Below is a complete listing of all Ohio Historical Markers. To find a detailed marker listing including text, photographs, and locations, click on a county below. Our listing is updated by the markers program as new markers are installed and older markers are reported damaged or missing.
9-39 Paul E. Brown Football Trailblazer and Innovator
Side A: Paul Eugene Brown was born September 7, 1908, to Lester and Ida Belle Brown at their Norwalk home on 7 West Elm Street. He attended Benedict Elementary until his family moved to Massillon, where his football career began. Although small, Brown was a successful quarterback for Massillon’s Washington High School and Miami University in Oxford. In 1932, he returned to Massillon as head coach. Compiling an 80-8-2 record, he instituted new ideas now considered commonplace in football: the playbook, hand signals, and sending in plays. Ohio State University hired Brown in 1941 and he coached the Buckeyes to their National Championship in 1942. After WWII, Brown agreed in 1945 to coach Cleveland’s new pro team. Despite his objections, fans voted to name the new team after Coach Brown. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) In 1946, Brown integrated his Cleveland team with two of the first African American players in pro football: Marion Motley and Bill Willis. The Browns won four AAFC championships prior to joining the NFL and then won three NFL titles. He continued to innovate football by introducing game film study, practice squads, face masks, and the draw play. In 1967, Brown became part-owner and coach of the new Cincinnati Bengals. In his six NFL seasons, the team was 48-36-0, winning two division championships. Having won numerous coaching awards, Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Although he retired as coach after the 1975 season, Brown remained general manager of the Bengals until his death on August 5, 1991.