1968 Cleveland Browns season
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The 1968 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 19th season with the
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rect ...
. The Browns made it to the playoffs for the 2nd straight year thanks to an 8-game winning streak and the brilliant play of quarterback
Bill Nelsen William Keith Nelsen (January 29, 1941 – April 11, 2019) was a American football, football player who played collegiately for the University of Southern California and professionally with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. He wa ...
who replaced Frank Ryan as the starting quarterback prior to week 4 of their season.


Season summary

In a relative sense Browns had not done much since 1965, when they lost to the Green Bay Packers 23–12 in the NFL Championship Game. They finished 9–5 in 1966 and '67, but made the playoffs only in the second year. However, it was a short stay, as the Dallas Cowboys blew them out 52–14 in the Eastern Conference Championship Game. So with a retooled roster the Browns headed into the 1968 season, hoping to get back into serious title contention. It worked. After a slow start in which they lost two of their first three games and three of their first five, the re-tooled Browns won eight in a row before falling 27–16 to the St. Louis Cardinals in a meaningless game in the regular-season finale. The result was a 10–4 mark, the Century Division crown (by the slimmest of margins over the 9–4–1 Cardinals) and a spot in the conference title game again opposite those same Cowboys. Only this time, the Browns advanced, beating Dallas 31–20 to get to the league title game against the Baltimore Colts. The Colts, returning to Cleveland Stadium, where they were stunned by the Browns 27–0 in the championship contest four years before, got revenge with a shutout victory of their own, 34–0. So it was the Colts and not the Browns who headed to Super Bowl III, where they were stunned once more, this time by the New York Jets, 16–7. The key to the Browns' turnaround in 1968 was the insertion of
Bill Nelsen William Keith Nelsen (January 29, 1941 – April 11, 2019) was a American football, football player who played collegiately for the University of Southern California and professionally with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. He wa ...
at quarterback early in the season. Nelsen replaced Frank Ryan, the architect of that victory over the Colts in 1964. By '68, though, he was really banged up, battling shoulder problems. Nelsen had been acquired in an offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was inspired by going to a team that had a chance to win. At the time, the Steelers were in the midst of a 6-year run without a playoff appearance. Nelsen made an impact right away, helping to beat the Colts 30–20 to hand Baltimore its only loss in a 13–1 season.


Offseason


NFL Draft

The following were selected in the
1968 NFL Draft#REDIRECT 1968 NFL/AFL draft {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from other capitalization ...
.


Personnel


Roster


Staff/Coaches


Exhibition schedule

There was a doubleheader on September 7, 1968 Lions vs Jets (AFL) and Packers vs Browns.


Regular season schedule


Game summaries


Week 7: vs.

Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United S ...


Playoffs


Standings


Awards and honors

* LeRoy Kelly,
Bert Bell Award The Bert Bell Award is presented by the Maxwell Football ClubThe Maxwell Football Club (originally called the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia) was established in 1935 Events January * January – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiop ...


References


External links


Season summary and stats at Cleveland Browns.com
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Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the United States, U.S. U.S. state, state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County. It is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across the U.S. ...
Cleveland Browns seasons 1968 in sports in Ohio, Cleveland Browns