BASN Classics: Jim Brown vs. O.J. Simpson: The Finale

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Updated: December 11, 2016
brown and oj

By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus

 

NEW HAVEN (BASN) — Throughout this entire NFL season on Sundays, BASN has taken an in-depth look at the signature seasons of Hall of Fame running backs Jim Brown (1963) and O.J. Simpson (1973).

 

If you’re looking a lot of off the field stuff with a National Inquirer or TMZ Sports style, you’d probably better step off now. This weekly essay is all about football and nothing else.

 

In last week’s action, Brown was held to 61 yards in an upset loss to the Detroit Lions. The Bills kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a win over the New England Patriots as Simpson ran for 219 yards and a touchdown.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed these weekly trips down memory lane as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing them with you. And now, we’ve reached the 14th and final week of the seasons.

 

Jim-Brown vs skins

 

 

WEEK 14 1963: Cleveland defeats Washington 27-20

 

The regular season would end just the way it began with a Cleveland victory over Washington (3-11). In Week One, Brown was responsible for 262 yards of offense (162 rushing, 100 receiving) and three touchdowns. This Sunday, Brown rushed for 125 yards on 28 carries. This day belonged to Cleveland quarterback Frank Ryan who finished 14-of-30 for 216 yards and three TD’s. Two of them went to wideout Gary Collins (5 catches, 48 yards). Cleveland led 20-7 at the half and was able to hold off D.C. in the end. One of Washington’s touchdowns came on a 92-yard kickoff return from former Brown Bobby Mitchell.

 

1963 browns

 

 

RECAP

 

While Brown’s 1,863 yards would give him his sixth rushing title in seven seasons, Cleveland’s 10-4 mark left them outside the playoff picture. As a team, the 1963 Browns gained a then-NFL record 5.74 yards per carry. The team did play in the much dreaded “Playoff Bowl” for the second time in four seasons. Prior to the Super Bowl era, the Playoff Bowl was devised to match the second-place teams from the NFL’s two conferences (Eastern and Western). This doubled from two to four the number of top NFL teams appearing in the post-season play on national television. On January 5, 1964, the Green Bay Packers defeated Cleveland 40-23 before 54,921 at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

 

oj vs jets 1

 

WEEK 14 1973: Buffalo defeats N.Y. Jets 34-14

 

In a snowy day at Shea Stadium, Simpson entered the final game needing 61 yards to eclipse Brown’s record of 1,863 yards and the team entered the game needing 177 rushing yards to break the team record of 2,960 set by the Dolphins just a year earlier. He posted 200 yards on 34 carries to bring his total to 2,003 in Weeb Ewbank’s final game as Jets coach. He became the first to accumulate 200 yards in a game three times in a season. In O.J.’s post-game news conference, he brought the entire offensive line — dubbed the “Electric Company” — to meet the media. Before he would field any questions, he introduced each of his teammates.

 

oj vs jets II

 

RECAP

Despite their first winning record (9-5) since 1964, the Bills would fall short of the playoffs. However, it was a record-breaking season for Buffalo. The team set an NFL record for most team rushing yards in a 14-game season, with 3,088 and averaged 5.1 yards per carry, higher than every Super Bowl championship team in all of league history. A season earlier, Simpson had earned his first All-Pro recognition and first rushing title. In addition to establishing a then-record for single-season rushing with 2,003yards, Simpson established the single-season record for rushing yards gained per game (143.1 yards per game on 23.7 rushes per game, an average of six yards per carry), which still stands.

 

 

Brown ’63

   Carries     Yards      YPC    TDs     Catches     Yards      YPC   TDs

vs WSH

28

125

4.5

-

      —      —-    -

Season

291

1,863

6.4

12

20

272

13.6

   3
Simpson ’73
   Carries     Yards      YPC    TDs    Catches     Yards    YPC   TDs

at NYJ

34

200

5.9

1

-

      –    —-     -

Season

332

2,003

6.0

12

4

     55   13.7    0

 

 

Anthony McClean can be reached via email at anthonymcclean1962@gmail.com.

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