Super Bowl (minus) II


10:05 a.m. ET

Our fan poll on the home page has certainly drawn some attention.

The question asks who would have won the Super Bowl had it existed in 1964.

In the NFL that season Cleveland finished 10-3-1 to capture the Eastern Conference title. The Browns earned a showdown against the Western Conference Baltimore Colts (12-2-0). Cleveland crushed the Colts 27-0 to win the NFL title.

Meanwhile, in the “other league,” the Bills posted the best record at 12-2-0 to win the AFL’s Eastern Division. Buffalo hosted the Western Division champion San Diego Chargers (8-5-1). The Bills took care of business with a convincing 20-7 win over the Chargers.

So, who would have won in the Super Bowl if it existed? So far, fans in our poll have overwhelmingly picked the Cleveland Browns from the NFL over the AFL’s Buffalo Bills.

One our Board of Selectors members, Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News wrote about our poll question on Thursday. He shared: 

"We would have won, hands down," Bills cornerback Booker Edgerson told me a few years ago.

Said Bills HOFer Billy Shaw: "I've said it many times before - of the AFL champions prior to the Super Bowl, that was probably the team that could have really played with NFL champions. We matched up really good with them. I’d have loved to have had that opportunity."

Mark’s comments prompted me to call his counterpart in Cleveland, Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for his perspective.

{GALLERY}“The Browns would have trounced the 1964 Bills,” the veteran writer shared with me this morning. “I say that as evidenced by how the Browns dominated what was thought to be the NFL’s best team that year, the Colts.

“That ’64 championship game produced probably one of the best games in franchise history. As such, no question the Browns would have dominated had one more game been played that season.”

Regardless of who would have won, I think that would have been a classic Super Bowl featuring a showdown between each league’s leading rushers that season. The game would have focused on two great runners who had similar styles – the legendary Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown vs. one of the AFL’s most punishing runners at the time, fullback Cookie Gilchrist of the Bills. Incidentally, leading the way for both runners would have been a Hall of Fame guard -- Gene Hickerson for Cleveland and Billy Shaw for Buffalo.


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