Exclamation point on a career!
Brown played one last game after facing Packers’ in ’65 title game
In January, 1966, the Cleveland Browns lost the 1965 NFL Championship Game to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Seven months later, the team lost something else – a main cog in their dominant offensive attack.
Jim Brown, arguably the greatest runner in league history, shocked the sports world when he announced his retirement from pro football. The Hall of Fame fullback declared his intentions during a brief and hurriedly arranged press conference while on location for the filming of the movie, The Dirty Dozen, in which he starred.
“It was the right time to retire,” he commented the following day as he addressed the media. “You should get out on top.”
Indeed, Brown was on top of the football world. His combination of speed and sheer power made him one of the most feared players of his era. In nine seasons with the Browns, he gained a record 12,312 yards rushing, a mark that lasted until Walter Payton surpassed it in 1984.
Brown led the league in rushing eight of the nine seasons he played, was voted to the Pro Bowl each year, named All-NFL eight times, and tabbed the league’s Most Valuable Player twice.
His final season was a fitting end to a fabulous career. Brown rushed for 1,544 yards – the second highest season total of his career – and scored 17 touchdowns. He also added 34 catches for 328 yards and four touchdown receptions as the Browns finished 11-3-0 to earn a berth in the championship game. Brown was named MVP of the league for a second time.
Two weeks following the championship game, Brown stepped onto a NFL field one final time. The occasion was the annual Pro Bowl game held at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. He led the Eastern Conference all-stars to a 36-7 win over their Western Conference counterparts.
Brown rushed for a game-high 64 yards and scored three touchdowns. In addition, he caught 2 passes for 16 yards. He was named the game’s outstanding back. It marked the third time he was recognized as a player of the game in the Pro Bowl.
Little did anyone know that when Brown walked off the field that day, he would never return. His final career stats, that include an astonishing 5.2-yard per carry average, were staggering despite the fact that he left the game during his prime.