This essay DEEEE-FENSE. has a total of 2790 words and 19 pages.
And it ended with two astounding victories by the American Football League when the brash Joe Namath helped the New York Jets win Super Bowl
III and the powerful Kansas City Chiefs spoiled the NFL\'s golden anniversary celebration by winning Super Bowl IV, and positioned pro football for
its last great realignment.
That second quarter century began when the Cleveland Rams found a wonderful tailback at UCLA named Bob Waterfield whose gorgous movie star
wife Jane Russell elicited more publicity than he did -- even on the sports pages. Waterfield not only was named NFL rookie of the year in 1945, but
he led the Rams to the NFL championsip on the margin of a fluke safety scored when a pass thrown by Washington\'s Sammy Baugh from his own end
zone struck the cross bar of the goal posts and fell to the ground. Under the rules of the time, that was an automatic safety and brought the Rams a
Before the next summer rolled around, the Cleveland Rams were the Los Angeles Rams . . . and the face of pro football was changed forever bcause
expansion had become a heady proposition and suddenly the Mississippi River barrier (there were no major league teams in any sport west of St.
Louis in 1945) disappeared.
A NEW RIVAL:THE ALL-AMERICA FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
The NFL was not the first to place a major league team on the west coast because, before the war ended, already primed and ready to begin operations
in 1946 was the All-America Football Conference, with a farseeing image that included two of its eight franchises in Los Angeles and San Francisco;
and a shattering of the racial barriers that heretofore had made the sport an all white entity since 1933.
The AAFC lasted just four years, but it was a seminal influence on the post-war growth of pro football because it forced changes in the sport that
prepared it for the up tempo era of sports in post-war America.
This new league was the brainchild of Arch Ward, the renowned sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and father of both baseball\'s All-Star Game and
the Chicago College All-Star football game. He wanted a structure in pro football that matched that of major league baseball -- two separate leagues
who decided a champion with a world series. He mistakenly believed the two leagues would coexist without problems, as major league baseball did.
But it never happened beause he underestimated the importance of the player draft and instead of peace and harmony, the two leagues fought each
other with dollars for new players. More importantly, the AAFC also brought new minds and ideas that propelled the sport\'s popularity.
THE NEW NFL
The merger of the NFL and AAFC in 1950 produced a truly national football league that had two West Coast teams in the Rams and 49ers, two in
New York with the Giants and Yanks (a combination of the Bulldogs, and Yankees from the AAFC) and the original franchises in the middle. The
AAFC\'s Colts lasted just one year; the Yanks were transferred to Dallas in 1952 but lasted only part of that season and then became the Baltimore
Colts in 1953.
When the Browns entered the NFL, they were target No. 1 for all the old NFL teams, which had belittled their AAFC rivals as being less than worthy.
So Bell matched the two league champions--Cleveland and the Eagles--against eachother in the season opener and the Browns clobbered the proud
NFL champions 35-10. The NFL\'s old guard was stunned but Bell was delighted.
The Browns then went on to win their first NFL championship with a thrilling 30-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams which, had there been
national television on the scale of today, would have been remembered as one of the greatest games in league history. The Browns came from behind
in the final minute to win on Lou Groza\'s field goal after a magnificent two minute drill by Graham set up the winning score. Paul Brown called it
the most memorable game of his career because it validated all that his team had accomplished, and because so many of the game\'sgreatest players
competed on the same field.
The Browns ran their consecutive title game appearances to ten through 1955 and once again threatened to dull a league, even with three consecutive
title game losses to the Rams on Van Brocklin\'s 75-yard touchdown pass to Tom Fears midway
Topics Related to DEEEE-FENSE.
National Football League, National Football League regular season, All-America Football Conference, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, Professional American football championship games, National Football Conference
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