LOU GROZA

LOU GROZA

Class of 1974
Offensive Tackle-Placekicker >>> 6-3, 240
(Ohio State)
1946-1959, 1961-1967 Cleveland Browns (AAFC/NFL)

Louis Roy Groza. . .Last of "original" Browns to retire. . . Regular offensive tackle, 1947-1959. . .Back injury forced layoff, 1960. . . Kicking specialist only, 1961-1967. . .All-NFL tackle six years. . . NFL Player of Year, 1954. . .In nine Pro Bowls . . .Last-second field goal won 1950 NFL title game. . . Scored 1,608 points in 21 years. . . Played in four AAFC, nine NFL title games. . .Born January 25, 1924, in Martins Ferry, Ohio. . .Died November 29, 2000, at age of 76.

When Lou Groza retired after the 1967 season, it was truly the end of an unforgettable era for the Cleveland Browns. The last remaining member of the original 1946 Browns team, the big offensive tackle and placekicking artist played 21 years, more than any other pro player up to that time.

Many fans remember Groza primarily as a kicker, the first specialist who became so proficient that the Browns started thinking of making field goals, instead of touchdowns, when the going was rough and time was running short. Lou, who was one of pro football's finest offensive tackles, particularly in the middle years of his long tenure, preferred to think of himself first as a tackle who just happened to be the Browns' field-goal kicker because he “had the talent."

Groza was named first- or second-team all-league eight times during his career. In 1954, he was The Sporting News’ NFL Player of the Year. Nine times he was named to the Pro Bowl. Six times he was a starting tackle. In 1946, 33-man rosters prevented any team from carrying a specialist, but Groza was almost that, doing all of the kicking and playing on the scrimmage line only occasionally.

Late in his second season, Lou made "the first team" and he didn't give up that cherished status until 1959. He sat out the entire 1960 season with a back injury and then returned in 1961 at the age of 37 for seven more campaigns as a kicker only.

In 21 years, "The Toe," as he quickly became known, tallied 1,608 points and for years ranked as the all-time top scorer. His most dramatic kick came in the 1950 National Football League Championship Game, when his 16-yard field goal in the final seconds gave the Browns a 30-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Year
Team
G
FG
FGA
XK
XKA
Pts
1950 Cleveland
10
13
19
29
29
74
1951 Cleveland
12
10
23
43
43
73
1952 Cleveland
12
19
33
32
32
89
1953 Cleveland
12
23
26
39
40
108
1954 Cleveland
12
16
24
37
38
85
1955 Cleveland
12
11
22
44
45
77
1956 Cleveland
12
11
20
18
18
51
1957 Cleveland
12
15
22
32
32
77
1958 Cleveland
12
8
19
36
38
60
1959 Cleveland
12
5
16
33
37
48
1961 Cleveland
14
16
23
37
38
85
1962 Cleveland
14
14
31
33
35
75
1963 Cleveland
14
15
23
40
43
85
1964 Cleveland
14
22
33
49
49
115
1965 Cleveland
14
16
25
45
45
93
1966 Cleveland
14
9
23
51
52
78
1967 Cleveland
14
11
23
43
43
76
Career Total
216

234

405

641

657

1349

Additional Career Statistics: Passing: 4-1- -7, 1 Int; Receiving: 1-23, 1 TD
Full Name: Louis Roy Groza

Birthdate:
January 25, 1924

Birthplace: Martins Ferry, Ohio

High School: Martins Ferry (Ohio)

Died: November 29, 2000 

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 12, 1974 

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame:
July 27, 1974

Presenter:
Paul Brown, Head coach/GM, Bengals and Groza's coach with the Browns

Other Members of Class of 1974: Tony Canadeo, Bill George, Dick "Night Train" Lane

Pro Career: 21 seasons, 268 games

Drafted:  Signed as a rookie free agent by the Cleveland Browns (AAFC)

Uniform Number: 76, (46)

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