McKinney: Quick Hitter
Sixty-three years ago today, Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a heavy dose of fullback greatness.
Motley rushed 11 times for 188 yards to set an NFL record of 17.09 yards per carry that remained a league standard until Atlanta QB Michael Vick averaged 17.03 yards per carry (10 rushes for 173 yards) in a 2002 game.
The powerful Motley scored on runs of 33 and 69 yards as the Browns crushed the Steelers 45-7 that afternoon.
He led the league in rushing yards (810) and yards per carry (5.8) in 1950 as the Browns captured the NFL championship.
For his career, Motley averaged 5.7 yards per carry while earning a reputation as one of the greatest blocking fullbacks of all time.
Motley, who was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968, deserves to be remembered for his amazing on-field accomplishments.
But not many folks know that Motley was one of four African-Americans to break the color barrier in pro football in 1946.
A year before Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Kenny Washington and Woody Strode joined the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, while Bill Willis and Motley signed with the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference.
From 1933 to 1946, there were no African-American players on professional football rosters.
Motley helped tear down a racial barrier before he tore through opposing defenses in record-setting fashion.
— Mark McKinney
ENTERPRISE SPORTS EDITOR