When football fans think of the greatest running backs of all time a few names usually come up. Names like Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Gale Sayers. There is a player some would consider greater than those previously named, Jim Brown.
The legendary Jim Brown. (Getty Images)
Jim Brown was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 6th overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft. Brown was a first-team All American at Syracuse University. His senior season at the school was the most impressive. During the 1956 College Football season Brown ran for 986 yards and scored 14 touchdowns in only eight games that season.
Jim Brown’s pro career would mirror the success of his college days. When he came to Cleveland the Browns had yet to find an incredible running back since Hall Of Fame running back Marion Motley quit the team in 1954. During his rookie season Brown ran for 942 yards and had 9 touchdowns. Brown really turned it up a notch in his second season in 1958, rushing for 1527 yards with 17 touchdowns.
This amazing running back went on to seven seasons with 1,000-yards or more during his nine year career. His highest rushing yardage season came in 1963 when he ran for 1,863- yards. Brown’s 1963 season became the running back record for most rushing yards in a single season. The record stood until 1973 when O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003-yards.
Jim Brown’s final season came in 1965. His final game was on January 2, 1965 in the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, WI. Brown ran for 50-yards, caught 3 passes for 44-yards but scored no touchdowns. The Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 23-12.
During his final campaign Brown ran for 1,544 yards and once again recorded 17 touchdowns on the ground. Brown would decide to leave football following 1965 season to pursue an acting career. Many around football could not believe he would leave the NFL while still proving to be one of the best players in the game. At the age of 29 Jim Brown was retired from football and would never play again in the NFL.
His nine season career still stands out as one of the best in NFL History. Jim Brown amassed 12,312 yards (An NFL record not broken until 1984 by Walter Payton) while rushing for 80 touchdowns and caught 20 touchdown passes. Brown led the league in rushing for eight of his nine seasons and was selected as a Pro Bowler in every season he played in the NFL. In 1971 Jim Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
When going back through the records and accomplishments during his playing days it is hard to deny that Jim Brown is one of the greatest players of all time. He may no lomger hold any of the amazing records he set during his career but they are still impressive 49 years after he retired. He was a bruising power back the likes we have never seen since and may never see again. Jim Brown truly left the game of football while still on top.
Posted in NFL, Sports History
Tagged 9 seasons, acting career, cleveland browns, college, did he play, Emmitt Smith, final game, green bay packers, how many, jim brown, Marion Motley, NFL, nfl championship game, power back, record, records, single season, syracuse, td's, touchdowns, walter payton, when, where, why did he leave, yards
In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. It was a historic happening that changed professional sports forever. However Robinson was not the first African-American athlete to break the color barrier in American professional sports.
In 1946 a year before Jackie Robinson made history, four African-Americans became the first to play professional football since the NFL became segregated in 1933. Those four players were Marion Motley, Bill Willis, Woody Strode and Kenny Washington. Both Motley and Willis signed with the Cleveland Browns who played in the All-American Football Conference. While Strode and Washington were signed by the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. Those four Men all made history that year but one man’s carrier would stand out more than all of the others, that man was Marion Motley.
Marion Motley (Getty Images)
Marion Motley was born in 1920 in Leesburg, GA. He grew up in Canton, Oh and was an excellent High School football player. He would play his college career as a Full Back at the South Carolina State and the University of Nevada, Reno. He entered the US Navy in 1944 during World War II before beginning his professional carrier with the Cleveland Browns.
Marion Motley stood at 6’1” and weighed 240 pounds in his prime. Regarded as the first real power back in the NFL Motley punished opposing defenses, pummeling any defender that got in his way. Many who played during his time have regarded Motley as being the best football player they have ever seen. It has also been said that he was an even better player than the Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown. Like brown he was an excellent back that could push for extra yards but he could block better than Brown, these skills made him a complete player.
Marion Motley played a total of 9 seasons from 1946-1955. During this time he amassed 4,720 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. As a receiver he had 1,107 yards and caught 7 touchdown passes. Motley was a 1950 Pro Bowler as well as a champion with the legendary Cleveland Brown’s teams of 1946-1950. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1968, forever immortalized in his home of Canton,OH.
Marion Motley was one of the greatest football players of his era and quite possibly of all time. He endured the same hate and discrimination as Jackie Robinson and was able to prove that he belong with the best. He is a true American Hero and should be known and remembered by all sports fans.
Posted in NFL, sports, Sports History
Tagged african american, america, Bill Willis, black, canton, cleveland browns, color barrier, first, first players, football, full back, hall of fame, jim brown, Kenny Washington, los angeles rams, Marion Motley, nevada, ohio, power back, teams, were, what team, who, Woody Strode