Golden Football Magazine
1951: Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Rams
This series covers the history of the NFL through the prism of its yearly championship games.
Note: The gray boxes contain asides that provide interesting material but could be skipped without losing the continuity of the article.

Norm Van Brocklin

Otto Graham

Elroy Hirsch

Dick Hoerner

Dan Towler
After just one season in the NFL, the Baltimore franchise that came over from the AAFC folded.
  • The players on the team were made available in the 1951 draft.
  • The chief acquisition from the Colts was QB Y. A. Tittle, whom the 49ers selected with their first round pick.
  • Now the American and National Conferences contained six teams each.

No major rules changes were enacted.

  • No offensive tackle, guard, or center would be eligible to catch or touch a forward pass.
  • Aluminum cleats were banned.

Browns fans received a scare in the off-season.

  • Coach Paul Brown interviewed for the vacant position at Ohio State, where he had coached from 1941-43. However, the board selected Woody Hayes.
  • With only six new faces, the Browns were essentially the same team that validated their status as one of football's greatest teams by capturing the 1950 NFL champion­ship in their first season in the league after taking all four titles of the defunct AAFC.
  • After losing their first game at San Francisco 24-10, Cleveland won all eleven re­maining games, including two hard-fought 14-13 and 10-0 battles over the team that beat them twice in 1950, the New York Giants.
  • The Browns led the league in fewest points allowed with 152 (12.3 per game).

The National Conference also had a repeat winner.

  • The Los Angeles Rams had 13 rookies but kept their offensive core intact to once again lead the NFL in points scored, averaging 32.7 per game.
  • With four losses, including one to Cleveland, the Rams didn't seem the equal of the Browns.
  • Norm Van Brocklin, who shared the QB position with Bob Waterfield, threw for 554y in the season opener against the New York Yankees to break the record for yardage in a single game by nearly 100.
  • Second-year coach Joe Stydahar had needed his experience as a tackle for George Halas's Bears because he entered the season without a single veteran at his old position. But he found and trained winners on both sides of the ball.

Players from the two teams dominated the league's passing statistics.

  • Passing Yards
    2. Otto Graham, Cle - 2205
    4. Norm Van Brocklin, LA - 1725
    5. Bob Waterfield, LA - 1566
  • Completion %
    2. Graham - 55.5
    5. Van Brocklin - 51.5
  • touchdown Passes
    2. Graham - 17
  • INT Percentage
    3. Van Brocklin - 5.7
    4. Waterfield - 5.7
  • Receptions
    1. Elroy Hirsch, LA - 66
    5. Dante Lavelli, Cle - 43
  • Receiving Yards
    1. Hirsch - 1496 (NFL record)
  • Receiving Average
    1. Hirsch - 22.7
    4. Dub Jones, Cle - 19.0
    5. Mac Speedie, Cle - 17.3
  • Receiving touchdowns
    1. Hirsch - 17 (tied Don Hutson's record)
  • Total touchdowns
    1. Hirsch - 17
    2. Jones - 12
  • Total Points
    1. Hirsch - 102
    2. Waterfield - 98

The Browns were favored by seven points to take their sixth straight pro title.

  • The weather was expected to be much improved over the rain-soaked day of the 1949 finale between the Eagles and Rams. In fact, the temperature reached 70 when the Browns practiced at Pasadena City College on Saturday before attending a movie in the evening. Stydahar gave his Rams the day off. If our boys can rise to the occasion, we'll have a good chance to win. But we'll have to be at our absolute peak because we know the Browns always are in a championship game.
  • After losing the previous two championship games, the Rams were anxious to beat the Browns for the first time.
  • Both teams had large, fast backs who supplemented the dangerous passing attacks. Ram coach Joe Stydahar had employed his "Bull Elephant Backfield" consisting of three of the best fullbacks in the league: Dick Hoerner (220 lb), Deacon Dan Towler (225), and Paul "Tank" Younger (225). The three had pounded out 1,646y with Towler gaining over half the total (854y). The trio had particularly excelled in the late-season matchup at Chicago when they combined for 338y in the 42-17 victory. All three aided the passing game with their blocking and receiving as safety valves.
  • The Browns tended to utilize a shorter passing game than the Rams as evidenced by Cleveland's 12.6 yards-per-completion compared to LA's 16.9.
  • Could the Browns control the ball and keep the high-powered Ram offense off the field? Which team would put more pressure on the opposing quarterback?
  • The Cleveland defense had held Hirsch to his lowest output of the season October 7 - 69y although 34 of those came on a touchdown pass early in the game. But pay too much atten­tion to Hirsch, and you'll get burned by Tom Fears, who had 32 receptions for 528y despite playing only seven games because of injuries. Also, the pre-Elephant Back­field Rams had gained only 88y on the ground that day.
  • Unknown to the public, the headstrong Van Brocklin had earned a spot in Styda­har's doghouse by ignoring a running play the coach sent in during the last regular season game. He was pulled from that contest immediately and replaced by Water­field.
1951 Cleveland Browns

1951 Cleveland Browns
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
20 Hal Herring C 6-1 210 Auburn 3
22 Frank Gatski C 6-3 233 Marshall 6
24 Tommy Thompson C 6-1 221 William & Mary 3
30 Bill Willis G 6-2 213 Ohio State 6
32 Lin Houston G 6-0 213 Ohio State 6
34 Abe Gibron G 5-11 243 Valparaiso/Purdue 3
35 Alex Agase G 5-10 212 Purdue 5
38 Bob Gaudio G 5-10 220 Ohio State 4
42 Derrell Palmer T 6-2 240 TCU 6
44 Lou Rymkus T 6-4 231 Notre Dame 7
45 John Kissell DT 6-3 245 Boston College 4
46 Lou Groza T 6-3 240 Ohio State 6
48 Forrest Grigg T 6-2 294 Tulsa 6
49 John Sandusky DT 6-1 250 Villanova 3
50 Bob Oristaglio E 6-2 214 Pennsylvania 3
52 George Young E 6-3 214 Baldwin-Wallace 6
53 Len Ford DE 6-4 245 Morgan St./Michigan 4
56 Dante Lavelli E 6-0 191 Ohio State 6
58 Mac Speedie E 6-3 203 Utah 6
59 Horace Gillom E 6-1 221 Ohio State 5
60 Otto Graham QB 6-1 196 Northwestern 6
62 Cliff Lewis DB 5-11 170 Duke 6
70 Emerson Cole FB 6-2 215 Toledo 2
72 Chick Jagade FB 6-0 213 Indiana 2
74 Tony Adamle FB 6-0 215 Ohio State 5
76 Marion Motley FB 6-1 232 South Carolina St. 6
80 Warren Lahr HB 5-11 189 Western Reserve 3
82 Tommy James DB 5-10 185 Ohio State 4
84 Ken Carpenter DB 6-0 195 Oregon State 2
86 Dub Jones HB 6-4 202 LSU/Tulane 6
90 Rex Bumgardner HB 5-11 193 West Virginia 4
96 Don Shula DB 5-11 190 John Carroll 1
98 Carl Taseff DB 5-11 192 John Carroll 1
1951 Los Angeles Rams
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
7 Bob Waterfield QB 6-1 200 UCLA 7
10 Tom Keane E 6-1 190 Ohio State 4
11 Stan West G-C 6-2 235 Oklahoma 2
13 Tank Younger FB 6-3 225 Grambling State 3
24 Tommy Kalmanir HB 5-8 170 Pittsburgh 3
25 Norm Van Brocklin QB 6-1 190 Oregon 3
26 Bill Lange G 6-1 240 Dayton 1
27 Marvin Johnson DB 5-11 183 San Jose State 1
30 Woodley Lewis DB 6-0 185 Oregon 2
31 Dick Hoerner FB 6-4 220 Iowa 5
32 Dan Towler FB 6-2 225 Washington & Jeff. 2
33 Jerry Williams HB 5-10 175 Idaho 3
40 Elroy Hirsch E 6-2 190 Wisconsin 6
41 Glenn Davis HB 5-9 172 Army 2
42 Herb Rich DB 5-11 180 Vanderbilt 2
50 Leon McLaughlin C 6-2 228 UCLA 1
52 Joe Reid C 6-3 225 LSU 1
55 Tom Fears E 6-2 215 Santa Clara 4
56 Jack Zilly E 6-2 212 Notre Dame 5
57 Don Paul LB 6-1 228 UCLA 4
58 Jack Finlay G 6-1 217 UCLA 5
63 Larry Brink E 6-5 240 Northern Illinois 4
67 Dick Daugherty G 6-1 220 Oregon 1
70 Charlie Toogood T 6-0 232 Nebraska 1
71 Tom Dahms T 6-5 240 San Diego State 1
72 Bobby Collier T 6-3 230 SMU 1
73 Jack Halliday T 6-3 240 SMU 1
76 Don Simensen T 6-2 220 St. Thomas 1
77 Vitamin Smith HB 5-8 180 Abilene Christian 3
78 Jim Winkler T 6-2 250 Texas A&M 1
80 Bob Boyd E/DB 6-2 200 Loyola Marymount 2
84 Andy Robustelli DE 6-1 230 Arnold 1
86 Norb Hecker DB 6-2 193 Baldwin-Wallace 1
Both teams came into the game physically sound.
  • The Dumont network paid $75,000 to telecast the game, the first champion­ship clash to be seen coast to coast (although parts of the South, like New Orleans, would not receive the coaxial cable until the summer of 1952).
  • The Liberty Broadcasting system provided nationwide radio coverage.
  • The temperature stayed around 70, and the game started in bright sunshine. However, clouds rolled in later in the afternoon. All in all, Los Angeles enjoy­ed the best weather ever for an NFL title game.
  • An NFL title game record crowd of 59,475 showed up at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Though short of the 70,000 that was anticipated and 8,000 less than attended the regular season game between the two teams, the num­ber still was over 35,000 more than sat through persistent rain in the title game in the Coli­seum two years earlier.

Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoon day of championship game

Dub Jones

Larry Brink

Hirsch snares a pass in front of Lewis.

Andy Robustelli

Motley sets sails in Q2 after receiving screen pass.

Jones scores Browns' first touchdown.

Brink clobbers Graham, causing fumble.

Robustelli scoops up pigskin. Motley at the left chases Andy down.

Towler scores in the third quarter.

Marv Johnson returns interception to the one.

Bill Willis

Graham runs down the sidelines for 32y.

Carpenter scores the tying touchdown.

Fears sets sail for end zone as the
safeties collide.

Quarter 1
Ken Carpenter returns Woodley Lewis's kickoff to the 23 for the Browns. Determined to improve their rushing defense after giving up 293y on the ground in the regular season loss to Cleveland, LA deploys a seven man front as both linebackers are standing up on the line of scrimmage between the down linemen. After Dub Jones gains one on a pitchout, Otto Graham connects with Mac Speedie for 12y and a first down. Otto throws again, this time to his other end, Lavelli, to the Cleveland 49. Motley slams up the middle to the 45. Graham goes back to pass but rolls away from the rush to the 35. Jones fumbles the handoff but recovers immediately at the line of scrimmage. Graham fires over the middle to Lavelli who catches on his knees at the 19. LB Don Paul hits Jones after a 1y advance. Graham fades back, but 240lb LE Larry Brink hits him as he throws, the ball falling far short of Lavelli. Motley smashes up the middle to the 17. On 4th-and-seven, Groza tries a 23y field goal that sails wide left.
From the 20, "Tank" Younger gains one before Dan Towler swings around right end to the 30. First down. DE Len Ford stops Younger for just 1y again. QB Bob Waterfield pitches out to Towler around the left side for another yard. Waterfield, back to pass, instead runs for six as Tony Adamle brings him down. Waterfield punts to Cliff Lewis who returns 13y to the 34.
Graham connects with Lavelli for 17 to the LA 49. But two incompletions and a short run force Horace Gillom to come in and launch a towering punt that is fair caught on the 12.
After giving to Towler for four, Waterfield throws for Tom Keane, but Tommy James almost intercepts. Towler slashes up the middle for 7y and a first down on the 23. Younger slams off left tackle for 14 and another first down. After an incompetion, Waterfield, under pressure, hits Hirsch for 20 to the Cleveland 43. Towler is thrown for a loss, but the Browns are guilty of holding. After an incompletion, Bob arches the pigskin to Elroy Hirsch too long inside the 10. The Browns are doing an excellent job of covering LA's two outstanding receivers, Hirsch and Fears. Waterfield takes the next snap and evades the rush for two. Then he punts into the end zone.
With the Rams massed in the middle, Graham decides to get the ball to Motley with a screen pass in the left flat for 7y, but the gain is nullified by backfield in motion. Carpenter picks up four around right end. But DE Andy Robustelli throws Otto for 3y loss. A pitchout to Jones to the left gains only one as Paul makes another tackle. So Gillom punts to Vitamin T. Smith, who fair catches on the LA 45 as the quarter ends. Rams 0 Browns 0

Quarter 2
The Rams finally mount a scoring drive although it starts shakily. Younger fumbles, but Keane recovers for a 4y gain. Towler is held to no gain by Adamle. Waterfield flips to Smith over the middle for 18 to the Browns 33. Then Smith swings wide around left end, but James nails him for a 5y loss. Waterfield tosses a middle screen to FB Dick Hoerner to the 24. On third-and-one, Smith cuts back for seven and a first down on the 17. Then the same play nets three more. After overthrowing Fears in the end zone, Waterfield throwns an incompletion to Smith, but interference is called on Adamle to place the ball at the 12. The Rams then run the ball four straight times: Hoerner for four, Smith for two, and Towler around right end to the one, where he is driven out of bounds. On 4th-and-goal, Hoerner pushes over up the middle to draw first blood. Waterfield boots the PAT. Rams 7 Browns 0

Towler runs to the one to set up touchdown as Lahr eludes Hirsch's block.
Carpenter comes out of the end zone and down the sideline with the kickoff to the 20, where he fumbles but recovers back at the 14. Graham to Speedie across the middle for 17. Graham-Speedie again out of bounds six inches short of the first down at the 41. Carpenter plunges to the 43 to move the chains. A screen pass to Ken picks up 17 to the LA 40. Then Graham throws long to Jones, but Marvin Johnson breaks it up on the five. Otto retreats to pass again but is sacked by Robustelli for a 6y loss. The next play produces the same result, but this time the other big end, Brink, is responsible for a 9y loss. Gillom punts, Smith fair catching at the 18. Waterfield tries to get the ball to Hirsch in vain. Then Bob throws down the middle. DB Warren Lahr leaps and steals the ball from Crazy Legs on the Cleveland 45.
Graham throws to Speedie for 10. Then Johnson. a thorn in the Browns' side all day, breaks up a pass to Jones. So Otto goes to Carpenter who drops the ball. Graham tries Ken again, but he loses control while being tackled. So Groza lines up for a 52y field goal that soars easily through the uprights to eclipse the championship game record by 10y. Rams 7 Browns 3
After a touchback on the kickoff, Hoerner pile drives up the middle for two. Waterfield throws two incompletions to force a punt out of bounds at the Cleveland 46.
Energized by the field goal, the Browns score in three plays. Graham hits Speedie for 14 to LA 40. Then a left screen to Motley, who rolls out of bounds on the 17. Taking the next snap, Graham rolls right and throws to Jones who takes the ball on the run at the three and ambles into the end zone. Groza's PAT succeeds. Browns 10 Rams 7 with 2:30 on the clock.
If any team can score with so little time on the clock, it's the Rams. From the 20 after a touchdback, Waterfield throws long for Hirsch, but the ball sails out of bounds. After Towler drops a screen pass, Davis takes a flare pass for 11 and a first down. Bob hits Hirsch to the 46. A pass down the left sideline to Davis flies too long. Following a loss of two by Smith around left end, the Waterfield-Hirsch combo puts the ball on the Cleveland 39. Bob fires to Fears for 18 with 58 seconds left. Adamle tackles Davis for a loss of two on a flat pass. Waterfield throws under heavy pressure to Fears, but James intercepts on the one as the half ends.
Browns 10 Rams 7

Quarter 3
Jerry Williams takes Groza's kickoff on the five and returns to the 26. Waterfield spins and hands to Davis up the middle for four. On the next snap, Bob does a double spin, faking to Glenn and handing to Towler who runs around right end for three. Towler totes again for five and a fresh set of downs at the 38. After Smith is smacked down by Hal Herring for a loss of three, Davis trudges over right tackle to the 40. Waterfield throws to Hirsch streaking over the middle for 14. But the march ends abruptly when Thompson crashes head-on into Towler, Deacon Dan fumbling and Herring recovering on his 41.
But after an incompletion, Brink breaks through and horse-collars Graham who was back to pass, knocking the ball loose. Rookie RE Andy Robustelli scoops up the pigskin on the 30, juggles it as he heads toward pay dirt, drops the ball, picks it up on the run, and continues until Motley tackles him on the two.
Robustelli on his fumble return: I never got a really good grip on the ball because I just grabbed it off-balance and began to run. I stumbled as soon as I started, and it seemed I kept stumbling all the way down the field, trying the keep the ball in my grasp.
It takes three tries, but Towler finally rams over right tackle into the end zone with nine minutes remaining. Rams 14 Browns 10

Towler scores the Rams' second touchdown.
Lewis kicks to Carpenter 5y in the end zone. Ken returns nicely to the 27. Motley fights and twists up the center of the 7-4 defense for four hard-earned yards. Graham tosses short over the middle to Jones running free for a 26y gain. Motley hits the middle for one measly yard. Carpenter then drops another pass. Graham lofts a long one to Lavelli that is deflected into the hands of Williams, who returns from his 23 to the 33.
But the Rams go three-and-out, Waterfield booting to Carpenter who careens forward 6y to the 23 only to have a clipping penalty put the ball back on the nine.
Graham pitches out to Jones, who fumbles, picks it up on the first bounce, and salvages a 2y gain around right end. After an incompletion and an offside penalty, Otto throws down-and-out to Lavelli to the 30 for a first down. Taking the next snap, Graham arches one a little too long to Carpenter behind the defense. Then the pride of Northwestern flips a flat pass that is almost intercepted by a diving Herb Rich. Speedie catches the next pass on the ground at the 40. Motley jumps over the line and rambles for 11, his longest gain of the day, to the enemy 49. Graham throws to Speedie wide open at the 23, and Mac waltzes into the end zone. However, a holding penalty, Groza on Robustelli, moves the pigskin to the 25. The Browns continue backwards as Andy corrals Graham for a loss of 11. Otto passes to Lavelli, but Williams knocks it away. Perhaps because his arm is tired, Graham gives to Jones around left end, but Bob Boyd tackles Dub after just a 1y gain. So the Rams take over after a fair catch on the Cleveland 49.
Stydahar inserts a fresh pitcher, young Norm Van Brocklin replacing the tiring Waterfield. The change immediately pays off when, after an incompletion to Hirsch, Norm fires a pass to Fears on the run at the 20. Tom is tackled at the 10 but gets up and fights his way to the one. But the defense, with Motley in at linebacker, bows its back. The white suits stop Hoerner cold, then toss Towler for successive one and 2y losses.
Because of a penalty, the Rams find themselves facing 4th down back at the 16 as the period ends. Rams 14 Browns 10

Quarter 4
Davis kneels to take the field goal snap but tries to run with the ball. The Browns aren't fooled and stop him at the 18. As the jubilant defenders leave the field, little do they know that they will be forced to make another stand in a few plays.
Graham flips to Jones for a 5y gain. Then, under the heavy rush he experienced all afternoon, Otto throws the ball away over Lavelli's head. The next pass goes right into the hands of Johnson on the 36. Marvin runs untouched down the sideline until Jones knocks him out of bounds at the one.
Van Brocklin hands to Hoerner, who gains a half yard at left tackle. The same play gains even less on second down. Van takes the snap as soon as he steps under center, but his sneak meets a stone wall. A flag for backfield in motion puts the pigskin back to the six. Norm throws in the flat to Davis for -1. Ready to settle for the field goal this time, the Rams take a 5y penalty for too much time in the huddle to give Waterfield a better angle. Bob splits the uprights. Rams 17 Browns 10
Waterfield's field goal goes through the uprights.
Lewis's kick flies between those same uprights to Carpenter 5y deep. Ken snakes his way to the 30. Expecting the Browns to pass, Stydahar pulls his linebackers and goes with seven defensive backs. Eschewing the run anyway, Graham throws to Speedie, who steps out of bounds at his 48. Following two incompletions to Jones. Otto rolls right but, not finding an open receiver, turns back to his left and, helped by timely blocks, rambles 32y down the sideline to the 18. The momentum continues as Carpenter gains five, and Graham takes the snap, pauses a moment, and sneaks to the 11. Then the dependable Jones finds a hole through left guard for 1st-and-goal at the five. Dub carries a pitch around right end to the one. Graham tries the delayed sneak again, but no hole opens, and DT Jim Winkler stops him for a yard loss. On third down, Carpenter fights into the end zone at right tackle. Groza kicks the tying point with 7:50 left. Rams 17 Browns 17
After a touchback, Davis swings around right end for two but offside on Cleveland changes the gain to five and saves the down. Then comes the Play of the Game, indeed the Play of the Year.
The LA coaching staff had discovered a weakness in the Cleveland pass defense that they could exploit. The Browns safeties were taught to key on the fullback and shift toward the side he lined up on.
When the ball is snapped, LE Fears, lined up on the side opposite the fullback, starts downfield covered by Cliff Lewis, who was right with him. Van Brocklin arches a beautiful pass that Fears catches in stride at midfield just out of the reach of Lewis and the other safety, James, who had shifted a bit to the other side of the field. To make matters worse, the two safeties knock each other offstrideas they go for the ball. Tom easily outraces James to the end zone. Rams 24 Browns 17
Fears said of the touchdown: That was the best thrown pass I ever caught in my life. He laid it right in there when I was going full stride.
Afterward Lewis felt he had cost his team the game on the touchdown, but Lahr came to his defense. He missed by an eyelash [of knocking the ball down]. It was that close.
James, the other safety, also took some of the blame. I should have played Fears and made the tackle. But I thought I had a good chance to get it [the ball].
With eight minutes remaining, the visitors have plenty of time to strike back as they did to pull out the '50 title game. But on the first play after Carpenter's 26y return to the 28, Graham, visibly weary with no backup the caliber of Van Brocklin and under a heavy rush, throws a pass directly into Don Paul's hands on the 40. The linebacker bulls his way to the 14.
But the Cleveland defense rises to the occasion again. Two runs for -2 and a Van Brocklin incompletion force another short field goal attempt that can put the game away. But G Bill Willis blocks Waterfield's boot from the 23, the pigskin rolling out of bounds at the 38.
With plenty of time - five minutes - to move the ball downfield with short passes as they had all game, Graham overshoots Lavelli on a long pass. Then Otto connects with Carpenter for 12 and a first down at midfield. Forced to flee the pocket, Graham loses three. After an incomplete pass stops the clock, he throws to Carpenter over the middle to the LA 43. Facing 4th and one and not gaining much through the center of the defense all day, Graham tosses to Jones circling left, but rookie DB Norb Hecker from Baldwin-Wallace College in suburban Cleveland throws Dub for a 2y loss.
Keep possession for 2 1/2 minutes and the title is yours, Rams. After three short runs and an intentional delay of game penalty, Waterfield punts into the end zone with 15 seconds left.
Needing a miracle, Graham tries the hook-and-ladder play. He throws quickly to Speedie, who pitches to Carpenter, who runs out of bounds at the 38. Six seconds left. Graham pegs laterally to Ken, who throws downfield to Lavelli, who is double covered. The Rams bat it down and start celebrating.
The city of Cleveland's six-year streak of having a championship pro football team comes to an end.
The Rams on the sidelines hoist Coach Stydahar, all 275lbs of him, and carry him off the field. The rest of the NFL owners who didn't start in the AAFC exult as well.

Video highlights of the 1951 Championship Game

Stydahar and Rams erupt as game ends.
Final statistics:
  • First downs: Rams 20 Browns 22
  • Yards rushing: Rams 43-81 Browns 23-92
  • Passing: Rams 30-13-2/253 Browns 41-19-3/233
  • Return yardage: Rams 5-21 Browns 6-145
  • Fumbles-Lost: Rams 2-1 Browns 4-1
  • Penalties: Rams 5-25 Browns 6-41
  • Punting average: Rams 5-43.4 Browns 4-37.0

The Rams 7-4 defense did a good job of blunting Cleveland's running game, holding them to 92y, 43 of which came on Graham's scrambles. Motley gained only 23y on five carries.

  • Jumbo Joe Stydahar was so overcome, all he could say was, What a great bunch of guys. Regaining his composure, he added: It was the defense that did it. We kept the pressure on Otto Graham all the time. We gave him a bad time by rushing him with our line and our linebackers. In that last quarter, especially, we had the Browns upset by the way we mixed up our defenses.
  • A grinning Van Brocklin said: I wanted to win so badly, I couldn't sleep last night.
  • LB Stan West: I was scared until the last three minutes. And I wasn't comfortable after that either.
  • LB Don Paul: We've blown three games against these guys. I never felt we had 'em until the final gun.
  • Ram owner Dan Reeves made arrangements for a big party for his newly crown­ed champions. The millionaire stock broker wore his biggest grin since his Cleve­land Rams won the 1945 NFL title. He had another reason beside the champion­ship to celebrate - the '51 Rams made a profit for the first time in team history, going back to their time in Cleveland.
  • Paul Brown walked into the LA locker room and shook Tom Fears' hand. Here's the guy who did it, right here.

The Browns had little to say in their new role as title game losers.

  • In his own locker room, Brown told reporters: We lost a football game, that's all. We played as hard as we could ... It was Joe Stydahar's turn. ... It was a strange day. But that's part of the business. We've had a strange day coming for some time.
  • Seeing his downcast quarterback, Brown walked to him.
    Get your nose up, Otts.
    I let you down
    , Graham replied.
    No, you didn't. Not in the least, Otts.
    I'll make up for it, Paul, I promise you that.
    It's all a part of living. Nothing to do now but forget it and start thinking of next season.
The players split 70% of the net receipts of $156,551, a new record.
  • Each Ram pocketed $2,108.
  • Each member of the losing team earned $1,483, which was more than twice what each Brown took home as victors the previous year.
References: Championship: The NFL Title Games plus Super Bowl, Jerry Izenberg (1970)
100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History, Joe Garner and Bob Costas (2011)
Pro Football Championships before the Super Bowl: A Year-by-Year History, 1926-1965, Joseph S. Page (2011)
The Gridiron's Greatest Quarterbacks, Jonathan Rand (2004)
Paul Brown: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Football's Most Innovative Coach, Andrew O'Toole (2008)
Paul Brown: The Man Who Invented Modern Football, George Cantor (2008)
75 Seasons: The Complete Story of the National Football League 1920-1995 (1994)
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