NFL: The Legend of Otto Graham

Otto Graham of Cleveland Browns
Otto Graham of Cleveland Browns

Otto Graham is a name in the NFL that is hugely respected. Under the leadership of legendary coach Paul Brown, Otto Graham led the newly formed Cleveland Browns to championship games in 10 straight years between 1946 and 1955. Graham helped the Browns win 7 titles during that time.

It is said that the Cleveland Browns suffer from the curse of Paul Brown. He's a legendary coach whose teams were well prepared and coached in the ’40s and ’50s. After the end of World War II, Otto Graham received a contract to play with the newly formed Cleveland Browns in the AAFC (All American Football Conference).


Under Paul Brown's tutelage, Graham led the Browns to numerous wins and was able to build a dynasty in Cleveland. Otto Graham is regarded as one of the greatest to ever play the game of football. Graham was able to pull off win after win for the Cleveland Browns, even without the safety of a helmet.

Graham was not an automatic starter in his first pro game due to late discharge from the military. After a late start, Otto Graham led the Browns to a 12-2 record in his first season. That same season, he led the Cleveland Browns to a championship that started the Cleveland Browns dynasty.

Otto Graham has 7 Championships to his name.

Otto Graham was the main reason why the Browns were able to start their dynasty. Between the years of 1946-1949, the Cleveland Browns won four straight AAFC championships. With Otto Graham leading the offense, the Browns finished the 1948 season with a perfect record. Cleveland was only the second team in AAFC history to accomplish a perfect season.

Graham's play was crucial to Cleveland's success. He averaged 10.5 yards per pass and had a quarterback rating of 112.1 in 1946. Graham’s quarterback rating was a professional football record until Joe Montana surpassed it in 1989.


Otto Graham was named the AAFC's Most Valuable Player in 1947. Graham shared the Most Valuable Player award with Frankie Albert of the San Francisco 49ers in 1948. He led the league in passing yards between 1947 and 1949.

The AAFC dissolved after the 1949 season. Three teams, including the Browns, merged into the more established National Football League. Graham was the AAFC's all-time leading passer, throwing for 10,085 yards and 86 touchdowns.


After the desolation of the AAFC, Otto Graham and Cleveland Browns joined the NFL in 1950. With Graham at the helm and Paul Brown as the coach, they continued to have the success they had in AAFC.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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