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Otto Graham

Otto Graham

American football player, coach, executive

Otto Everett Graham Jr. (December 6, 1921 – December 17, 2003) was an American professional football player who was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL). Graham is regarded by critics as one of the most dominant players of his era, having taken the Browns to league championship games every year between 1946 and 1955, making ten championship appearances, and winning seven of them. With Graham at quarterback, the Browns posted a record of 57 wins, 13 losses, and one tie, including a 9–3 win–loss record in the playoffs. He holds the NFL record for career average yards gained per pass attempt, with 8.63. He also holds the record for the highest career winning percentage for an NFL starting quarterback, at 0.810. Long-time New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, a friend of Graham's, once called him "as great of a quarterback as there ever was."

Graham grew up in Waukegan, Illinois, the son of music teachers. He entered Northwestern University in 1940 on a basketball scholarship, but football soon became his main sport. After a brief stint in the military at the end of World War II, Graham played for the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League (NBL), winning the 1945–46 championship. Paul Brown, Cleveland's coach, signed Graham to play for the Browns, where he thrived. Graham's 1946 NBL and AAFC titles made him the first of only two people to have won championships in two of the four major North American sports (the second was Gene Conley). After he retired from playing football in 1955, Graham coached college teams in the College All-Star Game and became head football coach for the Coast Guard Bears at the United States Coast Guard Academy. After seven years there, he was hired as head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1966. Following three unsuccessful years with them, he resigned and returned to the Coast Guard Academy, where he served as athletic director until his retirement in 1984. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965.

Timeline

December 6, 1921
Otto Graham was born in Waukegan.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Cleveland Browns History.

Henkel, Frank M.

2005

Browns Essential

Boyer, Mary Schmitt

2006

Paul Brown: The Man Who Invented Modern Football.

Cantor, George

2008

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