Hall of Fame coach and Cincinnati Bengals founder Paul Brown will be the subject of an episode of the NFL Films series “A Football Life,” according to a report by ESPNCleveland.com’s Tony Grossi.
NFL Films has produced 59 episodes of its documentary series “A Football Life,” which focuses on the professional and private lives of NFL players, coaches, owners and teams.
According to Grossi, the Paul Brown episode is scheduled to air Friday, Nov. 6, which is the day after the Bengals play the Browns in a nationally televised Thursday Night Football game on the NFL Network.
Brown coached the Cleveland Browns, who are named for him, from 1946-62. After being fired in 1963 by new owner Art Modell, who had taken over the team in 1961, Brown founded the Bengals, who began play in 1968.
He served as owner and head coach from 1968-75 before retiring from the sidelines.
Brown’s ties to Ohio go beyond his professional career. He graduated from Miami University, where he played quarterback, and later worked as the head coach at Massillon Washington High School before becoming an assistant coach at Ohio State.
Grossi’s article said he was behind the push for NFL Films to document Brown’s life.
The legendary Ohio football coach, founding coach of the Cleveland Browns – the very namesake of the franchise — pioneer of so many coaching innovations that are taken for granted today, founder of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise, and trunk of the largest and most successful coaching tree in NFL history, has been forgotten, I concluded, because the NFL has failed to memorialize or honor him in any meaningful way.
I wrote, with insight from Mike Brown, Paul Brown’s son and president and GM of the Bengals, that Brown was a victim of bad timing. The birth of NFL Films in 1964 coincided with the rise of Lombardi in Green Bay and the temporary exile of Brown after Art Modell fired him as Browns coach.
I pointed out that the popular “A Football Life” film series produced by NFL Network, the descendant of NFL Films, had not devoted a single episode to Brown – yet had produced two-parters on both Belichick and Lombardi.
On May 4, I received an email from Lindsay Spieler of NFL Films.
“We heard you,” she wrote.
“This season Paul Brown will have a long overdue episode dedicated to his legacy.”