Editor’s note: The NFL is currently in a quiet period that is more quiet than usual. To help fill in that space, we are running a series to determine the best player to wear each jersey number in Cleveland Browns history. Today, we select the best player to wear uniform No. 14.
The Cleveland Browns have only had one player wear No. 14 in franchise history and he was the ultimate winner.
Otto Graham was Cleveland’s quarterback for 10 seasons and took the Browns to the league championship game in each of those seasons, bringing home seven titles.
His accomplishments are as impressive as his championships:
- A three-time MVP (1951, 1953 and 1955)
- A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fames All 1950s Team
- A member of the NFL’s 100 All-Time Team
- A First Team All-Pro selection nine times
- The NFL’s leader in passer rating in 1953 and 1955
- The NFL’s all-time leader in yards per pass attempt
- The NFL’s fourth-best in career passing touchdown percentage
- The 97th-most rushing touchdowns in league history
- The second-most passing yards in franchise history
- The most touchdown passes in franchise history
Unlike some other quarterbacks, Graham was still at the top of his game when he won his final championship in 1955. That day in front of 87,695 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Graham had two touchdown passes and two touchdown runs as the Browns rolled over the Rams, 38-14.
Ten years later, Graham was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, one of 16 Browns currently in the hall. According to his bio on the hall’s website:
Once Graham joined the Browns, he not only quickly mastered the mechanics of the T but he became the heart of a dynamic football machine. With Graham at the controls, the Browns won four straight AAFC titles and compiled an awesome 52-4-3 record.
Still, pro football “experts” theorized Otto and the Browns would get their comeuppance once they faced the NFL in 1950, but both the quarterback and the team proved more than equal to the occasion. In the Browns’ 30-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950 NFL Championship Game, Graham threw four touchdown passes.
His finest title-game performance came four years later when he scored three touchdowns and threw for a trio of scores in a 56-10 lacing of Detroit. Graham retired after that game but responded to Paul Brown’s SOS early in 1955. In the final game of his career, the NFL championship against the Los Angeles Rams, he ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more in a 38-14 victory. For the ninth time in 10 seasons, Otto was named first-team all-league quarterback.
The Browns honored Graham in 2019 with a statue at FirstEnergy Stadium.
It is fitting that Graham’s No. 14 is one of the five uniform numbers retired by the Browns, because there is no one who would ever be able to live up to his championship career.