(Photos courtesy of the Cleveland Browns)
Talk of Fame Network
He has the highest career-winning percentage among NFL quarterbacks. He went to 10 straight championship games, winning seven of them. And he was a slam-dunk choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So why doesn’t former Cleveland great Otto Graham get more love when it comes to naming the best at his position?
You hear about Unitas. You hear about Montana. You hear about Brady and Elway, too. But Graham sometimes is overlooked, and it doesn’t seem right – and that’s not just us talking. It’s one of his former receivers, Dub Jones, who joined the Talk of Fame Network broadcast this week and didn’t blink when asked if Graham should be included on a list of the game’s best quarterbacks.
“Without question he should be on it,” said Jones, 90, who once scored an NFL-record six times in a game. “He was a dominant quarterback for 10 years, and that was before people realized they could play professional football for more than a couple of years.
“We had 19 players (with the Browns) that played together for 10 years. We were the first to show the world you don’t have to be over the hill to be 30 years old. Of course, now they have players that play over 10 years quite often. (But) back then, that was unheard of until we did it.”
Much about those Browns was unheard of. They won four straight championships in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) before they, San Francisco and Baltimore merged with the NFL in 1950. Then the Browns went out and beat the best of the senior league, the Los Angeles Rams, to win the first of three NFL titles over the next six years.
There were Hall of Famers galore on that club, including Marion Motley, Lou Groza and Dante Lovelli. But let’s be honest: The Browns dominated because they had the best quarterback anywhere.
“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.”