CLEVELND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl title Sunday night cemented him as the GOAT for pundits.
But he wasn’t the first.
That was Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns.
Graham never missed a single game over 10 seasons that saw him lead the Browns to 10 consecutive championship games, and they won seven of them – four in the All-American Football Conference from 1946-49 and three in the NFL in 1950, 1954 and 1955.
“Not many people, I would say 60 or under, especially millennials, know who my grandfather is,” Ryan Van Name, Graham’s grandson, said in 2019 following the unveiling of a statue honoring the Browns legend outside FirstEnergy Stadium. “Because when you played from ’46-’55, there’s not much film out there.”
Nicknamed ‘Automatic Otto,’ Graham presided over a decade of dominance with the Browns that saw him amass a 105-17-4 record in the regular season.
Graham was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965 and his No. 14 is just one of five numbers retired by the Browns. Graham is also enshrined in the team's Ring of Honor.
Graham led the AAFC in passing all four years from 1946-1949 and he led the NFL in passing in in 1953 and 1955. His 64.73 completion percentage in 1953 remains a franchise record.
Over his 10-year career, Graham amassed 23,584 yards and 174 touchdowns. He also rushed for 46 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl five times from 1951-1955.
A member of the 1950’s All-decade team, Graham finished with an .810 winning percentage – 57-13-1 in six NFL seasons.
When Graham played there were fewer teams. They played 12 regular season games, not the 16, and likely soon to be 17, they play today.
The eras were different. The game was different.
But Graham’s place among the greats of the game should never be forgotten.