Go Long! Top Five Quarterbacks in Cleveland Browns History
While the controversy seemingly has raged nonstop for the past 11 years, the Browns actually have had some top-rated quarterbacks behind center since their inception in 1946 as part of the All American Football Conference.
The Browns haven't had much luck with draft picks or free agents since their return to the league in 1999, but the previous incarnation of the Browns turned out a handful of guys who Browns fans still hold in reverence today.
Otto Graham joined the Browns in 1946 after being brought to the team by coach Paul Brown.
Graham rewarded Brown for his decision by leading the Browns to 10 straight league championship games. The Browns won seven of those games.
One of the championships was in 1950, when the Browns officially joined the NFL.
Graham ended his career with a record of 57-13-1(.810).
Frank Ryan was the quarterback of the last Cleveland Browns team to win a championship.
The year was 1964 and Ryan threw for 2,404 yards and 25 touchdowns that season.
Yes, that's 25 touchdown passes even with Jim Brown as his main running back.
Ryan started for Cleveland for six years, but injuries eventually forced him out of the starter's job in 1968.
Brian Sipe was a late-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1972, but rose to the starter's job by 1974.
He fell in and out of the starter's job until he got it for good in 1976. The pinnacle of Sipe's career in Cleveland were the 1979-80 seasons when the Browns got nicknamed the "Kardiac Kids" for their frequent fourth quarter comebacks.
Sipe won the MVP award in 1980, but the ill-fated throw in the AFC Divisonal Game that year versus the Raiders, dubbed "Red Right 88," forever will be tied to Sipe's legacy.
Sipe ended his career in the USFL.
Bernie Kosar almost has become a kind of folk hero around Cleveland. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland, Kosar grew up a Browns fan and rigged the supplemental draft so he could be drafted by his hometown team.
Kosar led the Browns to three AFC Championship Games, all against Denver, all losses, two of which have been immortalized for reasons any football fan is well aware of.
Kosar's regular season numbers always defied his apparent lack of athleticism, and injuries started catching up with him in the early 90s.
Kosar's firing by Bill Belichick while the Browns were in first place in 1993 still stirs a lot of anger in many Browns fans 17 years later.
Bill Nelson replaced Frank Ryan in 1968, and went on to lead the Browns to the playoffs. He did it again in 1969, also earning a Pro Bowl berth.
It was a brief, but great run with the Browns as two games into the 1970 season, Nelson suffered a knee injury and only started sporadically after that.
More knee surgery in 1971 ended his career with the Browns and he announced his retirement shortly after the season ended.