The sudden-death overtime rule was used for the first time in a pre- season game between the Rams and Giants at Portland, Oregon, August 28. The Rams won 23-17 three minutes into overtime.
A rule change declared the ball dead immediately if the ball carrier touched the ground with any part of his body except his hands or feet while in the grasp of an opponent.
The Baltimore Colts made an 80-cent phone call to Johnny Unitas and signed him as a free agent. Another quarterback, Otto Graham, played his last game as the Browns defeated the Rams 38-14 in the NFL Championship Game, December 26. Graham had quarterbacked the Browns to 10 championship-game appearances in 10 years.
NBC replaced DuMont as the network for the title game, paying a rights fee of $100,000.