William Ferdie Brown (born December 2, 1940) is an American football executive and former player and coach. He played as a cornerback for the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders. Following his playing career, Brown remained with the Raiders as an assistant coach. He served as the head football coach at California State University, Long Beach in 1991, the final season before the school's football program was terminated. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1984. He is currently on the administrative staff of the Raiders.
Brown played college football at Grambling State University and was not drafted by any professional team after leaving school in 1963. He was signed by the Houston Oilers of the American Football League (AFL), but was cut from the team during training camp. He was then signed by the AFL's Denver Broncos and became a starter by the middle of his rookie season. He won All-AFL honors in his second season and played in the AFL All-Star Game, recording nine interceptions for 144 yards.
In 1967, Brown was traded to the AFL's Oakland Raiders and spent the remainder of his playing career there. He served as defensive captain for 10 of his 12 years with the team. He was named to five AFL All-Star games and four NFL Pro Bowls. He was also named All-AFL three times and All-NFL four times.
Perhaps Brown's most memorable moment as a Raider came during Super Bowl XI, when he intercepted a Fran Tarkenton pass and returned it a Super Bowl-record 75 yards for a touchdown. NFL Films immortalized Brown's play with a film clip of Brown running with the ball, appearing to be running straight to the camera. His record stood for 29 years until it was broken by Kelly Herndon's 76-yard interception return in Super Bowl XL.
Brown retired after the 1978 season, and finished his Raiders career with 39 interceptions, tied for first all-time on the team. He finished his 16 professional football season seasons with 54 interceptions, which he returned for 472 yards and two touchdowns. He also recovered three fumbles.
Brown is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 28, 1984, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 50 on ''The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranking Raiders player.
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