TBT: The 1955 Cleveland Browns and the end of a dynasty


Sep 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns helmet on the field before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of Cleveland sports history knows that Cleveland fans have been waiting, sometimes patiently sometimes not, for one of the local teams to bring home a championship.

We are now 50 years and counting since the town last celebrated a title, although the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently doing their best to bring a championship parade back to downtown Cleveland.

It is only fitting that the town’s undisputed No. 1 team — the Cleveland Browns – were the last Cleveland club to win a championship, beating the Baltimore Colts in the 1964 NFL Championship.

While that was the most recent title for the Browns, it is not the lone championship in franchise history, of course, and this fall the club will mark the anniversary of another title team.

This week we’re starting a Throwback Thursday feature on the 1955 season, highlighting games, coaches and players from that championship year. Today we’ll take a look at the season overall.

In 1955, the Browns won their second consecutive NFL title, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 38-14 in the championship game before 85,693 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (The Browns have only won one road playoff game since that day.) It was the third time in six years that the Browns and Rams faced each other in the title game, with the Browns taking two-of-three from the former occupants of Municipal Stadium.

That championship season marked the end of a dynasty the likes of which the NFL will never see again. It was the Browns’ 10th consecutive title game appearance and seventh championship — four in the All-American Football Conference and three in the NFL.

It was also the last championship won by the tandem of head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. Brown would only lead the team to one more title game, a loss to Detroit in 1957, before being fired after the 1962 season, while Graham retired following the 1955 title game.

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After losing the season opener, the Browns went on a six-game winning streak and would only lose one more time all season, finishing the year with a record of 9-2-1

In his 10th season, Graham had the offense running at full power, especially late in the season as they averaged 37.8 points over the final five games of the year, and breaking the 30-point mark seven times. The Browns had a balanced attack on offense, averaging 168.3 rushing yards and 162.5 passing yards per game.

The defense was just as dominant, allowing just 18.2 points per game and averaging more than two interceptions each week. The Browns also only allowed 99.1 rushing yards per game.

For the second consecutive year, the defense led the league in fewest points allowed and fewest total yards allowed, the first time that had happened in NFL history.

Sixty years ago this fall, that Browns team kicked off what would ultimately be a championship season that, in some ways, has been overshadowed by time and the 1964 squad.

Hopefully, over the next few months, we can shine a light on the players and coaches that made up the final team of the greatest dynasty in NFL history.

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