Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1967
Brown was not only the founder and first coach of both the Bengals and the Browns, he was one of the great innovators in pro football history.
Elected in 1967 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Brown also was founder and first coach of the Cleveland Browns, whom he guided to seven league championships in their first 12 seasons. He posted a .665 winning percentage over 25 years of pro coaching (222-112-9, including playoffs). Earlier in his career, he created an Ohio dynasty at Massillon High School and coached Ohio State University to a national championship (1942).
Brown pioneered coaching as a year-round profession, invented the draw play, introduced the use of face masks on helmets, initiated film study and classroom instruction of players, and was the first coach to call plays from the sidelines. He also broke the color barrier in modern American pro sports, as his Cleveland team featured black stars Marion Motley and Bill Willis in 1946, a year before Jackie Robinson's debut in Major League Baseball.
Born in Norwalk, Ohio, and reared in Massillon, Ohio, Brown was Bengals coach and general manager from 1968-75. He stepped down as coach following an 11-3 season in 1975, and continued in the GM's role until his death at age 82 on Aug. 5, 1991.
“Whether they know it or not, nearly everyone in football has been affected by Paul Brown ... his wealth of ideas changed the game.” Former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle