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Stories from the 1964 NFL Championship Game

The Game Before the Money Podcast takes a look at the 1964 NFL Championship Game with stories from John Wooten of the Cleveland Browns. Hear more in Episode 7 of the football history podcast.

Browns Colts 1964 NFL Championship

In 1964, the Browns finished 10-3-1 and qualified for the NFL Championship Game. They faced a tough match up, however, against a powerful and heavily favored Baltimore Colts team, coached by Don Shula.

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Taunting in the NFL

That brings us to a Colts pre-game off-field mistake of taunting Jim Brown. However, it wasn’t by anyone playing in the game.

John Wooten tells us the story. “You know they had the Colt Corral. You’re familiar with that, right? They had their own little band and everything. So, we’re sitting there listening to music, Jim and I. About four or five members of the band come in and they played Taps right in our face and we didn’t say anything. We got up afterward after we’d finished listening to what we wanted to hear on the jukebox. We get in the car and Jim was driving. He said, ‘You know something Woo?'”

Jim Brown said, “We’re going to beat the living pants off them.” Well, that’s the G-rated version.

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Cleveland Browns Win Championship

Browns quarterback Frank Ryan threw three touchdowns to Gary Collins and the Browns stunned the NFL world with a 27-0 victory at home to win the 1964 NFL championship. Although it was a team victory, Wooten says three unsung heroes deserve major credit for the win.

Blanton Collier, Galen Fiss, our captain and a linebacker from Kansas, and Bernie Parrish. I want to give those three people credit. Gotta give Blanton Collier credit. He had us so ready, boy let me tell you. Blanton Collier had a saying that was very simple. ‘You cannot make a mistake. You got to play perfect football and you can play it if you concentrate on the details of what you are supposed to do.'”

“In that game, just in the first half, they read a screen to Lenny Moore that was set perfect. Galen Fiss came under, shot up, submarined it, and ended up tackling Lenny Moore for what was going to be a touchdown and ended up with a 5-yard loss.”

Wooten says the game turned around on that play. The Browns rugged defense, also led by defensive back Bernie Parrish, nullified the Colts offense. The game was scoreless at halftime but the Browns erupted for 17 points in the third quarter. Cleveland tacked on another 10 in the fourth for a 27-0 victory.

The Last Time the Browns Won a Championship

As of the end of the 2021 NFL season, 1964 is the last time that the Cleveland Browns have won a championship. Although the Browns won multiple NFL championships in the 1950s, they haven’t won another since 1964. The Browns also played in the 1965 NFL Championship but lost to the Green Bay Packers. Although the Cleveland Browns are a legendary franchise with many great players in their history, the team has never played in a Super Bowl.

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