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Classic Rewind: 1968 Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Colts 7

Posted on September 24, 2009 by Dean Hybl
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Each week during the 2009 NFL season, Sports Then and Now will pick one NFL matchup and look through the history books to find an intriguing past meeting between the two teams. We will recap the game and hopefully help reintroduce (or introduce for you younger readers) you to some of the greats (and in some cases not so greats) from the history of professional football.

Thanks to the decision in 1995 by Art Modell to move the beloved Cleveland Browns to Baltimore a decade after the Colts left in the middle of the night for Indianapolis, Cleveland and Baltimore are forever linked and more than a decade later there is still resentment and anger among some long-time Cleveland fans.

This week as the Baltimore Ravens and current Cleveland Browns are preparing to do battle, we look at a game between the two predecessor franchises in those two cities. The Baltimore Colts and original Cleveland Browns had some classic confrontations during the 1950s and 1960s. But their regular season meeting during the 1968 season is one of the most noteworthy.

The Matchup: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Colts

Series Record: Between 1956 and 1983 the Browns and Colts met 15 times with Cleveland holding a 10-5 series advantage, including wins in their final five meetings. The two teams met in the playoffs three times, with Baltimore holding a 2-1 edge. However, Cleveland defeated the Colts 27-0 to win the 1964 NFL Championship. There were some other memorable moments in the series including a 38-31 Cleveland victory in 1959 in which Jim Brown rushed for five touchdowns and Johnny Unitas passed for four scores. In 1978, veteran running back Calvin Hill caught three touchdown passes to lift the Browns to a 45-24 victory. Two years later, Bert Jones led the Colts on a furious fourth quarter comeback that fell just short in a 28-27 Cleveland victory.

However, of all the meetings, the 1968 matchup is the most interesting and worthy of a Classic Rewind.
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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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