Paul Brown was a football genius and the father of two NFL franchises?the Cleveland Browns, who carry his name, and the Cincinnati Bengals. Arguably the most important figure in the history of the sport, he was a renowned coach and owner, and when he passed away on August 5, 1991, the game lost a giant. But for the Browns and Bengals, his death would herald a new era of bad luck, poor judgment, and comic folly that soon had fans whispering about a curse.
Paul Brown’s Ghost explores the mystery surrounding the greatest ghost story in NFL history: why these two once-proud franchises have been perpetually denied good fortune in such dramatic, yet different ways—as if they’re being haunted by their mutual patriarch.
Jonathan Knight takes readers through a haunted house filled with tales that explain the fraternal—almost biblical—connection between the teams. He examines the colorful characters and memorable moments that both defined and defiled the history of a rivalry that evolved from three decades of bad blood between Brown and Cleveland owner Art Modell.
From coaches they shared to draft picks they both lusted after, the Browns and Bengals are connected in ways even their die-hard fans may not realize. Readers will discover the key role the Bengals played in the original Browns’ move to Baltimore, how the Browns were instrumental in the Bengals’ financially crippling new stadium deal, and how the Bengals actually almost became the new Browns.
Through the lens of the enduring legacy of one of football’s pioneers, Paul Brown’s Ghost is a witty, whimsical look at decades of absurd incompetence set against the offbeat rivalry between football’s two most hard-luck teams.