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1972 Cleveland Browns season
Head Coach Nick Skorich
Home Field Cleveland Stadium
Results
Record 10–4–0
Place 2nd AFC Central
Playoff Finish Lost AFC Wild Card Playoffs
Timeline
Previous Season Next Season
1971 1973

The 1972 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 23rd season with the National Football League.

Season summaryEdit

1972 marked the end of a nine-year span in which the Browns made the playoffs seven times, won an NFL championship and got to the league title game on three other occasions.

The 1972 Cleveland Browns not only made it to the postseason as a wild card team with a 10-4 record, but also nearly pulled off what would have been one of the biggest upsets in team and NFL playoff history. Playing in the AFC divisional round in Miami against a Dolphins team that would go 17-0 and win the Super Bowl, the Browns lost 20-14 after blowing a 14-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

The Browns started the year with veteran QB Bill Nelsen, who had arrived from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 1968 trade, as their starting quarterback. But when Nelsen, whose knees were just about shot, struggled early and the team followed suit by getting off to a rocky 2-3 start, the move was made to start Mike Phipps, drafted in 1970 with the No.3 overall pick the Browns obtained by trading Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield to Miami. Although Phipps didn't have a very good year statistically - he completed only 47.2 percent of his passes and threw for just 13 touchdowns with 16 interceptions - he was able to make plays when he had to.

The Browns were only 2-3 and had been outscored 48-7 in their last two games, and 74-17 in their three losses, before a six-game winning streak ensued. Included in that was a last-second, 26-24 comeback decision at home over the Steelers, who were trying to win the AFC Central title and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Browns finished second to the Steelers (11-3) by a game after winning eight of their last nine contests, the only loss being a 30-0 decision in the rematch in Pittsburgh. The Browns also turned back the Denver Broncos on the road 27-20.

Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Leroy Kelly, in his last good season, rushed for 811 yards. Wide receiver Frank Pitts led the team in receptions with 36, good for eight touchdowns -- or 62 percent of the team total of 13. But it was primarily the defense that saved the season for the Browns. The unit gave up over 30 points only twice all year, posted a shutout and kept foes to 17 points or less eight times.[1]

PersonnelEdit

Coaches/StaffEdit

Staff/CoachesEdit

1972 Cleveland Browns final staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Strength and Conditioning

RosterEdit

1972 Cleveland Browns roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

None - vacant


Practice/Taxi Squad


Rookies in italics

Exhibition scheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 August 4, 1972 at Los Angeles Rams L 13–3
64,803
2 August 13, 1972 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–13
58,364
3 August 20, 1972 at Detroit Lions L 34–7
58,422
4 August 26, 1972 Minnesota Vikings L 20–17
70,583
5 September 3, 1972 vs. Cincinnati Bengals at Columbus, OH L 27–21
84,816
6 September 10, 1972 at New York Giants L 27–13
60,152

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 17, 1972 Green Bay Packers L 26–10
75,771
2 September 24, 1972 at Philadelphia Eagles W 27–17
65,720
3 October 1, 1972 Cincinnati Bengals W 27–6
81,564
4 October 8, 1972 Kansas City Chiefs L 31–7
83,819
5 October 15, 1972 Chicago Bears L 17–0
72,339
6 October 22, 1972 at Houston Oilers W 23–17
38,113
7 October 29, 1972 at Denver Broncos W 27–20
51,656
8 November 5, 1972 Houston Oilers W 20–0
61,985
9 November 13, 1972 at San Diego Chargers W 21–17
54,205
10 November 19, 1972 Pittsburgh Steelers W 26–24
83,009
11 November 26, 1972 Buffalo Bills W 27–10
70,104
12 December 3, 1972 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 30–0
50,350
13 December 9, 1972 at Cincinnati Bengals W 27–24
59,524
14 December 17, 1972 at New York Jets W 26–10
62,614

PlayoffsEdit

Round Date Opponent Result Attendance
Wildcard December 24, 1972 at Miami Dolphins L 20–14
78,196

StandingsEdit

AFC Central
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Pittsburgh Steelers 11 3 0 .786 343 175 W-4
Cleveland Browns 10 4 0 .714 268 249 W-2
Cincinnati Bengals 8 6 0 .571 299 229 W-1
Houston Oilers 1 13 0 .071 164 380 L-11

ReferencesEdit

  1. Season summary and statistics at Cleveland Browns.com

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