Playoff Bowl



January 5, 1964- Green Bay Packers 43, Cleveland Browns 20

In 1963, the defending NFL champion Green Bay Packers battled George Halas’ Chicago Bears for league supremacy. The Pack came up just short posting an 11-2-1 record. Their only losses came at the hands of the Bears (11-1-2). The Bears would go on to win the NFL championship that season and the Packers would settle for an appearance in the Playoff Bowl. Jim Taylor rushed for over 1000 yards and Bart Starr to Boyd Dowler was a lethal passing combination. In the East, the Cleveland Browns finished a game behind the New York Giants with a 10-4 record. The Browns were led by league leading rusher Jim Brown (1863 yards) and Frank Ryan, who threw for 2038 yards.


When the season ended, Green Bay had the third best winning percentage in NFL history for a team not to make the playoffs since the format was adopted in 1933. The Packers were favored in the Playoff Bowl and would not disappoint. They easily handled the Browns, 40 to 23. Green Bay was led by Tom Moore, who had two touchdowns, including a 99-yard pass reception from Bart Starr. The pass completion tied an NFL record for longest completion in history. Unfortunately, the statistics from exhibition games are not included in the permanent NFL record annals. The record is currently shared by 9 individuals, including the Packers’ Robert Brooks (Sept. 11, 1995).


Bart Starr was voted MVP of the game as he completed 15 of 18 passes for 259 yards. The Browns' Frank Ryan completed 18 0f 28 for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort. Green Bay opened the scoring on a first quarter 18 yard pass play from Starr the Ron Kramer. Then came Moore's incredible reception. Starting from their own one after holding the Browns out of the end zone, Starr hit Moore at the 19 and he raced the length of the field for the touchdown. The Packers never looked back from that moment and coasted to an easy victory. Cleveland managed to keep it close in the first half on a Lou Groza field goal and a 5 yard touchdown run by Ernie Green.  But Max McGee (15 yard pass from Starr) and Jim Taylor (one yard run) each scored in the second period to make the score 28-10 at the half.


The second half belonged to the Packers defense. The held Cleveland's star running back, Jim Brown, to 56 yards on 11 carries. The Packers got second half scores on a 1 yard Moore run, a Jerry Kramer field goal and a sack of Frank Ryan in the end zone for a safety. Ryan had a pair of second half touchdown passes, 20 yards to Rich Kreitling and 25 yards to Bob Crespino. The final was 40-23.


Anticipation was high for the 1964 season for another showdown between the Packers and Bears. But, it would by Ryan and the Cleveland Browns who would win the NFL title 11 months later.


The Packers just couldn't get by the Bears in 1963.


Winner Starr Plays It "Safe"



Miami News Sports Writer


At one time, it would have sounded like recommending cyanide as a health drink, but Bart Starr yesterday acclaimed passing from your end zone with the ball on your one-yard line about as safe a play as there is in football. Well, at least, as he put it, "not very precarious."


This once-regarded invitation to suicide in this sophisticated era of football brought a record 99 yard first quarter touchdown in the fourth annual Pro Playoff Bowl yesterday afternoon in the Orange Bowl.


It was the completion of the early turning point in Green Bay's 40-23 conquest of Cleveland in the post-season spectacle between the National Football League's divisional runners-up.


"What have you got to lose?" said Starr. The Green Bay quarterback threw for a record three touchdowns and was voted the standing player in the game. "If there's too much of a rush you can throw intentionally the ground. You're already on the one- so how far can penalize you?"


Green Bay had scored first from the opening kickoff and then stopped a Cleveland drive on its one-yard line. On the first play after taking the ball on downs on his one, Starr passed to halfback Tom Moore out to the left and he shot down the sideline unmolested to score.


The score, counting Kramer’s two extra points, was then 14-0 in favor of Green Bay with still 1:36 left in the first quarter.


This goal line stand immediately followed by this 99 yard touchdown was a difference of 14 points. Green Bay led instead of being tied 7-7 and had the firm upper hand then on.


Records fell with the frequency and rapidity of the clattering, marching feet of the Florida A&M band at halftime on this cloudy, somber, sluggish afternoon.


A new attendance record for the event- a mob of fans exceeding last year's congregation by 18,837- was set. Also, a new absence record with a complete absence of defense except far that classic, head-turning picketing by Green Bay at its goal in that first period.


"We don't often call that play." Starr said. "It depends on the situation. I thought it would work. I faked a handoff to Taylor into the line and threw to Moore running to the left."


"I just froze," confessed Cleveland right safety Ross Fitchner, who neglected to cover Moore. "I got stuck by that fake handoff and didn't get out fast enough to cover."


He said it was virtually a duplication of the play on which Washington scored on a 99-yard pass against Cleveland during the season- proving, it appears, that Cleveland's greatest weakness is against 99-yard passes.


"Both started with fake hand-offs, only George Izo passed to flanker back- Mitchell- for the Washington score and Starr threw to a halfback today.''


About every known Pro Playoff Bowl record was broken as the Western Division- never  beaten- made it four straight over the Eastern Division, Detroit having won the previous three games for the West.


Among the new records set are:


• Touchdown passes (3) by Starr.  He completed 15 of 18 passes for 259 yards- another game record. Cleveland's Frank Ryan, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 310 also broke the old mark (249) for yards gained passing.


• Most points scored in game- by one team (40) and both teams (63).


• Most yards gained rushing- by Green Bay (231)


• Most total yards gained- by both Green Bay (490) and Cleveland (418).


A number of other marks were tied or passed. In fact, the record book for this affair was practically rewritten.


The 28-10 first half was almost uninterrupted offense. Except for that stoppage of Cleveland on the Green Bay one and the halting of a Cleveland drive by the clock that ended the half, every time either side had the ball in the first half, it scored- either a touchdown or a field goal.


Neither side punted the first half (in fact there were only three punts in the whole game), nobody gave up the ball on a fumble, nobody had a pass intercepted- it was almost through traffic the whole half.


The touchdowns in the game went this way:


Starr passed 13 yards to Ron Kramer with 6:14 gone in the first quarter. The Green Bay touchdown climaxed a drive of 87 yards, including a 15-yard penalty, from the opening kick-off, featuring the running of Jimmy Taylor and Moore. J. Kramer's kick made it 7-0.


Starr passed 99 yards to Moore with 1:36 left in first quarter and J. Kramer kicked. Green Bay led 14-0.


Lou Groza kicked a 38-yard field goal for Cleveland with 1:08 gone in second quarter. It was then 14-3 Green Bay.


Starr passed to Max McGee from the 13 to top an 83-yard advance. J. Kramer kicked. Green Bay, 21-3.


Ryan passed Cleveland up the field most of 87 yards to the five and Ernie Green took it in from there. Groza’s kicked to make it 21-10.


Starr's passing and the running of Moore and Taylor moved the ball 71 yards to the two and Taylor banged over. J. Kramer kicked and the half ended 28-10 for Green Bay a minute and a half later.


An interception by Willie Wood and his runback of 36 yards to the Cleveland 19 set up Green Bay's score in the third quarter on fourth down. Moore scored from the two. J. Kramer kicked to make it 35-10.


J. Kramer's 8-yard field goal made it 38-10 early in the fourth.


In his fifth completion in five throws on a 69-yard advance, Ryan threw 20 yards to Rich  Kreitling. Groza kicked. The Scoreboard: Green Bay 38-17.


Bernie Parrish, the University of Florida product, returned an interception 40 yards to the Green Bay 15 and, a couple of plays later, Ryan passed 25 yards to Bob Crespino. Gross's kick was blocked and it stayed 38-23.


Green Bay scored two points on a safely as Ryan was tackled in his end zone by Lionel Aldridge and Urban Henry.


Jim Brown tries the Packers' line during first quarter goal line stand.


Following the stand, Tom Moore got loose down the sideline on a 99 yard touchdown reception.


Cleveland's John Wooten (60) takes out Green Bay's Henry Urban as Ernie Green (48) scoots by for first down.





















Scoring Summary


First Quarter

GB- R. Kramer 18 yard pass from Starr (J. Kramer kick)

GB- Moore 99 yard pass from Starr (J. Kramer kick)


Second Quarter

CLE- FG Groza 35

GB- McGee 15 yard pass from Starr (J. Kramer kick)

CLE- Green 5 run (Groza kick)

GB- Taylor 1 run (J. Kramer kick)


Third Quarter

GB- Moore 1 run (J. Kramer kick)


Fourth Quarter

GB- FG J. Kramer 8

CLE- Kreitling 20 yard pass from Ryan (Groza kick)

CLE- Crespino 25 yard pass from Ryan (Kick blocked)

GB- GB- Safety (Ryan tackled in endzone)


Attendance: 54,921