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Jim Brown Announces Retirement, Not on Good Terms July 14, 1966

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Jim Brown announced his retirement from football at a news conference in London, where he was was acting in the hit movie The Dirty Dozen. Brown had been the NFL’s MVP the prior season and led the league in rushing, as he did in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964. (Jim Taylor edged him out in 1962.) At the time of his retirement, Brown said “I am leaving the Browns with an attitude of friendliness and co-operation”.

We now know that Brown’s statement might have been stretching the truth a little. In June of 1966, Browns owner Art Modell released this press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLEVELAND, OHIO – The following statement is issued by Arthur B. Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, regarding the status of fullback Jim Brown:

“No veteran Browns” player has been granted or will be given permission to report late to our training camp at Hiram College- and this includes Jim Brown. Should Jim fail to report to Hiram at check-in time deadline, which is Sunday, July 17, then I will have no alternative to suspend him without pay.

“I recognize the complex problems of the motion picture business, having spent several years in the industry. However, in all fairness to everyone connected with the Browns – the coaching staff, the players and most important of all, our many faithful fans – I feel compelled to say that I will have to take such action should Jim be absent on July 17.

“Lest anyone get the impression that suspension would be a token slap on the wrist, since the salaries of most professional athletes do not go into effect until the start of the regular season, I point out that we have several players, Jim included, who are paid on a 12-month basis.

“I am certain that Jim and all of our players are aware that under terms of their contracts with us they are expected to participate in all pre-season practice sessions and games.

“I have been asked what my attitude would be if Jim Brown fails to report to Hiram next month but returns to the United States in September and decides that he wants to play football.

“Our coaching staff cannot wait until such a late date to formulate our offensive plans for the 1966 season. If Jim were to show up in September, we would have to make an appraisal as to his physical condition, his ability to pick up quickly the new offense being prepared for the season plus the general personnel situation of our Club.”

6/16/66

To which Brown replied:

12 Portman Street,
#2,
LONDON, W. 1
July 5, 1966

Dear Art:

I am writing to inform you that in the next few days I will be announcing my retirement from Football. This decision is final and is made only because of the future that I desire for myself, my family, and if not to sound corney my race. I am very sorry that I did not have the information to give you at some earlier date, for one of my great concerns was to try in every way to work things out so that I could play an additional year.

I was very sorry to see you make the statements that you did, because it was not a victory for you or I but for the newspaper men. Fortunately, I seem to have a little more faith in you than you have in me. I honestly like you and will be willing to help you in anyway I can, but I feel you must realize that both of us are men and that my manhood is just as important to me as yours is to you.

It was indicated in the papers out of Cleveland that you tried to reach me by phone. Well, I hope you realize that when I am in my apartment I never refuse to answer my phone. The only reason that I did not contact you before I knew the completion date of the movie, is that the date was the one important factor. You must realize that your organization will make money and will remain successful whether I am there or not. The Cleveland Browns’ are an Institution that will stand for a long, long time.

I am taking on a few projects that are very interesting to me. I have many problems to solve at this time and I am sure you know a lot of them, so if we weigh the situation properly the ‘Browns’ have really nothing to lose, but Jim Brown has a lot to lose. I am taking it for granted that I have your understanding and best wishes, for in my public approach to this matter this will be the attitude that will prevail.

The business matters that we will have to work out we could do when I return to Cleveland. I will give you any assistance I can and hope your operation will be a success. You know the areas that I can be helpful and even if you do no ask this help my attitude will be one that I will do only the things that will contribute to the success of the ‘Cleveland Browns.’

Your friend,

Jim Brown


The Washington Post’s venerated Sports Columnist, Shirley Povitch, wrote this about Brown’s departure:

WORD THAT HIS peerless fullback was. announcing his retirement from the game, Cleveland Coach Blanton Collier said, bravely, “We’re not going to press any panic button. Jim was the greatest back *in the history of the game, but I want to make it clear that this was not a one-man football team.”
The Browns, indeed, may not have been a one-man football team, because ten other players could be counted whenever they took the field. But the others had to be searched out in the shadow cast by Jim Brown, who was the only man that counted whenever opposing coaches plotted to stop the Cleveland attack. Stop Jim Brown and that does it. Somehow, Collier’s protests. do not make it clear that the Browns were not a one-man team.
The wonders Jim Brown wrought for the Cleveland team had a pattern. Not only did he bring them from also-rans to pennant threats, he made a winning coach out of Blanton Collier, who was a sort of flop in college football with Kentucky. Frank Ryan was a second-string quarterback everywhere he played, at Rice behind King Hill and with the Rams behind Bill Wade and Zeke Bratkowski. Ryan joined Jim Brown at Cleveland and¬presto—became the NFL’s newest wonder quarterback.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4QQ9fnAgBU

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Joe Paterno Named Penn State Head Coach – February 19, 1966

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Joe Paterno - co-captain and quarterback - Brown University.

Joe Paterno – co-captain and quarterback – Brown University. Click here to see on eBay

Penn State’s Joe Paterno, whose legacy is both legendary and tragic, was named as the head coach of the school’s football team on February 19, 1966. The 39-year-old Paterno succeeded Rip Engle who had hired him as an assistant in 1950, Engle’s first year coaching at Penn State. Prior to moving to Penn State, Engle coached at Brown University. Paterno was his quarterback there.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Paterno played football, basketball and baseball for Brooklyn Prep, and led “Prep” to its first football win against cross-borough rival, Brooklyn Poly, in 1943.

After Engle retired, nobody was surprised when Paterno won the head coaching job. During their 16 seasons together, Penn State never had a losing season. Paterno became particularly well known for developing quarterbacks. NFL stars Milt Plum and Richie Lucas were among Paterno’s proteges at Penn State, prior to his being named head coach.

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Drew Brees Breaks Unitas Record Consecutive TD Games – October 7, 2012

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Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is the current holder of the NFL record for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. His streak of 54 games started on October 26, 2008 and lasted until November 29, 2012. He broke Johnny Unitas’s record of 47 games on October 7, 2012. Unitas’s record stood for almost 50 years. He first set the record on December 6, 1958. At that time the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass was 24, but Unitas kept throwing touchdown passes, extending the record until it reached 47 games on December 4, 1960.

Brees’s streak coincided with a run by Tom Brady. On the day that Brees’s streak ended 54, Brady had thrown a touchdown in 43 consecutive games, but Brady’s streak ended at 52 games when he got shut out on October 6, 2013.

Johnny Unitas 1958 Autographed  Card

Johnny Unitas 1958 Autographed Card
Click to see this and more Johnny Unitas 1958 Collectibls

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Saints Return to the Dome September 25, 2006

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aints Return to Dome after Katrina leaves them homeless for a year

Saints Return to Dome after Katrina leaves them homeless for a year
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The New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl on February 7, 2010, and you might think that would have been the happiest day in the life of a Saints fan. And you might be wrong.

Make no mistake, every single supporter of this football team has warm fuzzy feelings about that day in Miami when the Saints became the one and only major league sports franchise in the history of New Orleans to win a championship. But in terms of emotional feelings, September 25, 2006 is the day sports fans in the Crescent City get choked up about.

Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, just before the start of the football season. In the Fall of 2005, New Orleans had a lot bigger problems to deal with than providing a stadium for its NFL team, so for that entire season, the Saints played all of their games in cities other than New Orleans.

Finally, on the last Monday Night in September of 2006, the Saints came home. There were some naysayers who thought that the money and effort that went into getting the Super dome fixed up for the Saints, barely a year after the disaster, could have gone toward worthier causes. But most of those people were probably not from New Orleans.

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Sophomore Tebow Runs 166 Yds – September 22, 2007

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Sophomore Tim Tebow put on a one man show against the University of Mississippi. He ran the football 27 times for a University of Florida record 166 yards. He also threw 34 passes and completed 20, for a not-the-least-bit-shabby 261 yards in the air.

Tebow was involved in all four Gator touchdowns. He ran one in from nine yards and another from six. He also threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy and followed that up with a 19 yard strike to Seth Adams.

Even with all that production from their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Florida struggled to get past Ole Miss. Clinging to a 30-24 lead, Tebow ran the ball on the last five plays of the game. He only managed to gain an additional 25 yards, but it was enough for the Gators to keep possession and run out the remaining 3:01 on the clock.

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Walter Payton Record 107 Rushing TDs – September 20, 1987

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Walter Payton 107 Touchdowns Rushing

Walter Payton 107 Touchdowns Rushing
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Walter Payton scored his 107th rushing touchdown to break Jim Browns record. Payton reached the milestone in Chicago on September 20, 1987.

Against a weak Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense, Payton lunged into the end zone on a one yard plunge that came at 9:14 of the first quarter. Other than getting to see one football legend break another football legend’s record, the 63,551 fans assembled at Soldier Field that Sunday, did not get to see either a memorable game, or particularly inspiring performance by the Bears’ great running back.

The game was played on the last Sunday before the NFL players strike. Here’s how the Chicago Tribune’s Don Pierson described it.

What looked like a slow down before Tuesday’s strike date turned into another victory on the Bears assembly line Sunday

The victims were Tampa Bay’s local chapter in the brotherhood of football workers. Looking more like accomplices than opponents, the Buccaneers matched the Bears two fumbles for two fumbles [one of which was Payton’s] and two interceptions for two interceptions before dropping a 20-3 decision.

Payton did score two touchdowns in the game. In addition to his record breaking run, he scored on a 9 yard pass from quarterback Mike Tomczak. When the day was done Payton had run the ball 14 times for a total of 24 yards.

The strike-shortened 1987 season was Walter Payton’s 13th and last in the NFL. He rushed for three more touchdowns to bring his career total up to 110. Emmitt Smith currently holds the NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns He ran the ball into the end zone 164 times between 1990 and 2004.

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