francisco 49ers at Portland (27,161) 34-27
at Los Angeles Rams (43,118) 26-24
at Chicago Bears (57,878) 28-24
 
Regular Season Results
  Regular Season Playoffs Combined Record
League W L T PCT W L T PCT W L T PCT
NFL 7 6 1 .538 0 0 0 .000 7 6 1 .538
 

Date Result Opponent Att.
9/16 W 17-7 New York Giants 81,115
9/23 L 16-17 Washington Redskins 57,491
9/30 L 7-35 at Philadelphia Eagles 60,671
10/7 W 19-10 Dallas Cowboys 44,040
10/14 L 14-36 Baltimore Colts 80,132
10/21 W 34-7 at St. Louis Cardinals 23,256
10/28 W 41-14 at Pittsburgh Steelers 35,417
11/4 T 14-14 Philadelphia Eagles 63,848
11/11 L 9-7 at Washington Redskins 48,169
11/18 W 38-14 St. Louis Cardinals 41,815
11/25 W 35-14 Pittsburgh Steelers 53,601
12/2 L 21-45 at Dallas Cowboys 24,226
12/9 L 13-17 at New York Giants 62,794
12/15 W 13-10 at San Francisco 49ers 35,274

Score By Periods
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot.
Browns 50 79 60 102 0 --- 291
Opponents 44 54 80 79 0 --- 257

Team Statistics
Browns Opponent
Total First Downs 252 263
Rushing 105 122
Passing 133 125
Penalty 14 16
Total Net Yards 4,306 3,924
Avg. Per Game 307.6 280.3
Total Plays 784 807
Avg. Per Play 5.5 4.9
Net Yards Rushing 1,772 1,940
Avg. Per Game 126.6 138.6
Total Rushes 414 466
Net Yards Passing 2,534 1,984
Avg. Per Game 181 141.7
Sacked/Yards Lost 0/213 0/293
Gross Yards 2,747 2,277
Attempts/Completions 370/200 341/189
Completion Pct. 54.10% 55.40%
Had Intercepted 16 24
Punts/Avg. 45/42.8 56/40.6
Net Punting Avg. 45/40.1 56/38.6
Penalties/Yards Lost 56/600 53/547
Fumbles/Ball Lost 24/17 23/13
Touchdowns 36 34
Rushing 18 17
Passing 17 15
Returns 1 2

Scoring
Ru Pa St Df PAT 2Ru 2Pa FG Saf TP
Brown, Jim 13 5 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 108
Groza, Lou 0 0 0 0 33/35 0 0 14/31 0 75
Renfro, Ray 0 4 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 24
Kreitling, Rich 0 3 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Scales, Charley 3 0 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 18
Collins, Gary 0 2 0 0 0/0 0 0 0/0 0 12
Browns 18 17 0 1 33/36 0 0 14/31 0 291

Rushing
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 230 996 4.3 31 13
Scales, Charley 56 239 4.3 27 3
Wilson, Tom 46 141 3.1 17 1
Ryan, Frank 42 242 5.8 39 1
Green, Ernie 31 139 4.5 45 0
Browns 414 1,772 4.3 45 18
Opponents 466 1,940 4.2 27 17

Receiving
No Yds Avg LG TD
Brown, Jim 47 517 11 53t 5
Kreitling, Rich 44 659 15 53 3
Renfro, Ray 31 638 20.6 65t 4
Brewer, Johnny 22 290 13.2 37 2
Green, Ernie 17 194 11.4 65 1
Browns 200 2,747 13.7 65t 17
Opponents 189 2,277 12 50t 15

Interceptions
No Yds Avg LG TD
Fichtner, Ross 7 76 10.9 31 0
Shofner, Jim 4 86 21.5 35 0
Fiss, Galen 4 81 20.3 40 0
Costello, Vince 3 40 13.3 22 0
Parrish, Bernie 2 37 18.5 37 0
Browns 24 352 14.7 40 0
Opponents 16 161 10.1 39 0

Punting
No Yds Avg In20 TB LG BLK
Collins, Gary 45 1,926 42.8 0 4 64 0
Browns 45 1,926 42.8 0 4 64 0
Opponents 56 2,271 40.6 0 5 78 0

Punt Returns
No FC Yds Avg LG TD
Cassady, Howard 7 3 47 6.7 13 0
Shofner, Jim 8 11 33 4.1 9 0
Green, Ernie 5 4 31 6.2 10 0
Browns 20 18 111 5.6 13 0
Opponents 15 16 121 8.1 38 0

Kickoff Returns
No Yds Avg LG TD
Green, Ernie 13 250 19.2 41 0
Wilson, Tom 11 307 27.9 46 0
Cassady, Howard 10 233 23.3 33 0
Scales, Charley 9 154 17.1 22 0
Tidmore, Sam 2 39 19.5 31 0
Browns 46 983 21.4 46 0
Opponents 49 1,098 22.4 66 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
Ryan, Frank 194 112 1,541 57.7 7.94 10 5.2 7 3.6 65t 0/156 85.4
Ninowski, Jim 173 87 1,178 50.3 6.81 7 4 8 4.6 53t 0/57 66.6
Brown, Jim 2 1 28 50 14 0 0 0 0 28 0/0 95.8
Scales, Charley 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 100 0 0/0 0
Browns 370 200 2,747 54.1 7.42 17 4.6 16 4.3 65t 0/213 75.4
Opponents 341 189 2,277 55.4 6.68 15 4.4 24 7 50t 0/293 61.4