Paul Brown's Story Told on NFL Network's 'A Football Life'

NFL Communications

Paul Brown's Story Told on NFL Network's 'A Football Life'

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​​'Paul Brown: A Football Life' Premieres Friday, November 6 at 9:00 PM ET ​

          "I really think of him as the father of professional football." – Bill Belichick

 November 4, 2015: Paul Brown: A Football Life premieres Friday, November 6 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network with a look at the impact that Paul Brown had on the game of American football that is still evident in the way the game is being played today. The one-hour NFL Films-produced documentary also includes colorized film of Brown's coaching career in Cleveland.

Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (, the NFL app delivered on XBOX from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network (, with participating cable and satellite providers.

After beginning his football coaching career in the high school ranks, Brown was hired at Ohio State University and coached the school to their first national championship in football in 1942. Following World War II, Brown became the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, a team named after him. During his time with the Browns, Brown coached the team to ten consecutive championship games, winning all four AAFC Championships and three NFL championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955. In 1968, Brown helped found the Cincinnati Bengals.

Before Brown, football was a black and white game. Brown brought color to it. In the spirit of the Hollywood film Pleasantville, NFL Films partially colorized previously black and white footage. Brown and his innovations pop off the screen in bold, brilliant Technicolor. Throughout his career, Brown made numerous contributions to the game of football, including:

  • First coach to use game film to scout opponents, hire a full-time staff of assistants and use a playbook for his players
  • Invented the modern face mask, the scout team squad and the draw play
  • Also played a role in breaking down professional football's color barrier, bringing on some of the first African-Americans to play pro football in the modern era

Among the topics discussed in Paul Brown: A Football Life are:

  • His time leading the Browns to AAFC championships and later to NFL championships
  • Power struggle with Browns owner Art Modell
  • His founding of the Cincinnati Bengals
  • His lasting impact on the game, the people who coached it, and how the game is operated today.

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.

Paul Brown: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people and more:

Mike Brown – Paul's son

Sam Wyche – Former Bengals player and head coach

Jim Brown – Pro Football Hall of Fame running back

Cris Collinsworth – Former Bengals wide receiver

Tony Grossi – Cleveland sportswriter

Don Shula – Former Browns defensive back

Bill Belichick – Patriots head coach

Nick Saban – University of Alabama head coach

Condoleezza Rice – Former U.S. Secretary of State

Ken Anderson – Former Bengals quarterback

Jerry Springer – Former Mayor of Cincinnati

Patricia Heaton – Actress

Provided below are some select quotes from Paul Brown: A Football Life:

- "Check the record and then you tell me who is the greatest coach of all-time. I don't think we'll ever see anybody have that kind of impact. They're not the Green Bay Lombardis, as great as he was." – Cris Collinsworth

- "When you saw a Paul Brown team go on the field, it would be a reflection of Paul Brown totally. It would be Paul Brown, the creator; his images, his thoughts…Something would always be new." – Jim Brown

- "At the time he was Bill Gates. Paul Brown transformed the game from a physical exercise to an intellectual exercise." – Cris Collinsworth

- "My father chose the name Browns. I think in his mind it was his team and he was going to say so." – Mike Brown

- "When you have a lot of success, it creates a lot of complacency. Paul Brown was innovative enough to get players to respond towards wanting to continue to be successful." – Nick Saban

- "There's nobody in the game that I have more respect for than Paul Brown. His contributions to the game, to the way it's played, to protective equipment, to the playbook. Every film breakdown, every meeting and everything that he did as a coach, 50 years later everybody is still basically doing the same thing. I really think of him as the father of professional football." – Bill Belichick

- "They just called it the Browns after Paul Brown. Which is why you end up with this really weird mascot. This weird little Brownie with a pointed cap and a fierce scowl on its face." – Patricia Heaton

- "The person who influenced me the most was Paul Brown. This is where my whole coaching came from. The only way you could defeat him was to play his game." – Tom Landry

- "One of the big influences in my life was Paul Brown, constantly coming up with new things." – Chuck Noll

This season, A Football Life airs Friday at 9:00 PM ET. Below is the broadcast schedule for the November episodes:

  • November 13 – Mike Singletary
  • November 20 – Charley Haley


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