1953 NFL Championship Game
|Date||December 27, 1953|
|Stadium||Briggs Stadium, Detroit|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Harry Wismer and Red Grange|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Earl Gillespie and Chris Schenkel|
The defending NFL champion Detroit Lions (10–2) of the Western Conference were led by quarterback Bobby Layne and running back Doak Walker, and the Cleveland Browns (11–1) of the Eastern Conference were led by head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. The game was a rematch of the previous year, which was won by the Lions, 17–7. This was the Browns' fourth consecutive NFL championship game appearance since joining the league in 1950, and they were favored by three points.
The home underdog Lions rallied in the fourth quarter with a late touchdown and conversion to win by a single point, 17–16. The two teams met the following year for a third consecutive title match-up.
The Lions struck first with a Doak Walker touchdown, and both scored field goals in the second quarter and the Lions led at halftime, 10–3. The Browns scored thirteen straight points in the second half to take the lead.
Trailing 16–10 with four minutes and 10 seconds of play remaining, the Lions started from their own 20-yard line and fought their way 80 yards in eight plays, the touchdown coming on a 33-yard pass from Bobby Layne to Jim Doran in the end zone, and Walker's extra point gave the Lions the lead.
Trailing 17–16, the Browns had one last chance; Ken Carpenter started the drive with a run to his own 28, but an Otto Graham pass intended for Pete Brewster was deflected by rookie defensive halfback Carl Karilivacz, intercepting the throw, clinching the Lions their third title.
Sunday, December 27, 1953
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. EST
- First quarter
- DET – Doak Walker 1-yard run (Walker kick), 7–0 DET
- Second quarter
- CLE – FG Lou Groza 13 yard, 7–3 DET
- DET – FG Walker 23 yard, 10–3 DET
- Third quarter
- CLE – Chick Jagade 9-yard run (Groza kick), 10–10 tie
- Fourth quarter
The gross receipts for the game, including radio and television rights, were just under US$359,000. Each player on the winning Lions team received $2,424, while Browns players made $1,654 each, the highest to date.
- You Tube – 1953 NFL Championship Game – game footage (without audio)
- Strickler, George (December 27, 1953). "Browns, Lions meet for title". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
- Strickler, George (December 28, 1953). "Lions win in last 3 minutes, 17 to 16". Chicago Daily Tribune.
- Sell, Jack (December 28, 1953). "Lions retain NFL title; edge Browns, 17-16". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 12.
- "Lions capture pro title 17-16". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. United Press, Associated Press reports. December 28, 1953. p. 2B.
- Prell, Edward (December 29, 1952). "Lions win pro crown; beat Browns, 17-7". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
- Sell, Jack (December 29, 1952). "Lions defeat Browns for NFL title, 17-7". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 18.
- "Browns, Lions clash today". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. December 27, 1953. p. D1.
- Livingston, Pat (December 28, 1953). "Detroit's rally keeps NFL title". Pittsburgh Press. p. 14.
- "Wallace, Rebele, Hamer to work in title game". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 24, 1953. p. 12.