To continue our celebration of the franchise's 75th anniversary, we're launching "Browns Countdown: Top 75 Moments" presented by Bridgestone. Over the next month, through videos, articles and more, we'll be highlighting the top 75 moments in Browns history. Our video tributes, which will be available at ClevelandBrowns.com, the Browns' mobile app and the Browns' official YouTube Channel, will dive deep into the top 20 while our articles will put the spotlight on a number of different moments that are sprinkled throughout the top 75.
We're moving down to No. 53, which highlights the best rushing performance in Cleveland Browns history and one of the best special teams performances of all time.
As Jerome Harrison exited the field after recording 286 rushing yards Dec. 20, 2009 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jim Brown was there to meet him.
Harrison, the four-year veteran, had eclipsed the single-game franchise rushing record held by Brown, the Hall of Famer regarded by many as arguably the best rusher of all time.
The historical performance helped push the Browns to a 43-34 win over the Chiefs and skyrocketed Harrison into the franchise record books. Browns' record of 237 yards had stood since reached the mark twice — the first in 1957, and again in 1961.
"I made sure I came down early to be able to greet Mr. Harrison," said Brown. "These young people deserve credit when they do something that great, especially under these circumstances. My heart goes out to him. I respect him a lot."
Harrison wasn't the only Browns player to make history that day.
Josh Cribbs etched his name into the record books as well. He recorded a 100-yard return in the first quarter to give Cleveland a 10-3 lead and passed Mel Gray, Dante Hall, Ollie Matson, Gale Sayers and Travis Williams for the most touchdown kickoff returns in NFL history.
In the second quarter, Cribbs breezed by the Chiefs again with a career-best 103-yard touchdown return, matching Ted Ginn Jr. as the only players with two 100-yard returns in one game.
"Every single time I touch the football I'm like, 'Hey, I'm going to go. Not just good field position, but this is going back to the house,"' he said a few days after the game. "My eyes light up, it's like a kid on Christmas Day every time I get the ball."
For Cribbs, who ended his career with 11 kickoff and punt returns, the performance sent him to the top of the list of all-time greatest returns — if he wasn't already there before.
"I don't think it's arguable anymore," Browns head coach Eric Mangini. "I think he's won that argument."
For Harrison, who had never run for more than 121 yards in a game in his life, the historical performance ensured his name would be remembered throughout Browns history for decades to come.
And the predecessor on the record board was just fine with moving down a notch so Harrison could have the honor.
"The record's not doing me any good," Brown said with a laugh. "But it's going to do him a lot of good."
Earlier this year, the Browns commissioned a panel of historians, alumni and journalists to rank the top 75 moments in Browns history. The group met multiple times to discuss the moments and each member submitted their own final rankings, which were averaged against each other to create the ultimate list.
Building the Top 75 from the bottom up
53. Jerome Harrison breaks Jim Brown's single game franchise rushing record on Dec. 20, 2009 with 286 yards rushing in a 41-34 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. In the same game Josh Cribbs becomes the second player in NFL history to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in the same game.
54. Browns defeat Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-22, on Jan. 3, 2021, to end NFL's longest playoff drought of 18 years.
55. Browns avenge their first championship game loss to the Los Angeles Rams in 1951 by crushing the Rams in a rematch 37-7 on Oct. 7, 1952.
56. Cleveland Browns draft Joe Thomas on April 28, 2007.
57. Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham is elbowed in the face by a Detroit Lions defender in the first half, and after receiving 15 stitches and a lucite face mask, he comes back in the second half to defeat the Lions, 23-21, on Nov. 15, 1953. Graham's injury helped kickstart the widespread use of facemasks in the NFL.
59. In the first meeting of Jim Brown vs. Johnny Unitas, the Cleveland Browns prevail in a 38-31 shootout against the Baltimore Colts on Nov. 1, 1959. The game also pits Weeb Ewbank against his mentor Paul Brown. Brown rushed for 178 yards and scored five touchdowns while Unitas threw for 397 yards in defeat.
60. Browns clinch a wildcard playoff berth on Dec. 18, 1988, behind backup quarterback Don Strock, who threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-23 victory over the Houston Oilers
61. Blanton Collier replaces Paul Brown as head coach. Collier coached the Browns when they won the 1964 championship.
62. Paul Brown debuts first radio helmet 1956 with QB George Ratterman.
63. Josh Gordon becomes first wide receiver in NFL history with back-to-back 200-yard games on Dec. 1, 2013.
64. Nick Chubb breaks the Browns franchise record for longest run by scoring a 92-yard touchdown Nov. 11, 2018, in a 28-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The previous record was held by Bobby Mitchell.
65. Phil Dawson retires from the NFL as a Cleveland Brown. Dawson signed with the Browns in 1999 and kicked for the Browns for 14 years.
66. Browns defeat the Baltimore Ravens for the first time on Oct. 21, 2001.
67. Bobby Mitchell rushes for 232 yards on 14 carries for an incredible 16.6-yard average in a Cleveland Browns 31-17 win against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 15, 1959.
68. Browns' fans create numerous music ballads that are played on Cleveland radio to celebrate the teams resurgence in the late 1980s. Songs include "Oh Bernie Bernie," "Super Bowl Browns" and "Born and Raised on the Browns."
69. Browns defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 21-20, on Dec. 8, 2002 with a 50-yard Hail Mary from Tim Couch to Quincy Morgan with no time left. Couch becomes the only quarterback to have two game-winning passes of 50 yards or more with no time left on the clock.
70. Browns defeat the Buffalo Bills 8-0 in a blizzard and clinch a winning record on Dec. 16, 2007. Phil Dawson kicks two field goals and the Browns record a safety.
71. Browns draft Baker Mayfield 1st overall in 2018.
72. Browns clinch an Eastern Conference title by crushing the New York Giants 52-20 on Dec. 12, 1964.
73. Browns move into first place of the AFC Central Division after defeating the Houston Oilers on Dec. 15, 1985. The Browns would go on to win the AFC Central for the first time since 1980
74. Jeff Garcia and Andre Davis combine to tie the NFL record for the longest pass in NFL history of 99 yards in a Cleveland Browns 34-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 17, 2004.
75. Hanford Dixon intercepts Terry Bradshaw three times in 1982 Browns win over Steelers.