How many championships do the Browns have?
Though the Cleveland Browns have yet to win a Super Bowl, their early dominance in the game brought them eight total championships: four with the AAFC and four in the pre-Super Bowl NFL.
The First Four Championships
When the Browns started playing in 1946, they were managed with keen intelligence.
While owner Arthur B. McBride knew almost nothing about football, he did know how to promote the team and trusted his coach, Paul Brown, to make significant decisions.
Brown had already established a name for himself as both a high school and college coach and had made Ohio State a powerhouse that it remains to this day.
The Browns started life in the All-American Football Conference, and due to Brown’s coaching skills – and his successful recruitment of quarterback Otto Graham and fullback Marion Motley – the Browns were an immediate success.
They won all four AAFC Championships during their years in the league, with a record of 52-4-3.
Their success was so big that the AAFC’s disbandment in 1949 was blamed partially on their dominance.
When the AAFC closed down, they made a settlement with the NFL so that three of its best teams could join the league.
As a result, the Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Baltimore Colts were given lifeblood to remain vital parts of the association to this very day.
At first, many NFL fans believed that the Browns wouldn’t be so dominant in the tougher NFL, but they destroyed the defending champion, the Philadelphia Eagles, to start their debut 1950 season.
Further Dominance in the NFL
The Browns’ success in the NFL was not limited to one startling purpose-declaring game.
Instead, they went on to earn NFL Eastern Conference championships for six years between 1950 to 1955.
These wins sent them to the NFL title game all six years.
This game was not the modern Super Bowl as fans know it today – this was before the NFL and AFL merger – but was still the biggest game of the year.
Their first championship in 1950 was a hard-fought battle with the Los Angeles Rams that saw them down 28-20 in the third quarter.
The Browns then answered with a diving touchdown catch in the final minutes of the game to pull to a 28-27 score.
They then got the ball back and hit a field goal with 28 seconds left to win 30-28: the first time an AAFC team won the NFL championship.
Their second championship in 1954 was a bit more lopsided: the Browns toppled the poor Detroit Lions 56-10, taking a 38-10 lead at the half and keeping the Lions off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
And their 1955 38-14 win over the Rams, while slightly closer, was a Browns’ game from wire to wire.
After this win, they didn’t win another championship under coach Paul Brown or quarterback Otto Graham again.
The 1964 Championship Win
After Otto Graham retired in 1955, many people anticipated that the Browns would never regain their dominance.
However, the team was smart enough to draft running back Jim Brown, who would become the most dominant player in the league for the next nine years.
Even though they didn’t win a championship for almost 10 years after 1955, the Browns remained a vital team in the league.
Everything came together in 1964 for Jim Brown’s only NFL championship and the last championship the team has earned as of 2019.
The 1964 NFL Championship game was the first ever to be televised by CBS nationally.
Both teams in the game, the Baltimore Colts and the Cleveland Browns, were dominating.
The Colts finished 12-2 and featured legendary QB Johnny Unitas while the Browns were 10-3-1 and led primarily by running back Jim Brown and receivers Gary Collins and Paul Warfield.
Taking place in Cleveland, the game was a snowy and windy mess that was scoreless for the first two quarters.
The Browns kicked off to start the second half but changed their approach to put more pressure on Unitas.
The Browns scored a field goal and two touchdowns to go up 17-0 by the end of the quarter.
The Colts never recovered as the Browns scored 10 more points to win 27-10.
The Colts’ Unitas was just 12-of-20 passes for 95 yards and two interceptions, and the running backs gained only 92 yards.
The Browns QB Frank Ryan hit 11 of 18 passes for 206 yards – more than the combined Colts’ yardage – and three touchdowns.
Receiver Collins caught three touchdown passes – then a record – and five total passes for 130 yards.
Jim Brown pulled in 114 yards on just 27 carries.