The Detroit Lions had finished the 1952 season tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the National Conference title with a record of 9-3. The Lions defeated the Rams 31-21 in a playoff game in Detroit on December 21. The Lions were led by quarterback Bobby Layne and running back Doak Walker. This was the Lions' first appearance in the title game since 1935.
The Cleveland Browns had finished the regular season with a record of 8-4 and won the American Conference. The Browns were led by their head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. This was the Browns' third NFL championship game appearance since joining the NFL in 1950.
1 – From 1966 to 1969, the first four Super Bowls were "World Championship" games played between two independent professional football leagues, AFL and NFL, and when the league merged in 1970 the Super Bowl became the NFL Championship Game. 2 – Dates in the list denote the season, not the calendar year in which the championship game was played. For instance, Super Bowl XLI was played in 2007, but was the championship for the 2006 season.