NFL Films colorizes old black-and-white photos and film for the upcoming documentary on NFL Network.
By: Neil Zender
“There’s a reason the football’s brown.”
Brown is usually thought of as a drab, dull color. Nobody gets excited about earth tones. But, Paul Brown was the most colorful coach in football history, inventing much of what modern football is today: The “Playbook,” scientific film study, the “Draw” play, the “Pocket,” calling plays from the sidelines, a communications network linking the head coach to an assistant in the press box, the modern face mask, and the helmet radio. Paul Brown also created the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.
For “Paul Brown: A Football Life,” NFL Films has brought the legend to life, painstakingly colorizing his epic career. Talented artists here at NFL Films spent weeks enhancing the old black-and-white photos and film with some movie magic (and, digital painting).
Below is a sample of some still photos before and after their colorization. Tune into the show on Friday to see the colorized versions of moving images from his career and our archives.
Original caption: Paul Brown, Cleveland’s pro coach with players. (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images)
Paul Brown, Cleveland’s pro coach with players. (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images)
Cleveland Browns Coach Paul Brown uses the first sideline radio transmitter to communicate with quarterback George Ratterman’s helmet during exhibition game in Chicago, Sept. 21, 1956. (AP Photo)
Under Paul Brown, the Cleveland Browns played in 10 championship games in ten seasons – a decade of dominance unequaled in football history.
Coach Paul Brown shows off the 15 stitches a doctor put on quarterback Otto Graham’s face during half time during the game his Cleveland Browns won from the San Francisco 49ers in Cleveland, Ohio, on Nov. 15, 1953. In an effort to prevent these injuries in the future, Paul Brown invented – and patented – the modern face mask. (AP Photo/Julian C. Wilson)
Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown, right, who played quarterback in his younger days, checks the protective mask of his quarterback Otto Graham, who wears a mask to guard a face injury sustained earlier in the season. Not satisfied with lucite face masks’ tendency to fog up, Brown experimented with a steel-rubber alloy called “bar tubular.” This photo was taken at an unknown location, on Dec. 8, 1953. (AP Photo)
Otto Graham, Cleveland quarterback, kisses his helmet after the Detroit Lions game in which the Browns beat the Lions, 56-10 (Dec. 26), showing his satisfaction with Paul Brown’s “bar tubular” face mask – the same face mask that is used in football today. (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images)
Paul Brown is the only coach to win a championship at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. During World War II, he was asked to raise morale by coaching a team of recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Academy, outside Chicago. Brown’s team of “common sailors” beat Notre Dame in one of the greatest upsets in football history.
“Paul Brown: A Football Life” premieres this Friday night at 9:00 pm/ET, only on NFL Network.
Click here to watch the official trailer