HomeSportsBob Brown, bully on NFL Offensive Lines, dies at 81 - UnlistedNews

Bob Brown, bully on NFL Offensive Lines, dies at 81 – UnlistedNews

Bob Brown, considered one of the most intimidating and aggressive offensive tackles in the NFL in his day, but who had to wait more than 30 years after his retirement in 1973 to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died on June 16 in Oakland, California. He was 81 years old.

His son, Robert Jr., said his death, at a rehabilitation center, was caused by complications from a stroke Brown had in April.

At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Brown was powerful and agile. In a 10-year career with tthe Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raidershe was just as adept at protecting his quarterback as he was at leading the block on his running backs.

He viewed linear play as a four-quarter battle during which he would do just about anything to win, including deploying his forearms as weapons or sinking one of his thick thumbs into the “real nice meaty parts” of an opponent’s body, where the finished shoulder pads, once told NFL Films.

“He wasn’t just blocking people,” an NFL Films narrator said dramatically. “He buried them.”

One day during practice with the Rams, Brown got tired of the defensive end hitting him on the sides of the helmet. deacon jones — a tactic Jones used to disorient opposing linemen out of his way. So Brown removed a facemask screw from his helmet and replaced it with a longer one that filed down to a sharp point. In the next practice, Jones impaled his left hand on the screw and required a tetanus shot.

“I had two options” Brown told The Associated Press in 2004, reviewing his career. “He could go out and be really good and be the puncher, or he could go out and be very mediocre or ordinary and be the beaten up. I liked the role of puncher more.”

His approach worked. Brown bullied future Hall of Famers like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mean Joe Greene and the Green Bay Packers’ Herb Adderley. He was named a first-team All-Pro five times and selected to six Pro Bowls. The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him his 1960s All-Decade team.

Robert Stanford Brown was born on December 8, 1941 in Cleveland. His father, Ulises, owned a grocery store; his mother, Beatrice (Lumpkin) Brown, was a homemaker who helped out in the store.

Robert started playing soccer in high school. As a senior at East Technical High School, he was recruited by the University of Nebraska, where he played offensive guard and linebacker.

In 1963, his final year with the Cornhuskers, Brown was a consensus American general at offensive guard. He was the first black All-American in Nebraska football history.

Brown was selected in the first round of the 1964 NFL draft by the Eagles. He was tutored by the team’s defensive line coach, Dick Stanfel, and quickly established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the league. But after five years, he asked for a trade, unhappy with the Eagles’ hiring of a new general manager, Pete Retzlaff.

He was optioned to the Rams before the 1969 season, during which the team had an 11-3 record. But they lost, 23-20, to the Minnesota Vikings in the Western Conference championship game. The Vikings scored a safety in the fourth quarter when Minnesota’s future Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller battled Brown in the end zone to sack Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel.

In 1971, Brown was traded again, this time to the Raiders, where he joined an offensive line that included four other future Hall of Famers: Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto and Ron Mix. John Madden, the Raiders’ coach from 1969 to 1978, recalled the first impression Brown made on his new teammates in training camp.

“Hit a goalpost with the forearm. Crack! And the whole goal post goes down. All the guys look like that,” Madden told NFL Films, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide to illustrate his reaction. He then added: “He turned around and walked off the field.”

Injuries limited Brown’s playing time in the 1973 season (he started just eight games and played two more) and his career ended after three years with the Raiders. For the next half century, he spent most of his time restoring classic, powerful cars.

In addition to his son, Brown’s survivors include his wife, Cecilia (Grier) Brown, and a granddaughter.

Despite the honors he racked up during his football career, Brown had to wait 31 years to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I was disappointed after the first five years off the ball. I thought he would have been nominated and chosen after so long. But it didn’t happen,” he told The Lincoln Journal Star of Nebraska in 2004. “After a decade or so,” he added, “I finally let it go.”

At his induction in Canton, Ohio, in 2004, he spoke about his teammates, including Deacon Jones, and the battles in practice that helped lead to his late consecration.

“I love you for that,” he said. “But Deac, did you have to be so rude?”


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcus
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments