1954 NFL Championship Game
|Date||December 26, 1954|
|Stadium||Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Byrum Saam and Chuck Thompson|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Earl Gillespie and Chris Schenkel|
The Detroit Lions (9–2–1) of the Western Conference met the Cleveland Browns (9–3) of the Eastern Conference in the NFL title game for the third consecutive year. The Lions won the previous two: 17–7 at Cleveland in 1952 and 17–16 at home in Briggs Stadium in 1953. They were attempting to become the first team to win three consecutive league titles in the championship game era (since 1933). The Green Bay Packers won three consecutive (1929, 1930, 1931) when the title was determined by the regular season final standings.
The Lions were led by quarterback Bobby Layne, running back Doak Walker, and head coach Buddy Parker. The Browns were led by head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. The Lions had won the regular season meeting 14–10 the week before on December 19, also at Cleveland, with a late touchdown. Detroit was a slight favorite (2½ to 3 points) to three-peat as champions.
The underdog Browns won the title at home in a rout, 56–10; placekicker Lou Groza made eight extra points, a new title game record, among many.
The Lions struck first with a 36-yard field goal by Walker. Six plays after the next kickoff, the Browns took the lead on Graham's 36-yard scoring pass to Ray Renfro, and never relinquished the lead as the Lions' run game was stopped effectively by the Browns' defense. The lead at halftime was 35–10, and the Lions did not score again.
Detroit quarterback Layne (18 for 42, passing for 177 yards) was intercepted six times, with Len Ford and Kenny Konz pulling in two each. The Browns also recovered three Detroit fumbles, with two of the recoveries leading to scores. Tom Dublinski replaced Layne as the Lion quarterback after the score reached 49–10 late in the third quarter.
Sunday, December 26, 1954
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST
- First quarter
- Second quarter
- CLE – Graham 1-yard run (Groza kick), 21–3 CLE
- DET – Bill Bowman 5-yard run (Walker kick), 21–10 CLE
- CLE – Graham 5-yard run (Groza kick), 28–10 CLE
- CLE – Renfro 31-yard pass from Graham (Groza kick), 35–10 CLE
- Third quarter
- CLE – Graham 1-yard run (Groza kick), 42–10 CLE
- CLE – Curly Morrison 12-yard run (Groza kick), 49–10 CLE
- Fourth quarter
- CLE – Chet Hanulak 12-yard run (Groza kick), 56–10 CLE
The gross receipts for the game, including over $101,000 for radio and television rights, were just over US$289,000. Each player on the winning Browns team received $2,478, while Lions players made $1,585 each.
- Strickler, George (December 26, 1954). "Lions battle Browns for pro title today". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
- Strickler, George (December 27, 1954). "Browns whip Lions, 56-10, for pro title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 4.
- "Otto Graham gets revenge; Browns whip Lions 56-10". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 27, 1954. p. 9, part 2.
- Livingston, Pat (December 27, 1954). "Browns make Lions look like Steelers, 56-10". Pittsburgh Press. p. 14.
- Liska, Jerry (December 27, 1954). "Graham stars as Browns humble Lions for title, 56-10". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 3, part 2.
- "Mixture as before: Lions beat Browns". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 20, 1954. p. 21.
- Livingston, Pat (December 26, 1954). "Lions battle Browns for NFL title". Pittsburgh Press. p. 1, section 4.
- "Browns-Lions clash in Cleveland today for grid title". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. December 26, 1954. p. D1.
- Stolle, Lawrence M. (December 27, 1954). "Graham features as Cleveland crushes Detroit 56-10, for pro grid championship". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. p. 8.
- "Facts and figures". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 27, 1954. p. 10, part 2.
Heaton, Chuck (December 26, 1954). "Browns Regain Title 56 to 10". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved December 12, 2007.