The 1953 NFL season was the 34th regular season of the National Football League. The names of the American and National conferences were changed to the Eastern and Western conferences.
Meanwhile, a Baltimore, Maryland group headed by Carroll Rosenbloom was granted an NFL team, and was awarded the holdings of the defunct Dallas Texans organization. The new team was named the Colts after the previous team that folded after the 1950 NFL season.
The season ended when the Detroit Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game for the second year in a row.
Major rule changes
- The definition of illegal motion is clarified. A player must be moving directly forward at the snap to be considered illegally in motion.
For 1953, the former American and National Conferences were renamed the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively. The Western race saw the Rams beat the Lions twice, in Detroit (October 18) and in L.A. (November 1), and at the midway point in Week Six, the Rams were a full game ahead in the race. In Week Seven (November 8), the 49ers beat the Rams 31–27, and the Lions won their game, to put all three teams at 5–2–0. In Week Eight, the Lions beat Green Bay 14–7, while the Rams were tied 24–24 by the Cards, and the 49ers lost 23–21 to the Browns. As both teams won their remaining games, San Francisco was always a game behind Detroit.
In the Eastern, the Cleveland Browns won their first eleven games and led wire-to-wire, clinching a playoff spot by week 10. The Browns' shot at a 12–0–0 season was spoiled by a 42–27 loss on the last day, December 13, and spoiled even more by the championship game against the Lions.
|1||4 teams (Bal., Det, LA, SF)||1–0–0||Tie (Cle, Was)||1–0–0|
|2||Tie (Det, SF)||2–0–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||2–0–0|
|3||DETROIT LIONS||3–0–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||3–0–0|
|4||3 teams (Det, LA, SF)||3–1–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||4–0–0|
|5||Tie (Det, LA)||4–1–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||5–0–0|
|6||LOS ANGELES RAMS||5–1–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||6–0–0|
|7||3 teams (Det, LA, SF)||5–2–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||7–0–0|
|8||DETROIT LIONS||6–2–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||8–0–0|
|9||DETROIT LIONS||7–2–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||9–0–0|
|10||DETROIT LIONS||8–2–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||10–0–0|
|11||DETROIT LIONS||9–2–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||11–0–0|
|12||DETROIT LIONS||10–2–0||CLEVELAND BROWNS||11–1–0|
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Note: The NFL did not officially count tie games in the standings until 1972
NFL Championship Game
Detroit 17, Cleveland 16 at Briggs Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, December 27, 1953