February 3, 2012

MVP Profile: Lou Groza, 1954

Offensive Tackle/Placekicker, Cleveland Browns

Age: 30
9th season in pro football & with Browns
College: Ohio State
Height: 6’3” Weight: 235

Groza saw little college action before going into the military during World War II, but Paul Brown signed him for the Browns of the new AAFC for 1946. In his first season, he was used primarily as a placekicker who backed up on the offensive line, and he led the league in field goals (13), extra points (45), and scoring (84 points). But he became a starting tackle during the ’47 season and excelled there, if not as visibly as he did with his kicking. With Cleveland joining the NFL in 1950, Groza led the league in field goals (13) and field goal percentage (68.4), kicked the game-winning field goal in the NFL title game, and was named to the Pro Bowl for the first of six straight seasons. He again led the league in field goals in 1952 (19) and ’53 (23) and was successful on 88.5 % of his attempts in the latter year. The best placekicker of his era, “The Toe” also continued to be an outstanding tackle. He was a consensus first-team All-Pro in 1952 and ’53.

1954 Season Summary
Appeared in all 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Field goals – 16 [1]
Most field goals, game - 3 at Chi. Bears 11/14, at NY Giants 11/28
Field goal attempts – 24 [2]
Field goal percentage – 66.7 [1]
PATs – 37 [3]
PAT attempts – 38 [3, tied with Les Richter]
Longest field goal – 44 yards vs. Detroit 12/19

Field Goals – 16
PATs – 37
Points – 85 [3]

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship vs. Detroit)
Field goals – 0
Field goal attempts – 0
PATs – 8
PAT attempts – 8

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, UPI, NY Daily News, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Browns went 9-3 to finish first in the Eastern Conference while finishing second in the league (by one point) in scoring (336 points) and touchdowns (41, tied with the Rams) while leading in field goals (16). Won NFL Championship over Detroit Lions (56-10).

Groza again was a consensus first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in 1955, led the NFL in field goals in 1957 (15) and was named to the Pro Bowl in ’57, ’58, and ’59 for a total of 9 in all. 1959 marked his last season as a tackle and he retired for a year in 1960 due to a back injury. He returned as strictly a placekicking specialist in 1961 and led the league in field goal pct. that year (69.6) and again in 1963 (65.2). He finally retired for good following the 1967 season at age 43 and after a total of 21 years (four in the AAFC, 17 in the NFL). At the time, he was the NFL career leader in games played (216), scoring (1349 points), field goals (234), and extra points (641). Adding in his AAFC totals, he played in 268 games, scored 1608 points, and kicked 264 field goals and 810 extra points. The Browns retired his #76 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1974.


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/10/14]