1970 Cleveland Browns Season
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1970 Cleveland Browns Season

1970 Cleveland Browns season
OwnerArt Modell
Head coachBlanton Collier
Home fieldCleveland Stadium
Local radioWHK
Division place2nd AFC Central
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro BowlersNone

The 1970 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 21st season with the National Football League. The Browns attempted to improve on its 10-3-1 record from 1969. The team would fail to do so, and they finished with an even 7-7 record and missed the postseason. This was the first season that the Browns would play the Cincinnati Bengals, their new arch-rival in the AFC Central. The 2 teams split their 2 meetings in the first season series.

Season summary

The merger between the NFL and AFL was complete, with the leagues now playing each other in the regular season for the first time. This was the last step in a four-year process that began in January 1967 with the champions from both leagues playing in Super Bowl I.

To finish the merger, the Browns, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts, agreed to move in 1970 from the NFL to the old AFL, renamed the AFC, to balance the leagues, now called conferences (NFC and AFC), at 13 clubs each. The merger had hit a stalemate when none of the NFL teams initially wanted to jump to what many of the old-line NFL people felt was an inferior league overall.

Concerning just the Browns themselves, there was the situation involving Blanton Collier. Although no one except maybe the man himself knew it at the start of the season, this was going to be the last year for the venerable head coach. Plagued by hearing problems, the 64-year-old coach announced his retirement before the end of the 1970 season, which the Browns finished with a 7-7 record.[1] Collier told owner Art Modell that he could no longer hear his players, and it was difficult to read their lips through new face masks that obscured their mouths.[2] Modell tried to help by getting Collier to try new hearing aids and even sent him for acupuncture treatment, but none of it worked.[3] Collier struggled during press conferences because he often could not hear what reporters were asking and answered the wrong questions.[4] In eight years as coach, Collier led Cleveland to a championship and a 76-34-2 record.[1] Nick Skorich, who came to the Browns as offensive coordinator in 1964, was named as his replacement in 1971.[5] Collier had been on the job since 1963 and guided the Browns to the NFL championship a year later.

Paul Warfield trade to Dolphins

Realizing quarterback Bill Nelsen's aching knees were on borrowed time, the Browns had made a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins on the eve of the 1970 NFL Draft to get the rights to select the man they felt would be their passer of the future, Mike Phipps. But it came at a steep price, for they had to give up Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield in the process. That loss, coupled with Nelsen's physical condition and the unfamiliarity with the personnel on the former AFL clubs they were playing for the first time, took the starch out of what had been a good offense going all the way back to 1963. The result was the Browns scored 65 less points than they had the year before, and 108 less than two seasons before.

Along with that, the defense, though it gave up 35 fewer points than it had in 1969, just could not make up the difference, led to the Browns finishing 7-7, only the second non-winning mark in club history. In spite of that, the season started well for the Browns, as they opened 3-1 and then were 4-2.

First Monday Night Football game

The Browns beat Joe Namath and the New York Jets 31-21 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the opener in the first Monday Night Football game in history, and, three games later, edged Cincinnati 30-27 in Bengals head coach Paul Brown's first official visit to Cleveland since being fired by the Browns eight years before. [6]


NFL Draft

The following were selected in the 1970 NFL Draft.

Round Overall Player Position School/Club Team
1 3 Mike Phipps Quarterback Purdue
1 21 Bob McKay Tackle Texas
2 36 Turkey Jones Defensive end Tennessee State
2 47 Jerry Sherk Defensive tackle Oklahoma State
4 99 Ricky Stevenson Defensive back Arizona
5 125 Steve Engel Running back Colorado
6 151 Mike Cilek Quarterback Iowa
7 177 Craig Wycinski Guard Michigan State
8 203 Honester Davidson Defensive back Bowling Green
9 229 Geoff Brown Linebacker Pittsburgh
10 255 William Yanchar Defensive tackle Purdue
11 281 Gene Benner Wide receiver Maine
12 307 Jerry Sanders Kicker Texas Tech
13 333 Larry Roberts Running back Central Missouri
14 359 Jim Tharpe Linebacker Lincoln (Mo.)
15 385 Guy Homoly Defensive back Illinois State
16 410 John Redebaugh Tight end Bemidji State
17 436 Charles Tabb Running back McMurry


Exhibition schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 August 8 at Los Angeles Rams L 17-30 0-1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 71,559
2 August 15 vs. San Francisco 49ers W 17-10 1-1 Tampa Stadium 41,851
3 August 22 vs. Kansas City Chiefs L 13-16 1-2 Memphis Memorial Stadium 31,532
4 August 29 at Cincinnati Bengals L 24-31 1-3 Riverfront Stadium 57,112
5 September 5 Minnesota Vikings L 21-24 1-4 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 83,043
6 September 12 at New York Giants W 30-29 2-4 Yankee Stadium 62,461

There was a doubleheader on September 5, 1970 Cardinals vs Chargers and Vikings vs Browns.

Regular season schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance Recap
1 September 21 New York Jets W 31-21 1-0 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 85,703 Recap
2 September 27 at San Francisco 49ers L 31-34 1-1 Kezar Stadium 37,502 Recap
3 October 3 Pittsburgh Steelers W 15-7 2-1 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 84,349 Recap
4 October 11 Cincinnati Bengals W 30-27 3-1 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 83,520 Recap
5 October 18 Detroit Lions L 24-41 3-2 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 83,577 Recap
6 October 25 at Miami Dolphins W 28-0 4-2 Miami Orange Bowl 75,313 Recap
7 November 1 San Diego Chargers L 10-27 4-3 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 80,047 Recap
8 November 8 at Oakland Raiders L 20-23 4-4 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 54,463 Recap
9 November 15 at Cincinnati Bengals L 10-14 4-5 Riverfront Stadium 60,007 Recap
10 November 22 Houston Oilers W 28-14 5-5 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 74,723 Recap
11 November 29 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 9-28 5-6 Three Rivers Stadium 50,214 Recap
12 December 7 at Houston Oilers W 21-10 6-6 Houston Astrodome 50,582 Recap
13 December 12 Dallas Cowboys L 2-6 6-7 Cleveland Municipal Stadium 75,458 Recap
14 December 20 at Denver Broncos W 27-13 7-7 Mile High Stadium 51,001 Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Season summary

Week 4

In the first regular-season matchup between Paul Brown's old team and his new one, the Browns beat the Bengals. It's an important win for the Browns, who we're chastised for losing a preseason game to Cincinnati. Running backs Leroy Kelly and Bo Scott combined for 236 yards, and a fired up defense sets the early tone when defensive tackle Walter Johnson sacks Bengals quarterback Virgil Carter for a safety.

1 234Total
Bengals 10 737 27
Browns 2 14014 30



AFC Central
Cincinnati Bengals 8 6 0 .571 3-3 7-4 312 255 W7
Cleveland Browns 7 7 0 .500 4-2 7-4 286 265 W1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 9 0 .357 3-3 5-6 210 272 L3
Houston Oilers 3 10 1 .231 2-4 3-7-1 217 352 L3

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.






  1. ^ a b "Browns' Blanton Says He's Retiring This Year". Rochester Sentinel. December 2, 1970.
  2. ^ Pluto 1997, p. 297.
  3. ^ Pluto 1997, pp. 69-70.
  4. ^ Pluto 1997, p. 70.
  5. ^ "Name Nick Skorich New Browns' Coach". Bangor Daily News. Cleveland. Associated Press. January 8, 1971. p. 7. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ "Season summary and statistics at Cleveland Browns.com". Archived from the original on October 25, 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/draft/1970.htm
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com
  9. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/cle/1970_roster.htm


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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