Senior NFL columnist Clark Judge from over at CBS Sports published a column a few days ago highlighting the top 10 quarterbacks of all time. His motivation for writing the column revolved around the belief that former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was the greatest of all time. That was impossible, according to Judge, because Manning "wasn't even the greatest quarterback in team history." Judge based his ranking on championships, and because of that, Manning was all the way down at No. 9 on the list.
With Judge factoring championships into his rankings, would that put Cleveland Browns quarterback Otto Graham (six championships) at the top of the list? Graham recently went head-to-head with Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar in our DBN All-Time Bracket, but lost in the semi-finals to Paul Brown. Unfortunately, Graham ended up coming just short of the top spot on Judge's list too, as he had the Colts' Johnny Unitas at the top. Nonetheless, here's what he said about Graham:
No. 2: Otto Graham
I once remember seeing a list like this and asking my father whom he'd nominate as the greatest quarterback he saw. I thought he'd start with Johnny U., but he did not. He started with Otto Graham.
"All he did," he said, "was win."
In 10 seasons, Graham took the Cleveland Browns to 10 championship games -- and I don't care what league you're in; I'm sold.
We live in a Fantasy Football era where numbers and statistics predominate, but the numbers that matter most are championships. Sorry, but that's how coaches and quarterbacks in pro football are measured, and Graham aces that test. He was 7-3 in championship games and won an NFL-record 83.4 percent of all starts.
OK, I know what you're saying: He played a substantial portion of that career in the All-America Football Conference. Yeah, so what? He won there. Then he went to the NFL and won there. In six NFL seasons he went to six NFL championship games.
Graham was a born winner, and he proved it by playing one year of pro basketball with the Rochester Royals -- a season when they won the NBA title. In his 10 years with the Browns they were 105-17-4, and, I don't know about you, but I want a quarterback who knows how to win and win big games ... and that's Otto Graham.
Do you fault Judge for his ranking of Graham? Should he be higher? Lower?