Monday, March 27, 2017

Desegregating football with Marion Motley

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Football in America has never been made more colorful than the history of racial discrimination that has always flavored it. Many African American players have had to achieve in much harder ways, just to succeed. One of them was Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns.

What made this special was Motley’s superb skills, which he chose to do the work of getting the sport’s attention. He was a leading pass-blocker and rusher in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He had a career average of 5.7 yards per game, a still standing record for a full-back.

He was an exceptionally versatile player, as he was known as a consistent contributor on both offense and defense. Even his contemporary, the legendary Joe Perry considered Motley the greatest all-around football player there ever was. Both players were eventually included in the hall of fame.

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However, Motley’s greatness transcended the game. Every run, every pass, and every single move he made on the field seemed to be inspired by the passion to desegregate the game of football.

He recounted how everybody seemed to be calling him and fellow black teammate Bill Willis ‘niggers’, while they did everything on the field to make them pay for every insult thrown at them on and off the gridiron. With superb athleticism, they won over many opposing teams. They embarrassed many racists too.

Racism has never been easy to deal with for blacks, as even today, a slur slips up in football every so often. But in 1950, there was a move that significantly addressed racism, as the NFL declared that there was no room in the sport for it. Many believe that this wouldn’t have happened without Motley’s fighting heart.

Hi, I’m Jonathan Bunge, and I will always be a fan of the Cleveland Browns. Visit my blog for more football updates.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Remembering Lou 'The Toe' Groza

In American football, no matter what era, being the best in the game will always have an immortalizing effect on a player’s name. This is simply because it means that one specific player bested everybody else in his time. This is exactly what Lou “the Toe” Groza did with the Cleveland Browns for most of the 1950s and 1960s.
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Groza was pro football’s career kicking and points leader when he retired after the 1967 season. His unprecedented, out-of-this-world accuracy and strength in kicking influenced the development of place-kicking as a specialty move in the sport. He was the only player of his time who could make a ball fly beyond 50 yards.

With his superb play as an offensive tackle, he earned a total of eight championships for the Cleveland Browns in a very long 21-year career with the franchise.

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In the then competitive league AAFC, the Browns won the championship every year between 1946 and 1949, with Groza at the helm of the attack. When the league disbanded and the NFL absorbed the Browns, Cleveland won, on its maiden season with the league, thanks to Groza’s last minute field goal.

He then set league records in 1950, 1952, and 1953. By 1954, Sporting News named him the league's Most Valuable Player when the Browns won another championship. The team reigned once again as NFL champions in 1955.

After a brief retirement from the game for two seasons due to a back injury, Groza rejoined his team in 1961 and again became a champion with the Cleveland Browns in 1964.

He easily made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974, and his records served as the numbers that the future superstars of the game tried to beat.

I’m Jonathan Bunge, and I am a loyal Cleveland Browns supporter. For more football updates, follow me on Twitter.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Some facts about the awesome Ozzie Newsome

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Ozzie Newsome will always go down in history as one of the most memorable Cleveland Browns to run the on the gridiron. Here are some facts about him.

1. He is often regarded as a player who revolutionized how the NFL game was played.

2. It was Sam Rutigliano who discovered Newsome, even before he was named head coach of the team in 1977.

3. Newsome was originally positioned as a linebacker when has still with Alabama, where a scouting Rutigliano saw his brand of play numerous times.

4. In the months leading to the 1978 draft, Rutigliano, had a pair of eyes get a closer look at Newsome, just to be sure if his frame was big enough for his body to be boosted up to 240 pounds. It seems he already had a plan for the promising player.

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5. Rutigliano decided that Newsome’s potential would be maximized if he reinvented himself to play as a tight end, which was the position that the Browns were most lacking in.

6. With what he knew back then about Newsome, and the plan that was getting increasingly clearer in his head, Rutigliano drafted Newsome for the Browns as the 23rd pick overall.

7. Newsome turned out to be matched with the right developmental plan, as he became a complete project. He was big enough to block and athletic enough to run in stretches to catch passes, a quality that was exceedingly rare. This was the revolutionary contribution he had to football.

Hello, I’m Jonathan Bunge, and I have been following past and present Cleveland Browns for as long as I can remember. Follow me on Twitter for more football updates.

Monday, December 5, 2016

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In 1979, there was a stretch in the history of the Cleveland Browns when they would battle it out through very close games. This is what led to them being dubbed as the “Kardiac Kids”, and the following season was to be one of the most memorable chapters in franchise history.

A number of Cleveland Browns games in the 1980 season were decided in the final moments. It was also the first time the franchise had gone past the regular season in eight long years.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals, and down 10-0 in the first half, the Browns would turn the tide and defeat the Bengals by just 3 points – 27-24, winning the Central title. The winning field goal was kicked by Don Cockroft. The Bengals had 85 seconds left, but that wasn’t enough.

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It was a dream season for the Cleveland Browns, and their faithful fans, until the Red Right 88 game. There, they faced off against the Oakland Raiders, and fought hard in the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. The Browns reached the Oakland 13 with a few seconds remaining. They were down 14-12. It was a perfect opportunity, but Brian Sipe’s pass into the waiting arms of legendary Ozzie Newsome (who was waiting in the end zone) was intercepted. That moment broke hearts all over Cleveland, and ended the Browns’ season.

Jonathan Bunge is a huge fan of the Cleveland Browns. For more of the Browns and the NFL, subscribe to this Twitter account.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Otto Graham: Legendary Cleveland Brown

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The Cleveland Browns have earned a very solid reputation as one of the franchises which literally became one of the pillars of football. This is largely due to the fact that they have produced some extraordinary athletes in the sport. One of the best Cleveland Browns is Otto Graham.

In the 1940s, football was quite a young sport, which was dominated by speed. It did not evolve into a team-oriented competitiveness overnight. Graham is largely credited for almost singlehandedly turning football into a passing game. He had a very powerful arm which had a tremendous amount of accuracy, ensuring that the 1950s and later times saw that superb passing could make any team dominate the league.

For all the ten years he spent in Cleveland, the Browns made it to the finals, bagging the victory 7 times. Up to today, Otto Graham owns the record for having the highest winning percentage for any starting quarterback in the NFL.

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As a testament to his superior athleticism, Otto Graham is only one of 2 people in the world to have won championships in 2 out of the 4 major American sports. He also won a title with the National Basketball League (which would later on become the National Basketball Association), as a basketball player for the Rochester Royals.

Quite interestingly, he seems to have been gifted with other talents outside of athletics. Being born to parents who were musicians, he learned to play 4 musical instruments. When he was 16 years old, he was adjudged the French horn champion of Illinois.

In football, where he shined the most, his reputation was capped off with his inclusion in the National Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1965.

Hello, I’m Jonathan Bunge, and I just adore the Cleveland Browns! Follow more updates, follow me on Twitter.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jim Brown: The most charismatic player in American football history

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The most enigmatic football player from Cleveland is well, a Brown. Making a huge impact in the world of sports, Jim Brown is one of the most far-reaching personalities in the history of America, transcending the whole football pitch.

James Nathaniel Brown had a football career laden with record-breaking feats, some of which are still unparalleled to this day. But truly, he was a remarkable all-around athlete. In college, Brown schooled his contemporaries, both in the game of football and basketball. The fast runner that he was, he even dominated the track. His shiftiness also made him succeed as a lacrosse player.

Coming into football, he was a hefty 232 lbs., 6-foot-2 hulk who made a killing game after game, shattering the most brilliant defensive strategies in the sport at the time. With so many football playing years ahead, he shocked the world when he announced his retirement in 1966. In 1971, he was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.

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Still young at 30 years, his brilliance did not end with his football career. He was also gifted with a dashing image that landed him modelling contracts and later on, key movie roles. He became a much-loved actor who starred in a total of 3o films, which include “The Dirty Dozen” and “100 Rifles.”

Brown was also a freedom fighter for causes that supported many African Americans. At the height of his football career, he helped create the Negro Industrial Economic Union and much later, he started the Amer-I-Can program that focused on rescuing young gang members from the hard life.

Hello, I’m Jonathan Bunge, the biggest Cleveland Browns fan on the planet! Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates on the Browns.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What a Cleveland Cavaliers championship means to the Browns

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The curse is finally broken! The Land is finally holding a major sports league championship after 52 long years. With the Cleveland Cavaliers conquering the NBA, the entire city of Cleveland, the entire state of Ohio let out a collective roar of celebration, one that has been pent up for five decades.

But aside from the jubilation, the Cavs’ championship has much more meaning to the Browns, a team that has not seen success for the longest time.

A positive consequence for the Browns, as well as for the Indians and Barons, is the offload of pressure. There would be no more excessive desire, which can be unproductive, to be the city’s sports savior. Playing with less pressure and with more excitement can only bode well for the sports team.

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There are lessons to be picked up as well from the Cavs’ journey to the top. It can serve as a reality check for the Browns, letting them know how far they are from contending for a playoff spot – let alone a title – and what it takes to get there.

Granted, the Cavs got a massive, 113 kg help from franchise savior LeBron James in winning it all. There is little chance the Browns can acquire such a generational talent. But James would probably have not returned two years ago if the Cavs did not play its assets right during the years prior.

What the Browns, therefore, needs to do is take advantage, develop, and be patient with every asset it has: young players and draft picks. Then with competent team management and probably a little luck, the Browns can start winning again.

Hey, Jonathan Bunge here, a huge Cleveland Browns fan. For more discussion on sports, connect with me on Twitter.