Frank Ryan led an upstart Cleveland Browns team to the NFL Championship in 1964 against the Baltimore Colts. The team hasn’t claimed a title since, giving Ryan, who had NFL legend Jim Brown in his backfield, the distinction of being the last quarterback to bring home an NFL title for the area’s football fans.
Ryan died New Year’s Day at age 89.
The Browns, led by Ryan and Jim Brown, would go on to score all of their points in the second half to give the Browns the title.
The NFL wasn’t the pass happy league that it’s evolved into since, but Ryan connected on 11-of-18 passes for 206 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, out-dueling Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas. Brown rushed for 114 yards on 27 carries and wide receiver Gary Collins produced a career day with five receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
Ryan, who came to the Browns from the Los Angeles Rams for the 1962 season, played six seasons with the team and still ranks No. 5 in passing yards, second in passing touchdowns and fourth in quarterback rating. Playing in parts of 13 seasons, he finished his career with Washington.