50 Greatest Browns of All-Time: #4 K/OL Lou Groza
Continuing in our series on the 50 Greatest Browns, we are now going to profile Lou “The Toe” Groza. We hope you have enjoyed the previous articles ranking players 50 – 5. As always, if you haven’t read those make sure to check them out.
Lou Groza was an Ohio boy through and through. In 1924, he was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio. While in high school, Groza played football, basketball and baseball and was captain of the basketball and baseball teams. After high school, he enrolled in Ohio State before joining the U.S. Army during World War II.
After leaving the army, Groza joined the newly formed Browns, joining coach Paul Brown and players Otto Graham and Marion Motley amongst others. As a member of the “Original Browns,” Groza helped the team win four AAFC Championships and four NFL Championships, including the 1950 championship game where Groza kicked a game-winning field goal with only 28 seconds left.
Groza played in 268 games for the Browns over his 21-year career. He has a career FG% of 54.9% and an XP% of 97.2%. His career long field goal was 53 yards. Groza scored 1,608 points in his career which is a franchise record and good for 3rd place all-time in NFL history.
Once his playing days came to an end he continued to be a member of the Browns family as he would help Browns rookies in numerous ways. In 1995, when Art Modell announced that the Browns would be moving to Baltimore, Groza was extremely outspoken. Later in his life, he had health difficulties due to back and hip surgeries and he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. In 2000 he had a heart attack and passed away.
His legacy has continued as the best kicker in the NCAA gets the Lou Groza Award. Current Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez won the award in 2016 when he played for Arizona State. The city of Berea, Ohio has named a street, the one where the Browns training facility is located, after Groza. Additionally, the Browns have honored Groza by naming the training field Lou Groza Field where there is a statue of Groza in front of the field. The Browns retired his number and enshrined him in their Ring of Honor. Finally, the NFL has bestowed their highest honor on Groza by inducting him into the Hall of Fame in 1974.