The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Bill Nelson out of Southern California before 1963 season. After sitting on the bench for three seasons, the Steelers named him the starter for 1965 . It was part of a rebuilding movement and the Pittsburgh management and fans knew they were not going anywhere. Over the next three years, Bill Nelson was so often injured that he played in less than half of their games every year. In the spring of 68, the Steelers traded him to the Cleveland Browns. There his new team went to NFL Championship in 1968 and 1969. Cleveland more than met their match in both games. Nevertheless, Nelson had two fantastic seasons. He did virtually nothing after 1970 that but still put his signature on Cleveland Browns history.
Their 1-2 start included two big losses, 28 to 7 at Dallas and 24 to 6 at home to Rams.
After these two debacles, Coach Blanton Collier pulled quarterback Frank Ryan in favor of Bill Nelson. The Browns went 9-2 the rest of the way easily winning the Century Division with a 10-4 record. By far their biggest win was at Baltimore in week 6 where Cleveland gave the Colts their only loss of the season. Baltimore finished 15-1.
Week 6 at Baltimore. The Colts had won all five previous games to the Browns 2-3
With the aid of their defense, the Browns won 30 to 20. Bil Nelson went 15 for 23 for 137 yards and three touchdowns. LeRoy Kelly ran for 130 yards and a touchdown. The great Browns secondary intercepted four passes. Browns 30 Colts 20.
Eastern Conference Playoff Dallas Cowboys 12-2 at Cleveland 10-4.
The Cowboys finished two games better than the Browns and, as previously stated, beat them during season 28 to 7. Those figures meant nothing in the playoff. Cleveland showed a great defense intercepting four passes. Things were easy for Bill Nelson as he went 13 for 15 for 203 yards and a touchdown. Browns 31 Cowboys 20.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, the playoff reversal from the season continued at home to the Baltimore Colts in the NFL Championship Game. This time the Colts won easily 34 to 0. The season still gave the Browns a new quarterback which would pay off again in 1969.