Cleveland Browns: 7 Impressive Records in Browns History
That is the Browns' regular season record since they came into existence.
The Browns catch a lot of guff from fans and teams around the league for being "losers". They've never won a Super Bowl. Heck, they've never even been to a Super Bowl. Their playoff record is a disappointing 16-20 and includes one of the most notorious losses in the history of the NFL playoffs, when John Elway's Broncos defeated them in the 1987 AFC Championship game with "The Drive".
And yet, their overall franchise record suggests that the Browns, over time, are in fact a winner, and not by a particularly small margin.
So while the Browns have no Super Bowl rings, a losing playoff record, and few NFL records posted by individual players, they've still had some pretty notable and record-worthy success. For a franchise that is, by the numbers, largely a winner across time, it's quite the accomplishment for any player who once donned the orange and Brown to hold a franchise record for Cleveland.
The following are seven such players who each hold a Cleveland Browns team record that is indicative of their tremendous talent on the football field. Each of these players, through their own individual records for the team, has helped the Browns to that winning 485-398-13 mark. Alas, you won't find any Super Bowl champs here, but you won't find any "losers" either.
As always, your opinions are highly valued here, so please feel free to share your thoughts on these or any other notable team records in the comments below!
1. Career Passing Yardage: Brian Sipe
It is Brian Sipe's unfortunate lot in life to be mostly remembered outside of Cleveland for the disaster that was Red Right 88, the play that cost the Browns a chance at their first ever trip to a Super Bowl in 1981.
While Cleveland fans too remember Sipe's ill-fated pass, we also know him as the franchise record holder for the most passing yardage in team history.
Sipe played his entire NFL career with the Browns, from 1974-1983. During that time, he amassed a team record 23,713 yards. A member of the Browns' "Legends" and one who some feel deserved Hall of Fame consideration, Sipe stands out for his record passing yardage even among other Browns great quarterbacks such as Otto Graham and Bernie Kosar.
Sipe compiled that yardage over 125 career games with the Browns, and also amassed 154 touchdowns and 1944 completions.
Sadly, Red Right 88 damaged Sipe's reputation as a quarterback for most, though it has been suggested on numerous occasions that the outcome of the play was not truly his fault. Whether or not that's true, Sipe was still a tremendous quarterback for most of his career with the Browns, evident in his career passing yardage record.
2. Single Season Passing Yardage: Brian Sipe
As was the case with the all-time passing yardage record, the Browns single season passing record also belongs to the great Brian Sipe.
Sipe broke the Browns single-season passing yardage record in 1980 with 4,132 yards. During that season, he also slung 30 touchdown passes, posted a 60.8% completion rate, and was a first-team All Pro and Pro Bowler.
Before Sipe broke the record, it belonged to Frank Ryan with 2,974 yards in 1966. (Ryan is now 12th on the list, as his total has been eclipsed not only by Sipe, but also Bernie Kosar, Paul McDonald, Tim Couch, and Derek Anderson).
Second to Sipe's 1980 season in this category is Sipe's 1981 season, where he threw for 3,876 yards. And in third place? Cleveland's beloved Bernie Kosar, who in 1986 logged 3,854 yards.
3. Career Rushing Yardage: Jim Brown
Unless you've been living under a rock in Pittsburgh, you probably already know that the career leader for the Browns in the category of rushing yardage is of course, the great Jim Brown.
Brown's 12,312 career yards were just one of many tremendous accomplishments achieved by the great running back. Also during his career (all spent with the Browns from 1957-1965), he was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time NFL MVP, three-time Pro Bowl MVP, and is of course, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And for you trivia junkies, Brown is also a member of the lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Brown also amassed 106 rushing touchdowns (an NFL record when he retired), and holds the NFL record for seasons leading the NFL in all-purpose yards with five.
Brown also had 2,499 receiving yards and 20 receiving TDs. He is considered by most to be the greatest running back in the history of the game, and even by some as the greatest player at any position in the history of the game.
4. Single Season Rushing Yardage: Jim Brown
Yet another rushing record for the Browns whose owner is no surprise? The single-season team rushing yardage leader. You guessed it: Jim Brown.
Brown's 1963 season was his best (and also the best for any running back for the Browns), when he posted 1,863 yards. Brown also holds second through sixth place on this list, with 1,544, 1,527, 1,446, 1,408, and 1,329 yards, respectively.
The closest any other Browns player has come to touching even Browns sixth-highest single season total was Jamal Lewis in 2007 with 1,304 yards. In case you're curious: Peyton Hillis' 2010 season ranks 14th all time for the Browns with 1,177 yards on the year.
Brown also scored 13 rushing touchdowns in his record year in 1963, though it was not his personal best in that category. 17 in a season was his record, which he achieved twice, once in 1958 and once in his final NFL season in 1965.
5. Career Receiving Leader: Ozzie Newsome
As was the case for the career leaders in passing and rushing yardage, the career receiving yardage record for the team also belongs to a player who spent his entire career in a Browns uniform. That man is Ozzie Newsome, known by the Browns faithful as The Wizard of Oz.
And a wizard he was indeed, making his mark as the team's all-time receiving yardage leader with 7,980. The great tight end's 662 receptions were also a team record. Like Brown, Newsome is also a Hall of Famer.
His best single-season receiving yardage mark was 1,002, posted in 1981, which was, not coincidentally, the record-breaking season for his quarterback, Brian Sipe, as well, though it is only good for ninth on the single season yardage record list for the Browns (Braylon Edwards holds that mark with 1,289 yards in 2007.
Newsome's season high for touchdowns was nine in 1979, and he had 47 receiving TDs in his career, as well as two rushing TDs. But perhaps most impressive? Throughout his entire career from 1978-1990 with the Browns, Newsome fumbled just three times.
6. Career Scoring by Point Total: Lou Groza
The Browns career scoring leader by points is not, as some might expect, Jim Brown or Ozzie Newsome. Instead, that record is owned (by a landslide), by a player at a position whose importance is often forgotten: the kicker.
When you do the math, it makes sense that a kicker could potentially amass the greatest point total for a team across time. After all, he's the only player on the team who has an opportunity to score every time he's on the field in an offensive capacity.Yet mostly we think of running backs and receivers as the biggest scorers for the team.
Thus our surprise winner in this category is none other than Lou "The Toe" Groza, with 1,608 points. The next-closest player to this total is another kicker, Don Cockcroft, with 1,080 points. In case you're wondering, Jim Brown is fourth, behind these two kickers (as well as another; Phil Dawson), with 756 points scored for the orange and brown.
Groza amassed those impressive 1,608 points from 1946-1967. Like the other players on this list of record holders, he spent his entire NFL career with the Browns. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
7. Winningest Coach: Paul Brown
What, you were expecting Bud Carson?
No surprises here when it comes to the winningest coach of all time for the Cleveland Browns: that is, of course, the legendary coach and the man dubbed "the father of modern offense", Paul Brown.
He holds the record with 158 wins for the Browns in 17 years, made perhaps even more impressive by the fact that it is offset with just 48 losses over that time period, giving him a most amazing .767 winning percentage as the mastermind of the Browns (Note: the first four of these 17 years were when the Browns were in the AAFC, before they joined the NFL in 1950 when the two leagues merged.
Following Brown on the list of Cleveland's winningest coaches in a distant second is his successor Blanton Collier, who had 76 victories with the Browns from 1963-1970.
In perhaps the second-most idiotic move in Art Modell's dubious existence, he fired Brown after 17 seasons, all but one of them with a winning record. Brown would go on to finish out his coach career in Cincinnati, amassing an additional 55 wins.