All Cincinnati Bengals Team: The Head Coach Edition

Tom MirickCorrespondent IJune 13, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 7:  Head coach Sam Wyche of the Cincinnati Bengals talks to his quarterback Boomer Esiason #7 on the sidelines during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Anaheim Stadium on October 7, 1990 in Anaheim, California.  The Bengals won 34-31.  (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

The Bengals have had some great coaches over the year, so I have some choices to make.

We have Paul Brown, Forest Greg, Sam Wyhce, and Bill Walsh.

Do I make the promotion that Paul Brown didn’t make, and promote Bill Walsh to head coach?

Or is it going to be Mr. you don’t live in Cleveland, Sam Wyhce?

Actually, I am selecting the originator of the Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown.

Many people in football claim that Paul Brown is the originator of the modern day offense, and even more claim that he is one of the greatest NFL coaches in history.

Paul Brown has more than backed up that claim by winning at every level he has ever coached at.           

When he was at Massillon High School, where he played quarterback in his youth, he later returned to lead his team to an 80-8-2 record over nine years.

His days at Massillon were highlighted by a 35 game winning streak, and beating his bitter rival, Canton McKinley High School eight consecutive years.

After his success at his High School Alma Matter, Brown decided to make the jump to Division 1 college football, and took the reins of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Brown coached Ohio State from 1941-1943, compiling an 18-1-1 record.

In only his second year, Paul Brown led the Buckeyes to their first National Championship.

Paul recruited what was said to be the finest Ohio State class ever and went on to win the National Championship.

The most amazing thing about this is that the Buckeyes lost 18 lettermen off his roster due to graduation and military commitments.

In 1944, Paul Brown's military status was reclassified as 1-A; Brown was a Lieutenant in the Navy.

He was stationed to the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois, where he served as football coach for the Bluejackets.

The Bluejackets played other military service teams and college programs.

With Brown as head coach, the Bluejackets compiled a 15-5-2 record with one of his loses coming at the hands of his former team.

On Oct 21, 1944, Paul Brown led his Bluejackets into the Horseshoe to face the Ohio State Buckeyes, his team lost 26-6

In 1945, Paul Brown, while still being the coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes in Absentia, decided to travel north to Cleveland.

Who could blame him?

He signed a contract to coach the Cleveland Browns in their inception year, taking over as part-owner, general manager, vice-president, and head coach.

Arthur McBride, owner of the Browns, turned over most of the football decisions to Paul Brown.

One of Brown’s ideas was to have a "name the team" poll in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The name that won the competition was the Brown Bombers after heavyweight champion Joe Louis.

The name was then shortened to the Browns, leading to on going questions to if Brown named the team after himself, a rumor that is still around today.

Playing in the AAFC, Cleveland was the most dominant team in the league, winning all four championships that the league played.

After the 1949 season, the NFL and the AAFC merged into one league. The Browns were looked at as a second rate team, and there was talk that the Browns' weaknesses would be exposed in the NFL.

However, in their first game, the Browns routed the defending two-time champion Philadelphia Eagles 35-10.

The Browns swept through their first season in the NFL in route to winning the NFL Championship in their inaugural season.

Paul Brown's NFL championship in 1950 gave him the distinction of being the first coach to ever win an NFL Championship and a National Title. 

After years of coaching in the NFL, Paul Brown was offered the job of commissioner of the NFL in 1959. Paul declined, and Pete Rozelle was later offered the job.

Art Modell took over majority ownership of the Cleveland Browns in 1961, and Brown and Modell had a tumultuous relationship right from Jump Street.

Brown’s run in Cleveland lasted until 1963. The core of Brown's troubles in Cleveland started in the 1961 season.

In the 1961 season, Paul Brown pulled the trigger on a trade that brought that year’s Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis to Cleveland without Art Modell’s prior knowledge.

Sadly, Ernie Davis was diagnosed with leukemia in his first season in Cleveland in 1962.

The strains on Modell and Brown’s relationship was even further complicated by Brown's refusal to play Davis, even though team doctors said that he could withstand the contact of an NFL season.

Davis never played a down for Cleveland and later died in 1963, five months after Paul Brown was fired by Art Modell.

After being a head coach for the last 30 years and after his dismissal, he stayed away from the sidelines.

He was still a part owner of the Browns and financially secure, but he never attended a Browns' game.

Paul later said he had everything a man could want, money, free time, and a great family, but, with all that, he was still eating his heart out.

The rebirth of Paul Brown and the birth of the Cincinnati Bengals happened on Sept 26, 1967.

Paul Brown returned to the NFL as principal owner, general manager, and coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Brown coached the Bengals for eight seasons, leading them to the playoffs three times, the first in 1970 in only their third season.

Paul retired in 1976, and, in my opinion, he made one of the biggest mistakes of his career in passing up Assistant Coach Bill Walsh for Bill "Tiger" Johnson.

Johnson barely broke 500 at 18-15 over two years; he resigned in 1978 after a 0-5 start.

Paul Brown stayed on as GM and VP of the Bengals, going to two Super Bowls, ironically losing both to the Bill Walsh coached 49ers.

Paul passed away in 1991, and his son Mike took over as owner and general manager.


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