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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Image source: cleveland.com
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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Image source: pinterest.com

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.