Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pillar of the NFL: Lou Groza

In Patrick McCaskey's Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships he covers the ten greatest NFL coaches of all-time--one of the best NFL history books you can buy.  Among the pillars is Paul Brown who coached the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

In Cleveland, Brown won four AAFC titles and three NFL titles  in 25 years as head coach.  In Pillars, we describe some of Brown's key players and we'd  thought we'd reproduce some of that for our posts.

Lou “the Toe” Groza

Kicker Lou Groza was a very accurate kicker who would often kick field goals much longer than normally attempted at the time.  Groza was another key player who made the Browns a dominant team. He and several other teammates would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  In addition to kicking, Groza played tackle for several seasons. Fans of the Brown remember Lou "the toe" with great fondness.
Groza had long field goals of 50, 51 and 49 yards. The professional football kicking game was improving during this period and Groza led the way. Groza played for 16 years with Brown in Cleveland.

The Browns honored Groza by renaming the street in front of their Berea training facility “Lou Groza Boulevard.”

In 1992, The Palm Beach County Sports Commission established the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker award. This award is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker as determined by a voting panel of Division 1 head coaches, sports writers and sportscasters from across the county, conference representatives, professional kickers and previous winners. The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award has become the most prestigious college football award for kickers.

See "The Day Dick Butkus Caught a Bobby Douglass Pass for the Win."