Jim Brown, considered to be one of the greatest running backs of the NFL and college football, turned 85 recently. It may be coincidental that he shares a birthday with Michael Jordan. However, the stats, accolades and achievements he left behind cemented his place as one of the greatest athletes to play the game of football. Jim Brown left behind an eternal legacy for the game of football, the Cleveland Browns and the city itself.
During the time of the ’50s and ’60s, the defenses were built to stop the run, however, they were no match for Jim Brown. He amassed 12,312 rushing yards and 106 rushing touchdowns in nine seasons and he is the only running back to have a career average of over 100 rushing yards per game at 104.3 yards per game. The running back that comes close to this feat is Walter Payton with 99.2 rushing yards per game. He would have gotten more to pad his stats, but in 1965, he decided to pursue acting and prepare for his role after the owner Art Modell forced him to choose between acting and football.
The Cleveland Browns benefitted greatly from his talent of being a running back who was very hard to bring down. His talent and size helped the Browns to dominated the 1950’s as his 6′ 2″ frame and being 230 pounds ensured that his running game packed a punch when combined with his explosive speed. In addition, it is said that one player alone could not tackle Jim Brown, in order to tackle Brown, two players were required. The Browns would win the NFL Championship in 1964 and come out as the runner-ups during the 1957 season and the 1965 season.
Cleveland has been a city of legendary sports heroes such as Bob Feller and Mark Price. Jim Brown joins that cast with his legacy secured. The city of Cleveland will continue to treasure Jim Brown as he stayed with the Browns for his entire career. He is a legend in the city of Cleveland, so much so that he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship parade, which was the city’s first major sports championship since 1964. As Jim Brown is hopefully enjoying his 85th birthday, one has to wonder if the team that he spent nine seasons with can hopefully allow him to witness the Cleveland Browns as NFL Champions again sometime soon in the future.