Automatic Otto the AAFC’s Best


Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns quarterback Otto Graham scrambles upfield during Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles, Dec. 26, 1955. Browns won, 38-14. (AP Photo/NFL Photos/Vic Stein)

(Otto Graham photo courtesy of the Cleveland Browns)

Talk of Fame Network

Otto Graham was king of the All-American Football Conference in the 1940s. Six decades later, he’s still king.

As part of the Talk of Fame Network’s six-part Out of Their League series, we’re asking out listeners and readers to vote on the best player to come out of those leagues. We started with the All-American Conference (AAFC) and over the next five weeks we’ll feature the Canadian Football League (CFL), the American Football League (AFL), the World Football League (WFL), the United States Football League (USFL) and the World League of American Football (NFL Europe).

Graham quarterbacked the Cleveland Browns to all four championships in the history of the AAFC, then took the Browns to six consecutive NFL title games after NFL absorbed the three best AAFC teams in 1950. He played 10 seasons of pro football and took his team to the championship game in all 10 of them, winning seven times.

Graham was pitted against four other Hall of Famers in the poll: teammates HB Marion Motley and DL Bill Willis, Baltimore quarterback Y.A, Tittle and San Francisco FB Joe “The Jet” Perry. Graham received almost 62 percent of the vote to easily outdistance Tittle at 19 percent. Motley, Perry and Willis rounded out the voting in that order.

We had a Dub Jones, a Graham teammate on the Browns, on the show last week and he raved about his quarterback.

“I can’t tell you what a great athlete he was,” said Jones. “He was an All-American basketball player. He could play anything. In football, he could always find a way to make the play, and that was a big factor in making the Browns a team that never broke.

“He could always make the play, and as a result, our team would never break. If we got behind we always knew that somewhere along the line Otto Graham would find a way. And he did.”

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