Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24, 1957: Brown of the Browns

CLEVELAND - Jim Brown is often called the greatest college lacrosse player of all time. With his rare combination of speed and power, he was a force on the lacrosse field for Syracuse. He also starred as a basketball player and lettered on the track team.

Fortunately for the Cleveland Browns, Jim Brown was even better at football. After suffering the first losing season in franchise history in 1956, the Browns added the great Syracuse running back to their roster and instantly returned to be among the NFL's elite teams.

With Brown in the fold and wreaking havoc from the backfield, the Browns climbed to the top of the NFL's Eastern Division. Brown was sensational from the start, rushing for 947 yards to lead the NFL as a rookie. His best game as a rookie came on November 24 against the Rams, when he rushed for an NFL single-game record 237 yards.

Brown's single-game record has been eclipsed several times since then, but his impact on the game has never been equalled. Despite retiring after only nine seasons at the age of 29, Brown was the NFL's all-time leading rusher by far when he retired. He was the first player to score 100 touchdowns and is the only player in NFL history to average more than 100 yards rushing per game over an entire career.

November 24, 1963: NEW YORK - The nation was reeling. John F. Kennedy had been killed just two days before, and everybody was still in shock. That day, Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered live on TV, adding to the shock and turmoil. The NBA, NHL, and AFL all cancelled their games for the next few days, but the NFL played on, playing a full schedule. Though attendance wasn't noticeably affected, none of the games were shown on TV as the networks were still dedicated to the aftermath of the assassanation. Commissioner Pete Rozelle defended the decision, saying that football was "The President's game." He later called his decision to play a full schedule the worst decision of his tenure.

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