- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Paul Brown, who made lasting impacts on two teams now in the AFC North, comes in at No. 6 on ESPN's countdown of the greatest coaches in NFL history.
Brown's legacy not only defines the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals but the coaching profession itself. He was the first to hire a full-time staff that worked year-round and instituted a system for scouting college players that never existed previously. Brown was also the first to use extensive film study and grade his players. The system for calling plays from the sidelines -- alternating guards after each play -- was developed by Brown.
He left indelible marks on both NFL franchises in Ohio. He was the first coach of the Cleveland Browns and built the team into a dynasty for nearly two decades. From 1946 to 1962, Brown guided Cleveland to a 158-48-8 record (.767) with four AAFC championships, three NFL titles and just one losing season.
After Brown was fired by Art Modell over a power conflict, he became the founder, coach and general manager of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. Brown led the Bengals to the playoffs by 1970 as they became the first NFL expansion team to qualify for the postseason within their first three years of existence. The Bengals' current home playing field is named Paul Brown Stadium.
Among the coaches who played or worked under Brown are four Hall of Fame coaches: Don Shula, Weeb Ewbank, Bill Walsh and Chuck Noll.