The tradition that is known as the NFL Draft came into existence in 1936. The first player ever taken in the NFL Draft was Running Back Jay Berwanger. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Berwanger, unfortunately he would never play a pro football game due to salary disputes with multiple teams
Since then the NFL Draft has involved thousands of players, many of which have gone on to become all time greats. Many more however went on to have careers that would earn them the dubious distinction of being called a “Draft Bust”. The most coveted position for any team is the first overall pick. The team that holds this position is usually in desperate need of a break out rookie that can turn their franchise around. There is only one chance for first overall greatness every year.
There have been only 78 men who can call themselves the first overall pick in the NFL draft. The positions picked the most may not surprise you but the positions that were picked the least might shock you.
The quarterback position has the title of the most popular first overall pick in draft history. Twenty seven QBs have been nabbed by teams with the most coveted draft spot. Ten of those twenty seven became pro bowl players, names like Eli Manning (2004), Peyton Manning (1998), Drew Bledsoe (1993) and Vinny Testaverde (1987) just to name a few. Only Troy Aikman (1989), John Elway (1983) and Terry Bradshaw (1970) had careers so great they were inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Twenty five Running Backs have been picked first overall. Seven of them became Pro Bowlers including Bo Jackson (1986), Billy Sims (1980) and Tucker Frederickson (1965). The Running Backs hold the record of most Hall Of Fame inductees with five. Running Back Bill Dudley (1942) was the first player at any position drafted first overall to become a Hall Of Famer. The most recent Running Back to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame is Earl Campbell (1978) who was drafted by the Houston Oilers.
Defensive End’s have also been a very popular choice with eleven picked first overall. Defensive Ends Mario Williams (2006), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (1974), Dave Parks (1964) and Leon Hart (1950) were all voted to the Pro Bowl. Bruce Smith (1985) and Lee Roy Selmon (1976) were the only Defensive End’s to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Positions that were drafted the least with the top pick are Defensive Tackle (4), Offensive Tackle (4), Line Backer (3), Center (2) and Wide Receiver (2). Eight different positions have all seen the top choice. Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle and Line Backer are the only positions to never have a first overall player reach the Hall Of Fame.
A few of the players drafted in the last decade will more than likely find a home in the Hall Of Fame. As of now the first overall pick has only been a future Hall Of Famer twelve of the seventy seven times. Who knows, we might see the next great NFL player drafted with the first pick tonight in the 2014 NFL Draft.
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The first ever NFL Draft took place in 1936. That draft only consisted of 81 players. Four of those players would become Hall Of Famers. Since then the NFL has developed the draft into a giant event. Another one of the players selected in that draft, Paul “Bear” Bryant would later give up playing football to become a coach. He would become one of the greatest college football coaches ever while at the University of Alabama. There have been many great draft classes in the years since but they all pale in comparison to one in particular.
The 1983 NFL Draft took place on Arpil 26th and 27th of that year in New York City. It included twelves rounds and 335 players were selected. Over 30 of those players selected would go to the Pro Bowl. Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Dan Marino, Bruce Matthews, Darrell Green and Richard Dent who were all selected that day would later be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. Other than all of the things I have mentioned the draft is remembered for another reason, the Quarterbacks.
This was the best draft class of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. It also holds the record for most quarterbacks selected in the first round with six. Three of those six would make it into the Hall Of Fame. The standout quarterbacks of the class were by far John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
John Elway (Getty Images)
John Elway was taken with the first overall pick by the Baltimore Colts. He was eventually traded before the season to Denver due to his unwillingness to play for the Colts head coach Frank Kush. During his career he established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. When his career was over he won two Super Bowl Championships and was inducted to the Hall Of Fame in 2004.
Jim Kelly (Getty Images)
With the fourteenth overall pick the Buffalo Bills selected Jim Kelly. Kelly played the season prior in the United States Football League after leaving the University Of Miami. Of the quarterbacks drafted that day Kelly made more Super Bowl appearances than any one else. Kelly lead the Buffalo Bills to the Super Bowl from 1990 through 1993. Unfortunately the Bills never won any of those Super Bowls. Nonetheless Kelly proved himself to be a great quarterback and was Inducted to the Hall Of Fame in 2002.
Dan Marino (Getty Images)
The final legendary quarterback taken in this draft was Dan Marino. He was projected to go early in the first round but fell back on a lot of teams boards due to reports of him using marijuana in college. The Miami Dolphins were willing to take a chance on this young man with a powerful arm and selected him with the twenty seventh overall pick. Marino played 17 season but only made one trip to the Super Bowl, the Dolphins lost that game to the San Fransisco 49ers. Marino did however finish career holding almost every quarterback record that existed. He was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2005.
An interesting note about this draft is all of the first round quarterbacks went to AFC teams. Also the three half Of Fame quarterbacks all played for only one team during their NFL career.
The Draft is such an intriguing event. Full of Pro Bowlers, Busts and Hall Of Famers. There will probably never be a quarterback class this good again. Some might argue that the 2012 class will stand the test of time but until it does the 1983 Draft will remain the best ever.
Posted in NFL, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1936, 2002, 2004, 2005, alabama, bear, best, bills, Broncos, colts, dan marino, dolphins, draft, drafted, first, first round, greatest, hall of famers, jim kelly, john elway, legends, marijuana, Miami, NFL, paul bryant, picked, pitt, players, pro bowl, quarterback, super bowl, who was the best
Many modern football fans have never even heard the name Otto Graham. Decades before Bernie Kosar was taking the Browns through many playoff runs. Otto Graham was the best quarterback not only in Cleveland but in the NFL. Years before Jim Brown dominated teams, Otto Graham was dominating the league. Graham will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He was the 1st and possibly the biggest Cleveland sports star ever.
Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)
Otto Graham started his professional career in Cleveland during the 1946 season. At the time the Browns played in the All American Football Conference (AAFC). In that season Graham lead the Browns to their 1st Championship and the team finished with a 12-2 record. The winning did not stop there. The Browns went on to win the 1947, 1948 and 1949 AAFC Championship prior to entering the NFL in 1950. During his first 4 seasons he played in 54 games and had 86 TD’s and 10,085 yards passing in total. Many people considered the AAFC to be the minor leagues so to speak. The Browns were not expected to be as dominant in the NFL.
The critics were completely wrong with their assumption. Graham had almost the same numbers in the NFL as he did in the AAFC. Graham would play in 72 games in the NFL and have 88 TD’s and 13,499 yards passing. Graham and the Browns made the Championship game from 1950 to 1955. In total Graham led the Browns to 10 straight championship games with them winning 7 of them. The only years during this period where they did not win a championship was 1951, 1952 and 1953. Their playoff record was 9-3 during those 10 seasons.
Otto Graham retired after the 1955 season. He retired with 174 TD’s and 23,584 yards passing. In his career Graham was a 5 time Pro Bowler and was a 7 time First Team All Pro. He was one of the first inductees into the Hall Of Fame in 1965.
Otto Graham’s Plaque (Getty Images)
Otto Graham was able to accomplish something that will never happen again by leading his team to 10 straight championship games. The only other player to come close was Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills made it to the Super Bowl from 1990-1994 but never won any of those games.
There are many names that are discussed when talking about who was the greatest quarterback ever. Names like Dan Marino, John Elway, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady but none of those players achieved the success that Graham was able to do. The only argument that any one might have against Graham would be that the playoffs were shorter with less games when he played. The fact of the matter is he still won those titles and in both leagues. The only reason that most people do not consider him the best is because they don’t know anything about him or what he did during his career.
As long as the stats and film are around no one can deny his greatness. For such a short career by today’s standards he really made an impact. Otto Graham passed away in 2003. He left a legacy that will never be forgotten, he will live forever in the Hall Of Fame.
Posted in NFL, Sports History
Tagged 10, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1965, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2003, 7, aafc, all american football conference, bernie kosar, best, browns, buffalo bills, championship, cleveland, dan marino, died, ever, games, greatest, hall of fame, hero, jim brown, jim kelly, john elway, NFL, one of, otto graham, passed away, playoffs, quarterback, record, star, straight, the, titles, tom brady
My friend George, who is the biggest Browns fan I know came to me with an idea for an article. The idea was to cover the negative history of sports teams in Cleveland. I took that Idea and turned it into what you are about to read. George, this is for you brother!
Cleveland has a history of bad luck and heartbreaking defeats when it comes to its sports franchises. From the “Fumble” to Lebron’s “Decision”. There have also been some incredible times for Cleveland’s sports franchises, however the bad far out way the good. Cleveland is a city that loves it’s sports, unfortunately sports gods do not care for Cleveland very much. I am going to take you on a trip through the history of Cleveland sports. So sit back, relax and revel in Cleveland’s sorrows.
Michael Jordan celebrating the “Shot”
The Cleveland Cavs have had many Horrible season. The team has held the franchise record for most loses in a season with 67, twice. The first came in their inaugural season of 1970-71 and the second during the 1981-82 season. The team made a strong run in 1989 only to fall hard to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The game became known for the “Shot”, it was the final game in round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The moment was considered one of the greatest clutch moments in the history of Michael Jordan’s career. It was one of the worst moments in history of the Cavileers. The Cavs have never won an NBA Title, not even with the great Lebron James. The team has only made one trip to the NBA Finals, in 2007 the Cavs were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 4 games. The City has Lebron James to blame for one of their many horrible moments. In 2010 Lebron had an ESPN special live from a Boys and Girls Club in his home town of Akron, Oh. Many thought because of the location he would be announcing that he would be staying in Cleveland. He instead announced he would be taking his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat. That infamous broadcast is known as the “Decision” The City was in an uproar and Lebron jerseys were quickly being thrown away and even burned in the streets of the City who’s heart he broke. The team followed up the “Decision” with one of the worst seasons in the history of the NBA. The team lost a record tying 26 games in a row in the 2010-11 season. The Cavs are 2 years removed from that fateful night and have never been able to get over it. The team may be destined to dwell in the sadness that is Cleveland sports forever.
The Indians lose to the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series
The Indians are one of the teams that have been successful at times but have had more bad seasons than good ones. The team has two World Series Championships. The first came in 1920 and the most recent was back in 1948. The Indians have added to the cities history of heartbreak over the years. From 1960-1993 the team never made the playoffs and spent most of their seasons in last place. In 1995 the Indians were one of the best teams in the MLB, until they made it to the World Series and lost to the Braves in 6 games. The team made another trip to the World Series in 1997. The tribe lost the series to the Florida Marlins in a devastating late inning Game 7 affair in Miami. The team has been through countless rebuilding periods, all with no success. The team was even featured as lovable losers and misfits in the major motion picture “Major League”. The Indians are only second to one other team in the city of heart break, The Cleveland Browns.
The Browns Earnest Byner seconds after the “Fumble”
The city’s most devastating stories and moments have come from their football team, the Browns. The team had early success in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Hall Of Fame Quarterback Otto Graham led the team to ten straight championship games with the Browns winning 7 of them. The team found great success with Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown. Brown played with the team in the 60’s and 70’s and established himself as one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL. The 1980’s brought the team some success. Led by their young quarterback Bernie Kosar, the team made it to the AFC Championship game twice. Both meetings were against the rival Denver Broncos and their superstar QB John Elway. The first of those championship meetings came in the 1986 AFC Championship game. The Browns were leading the Broncos and had them pinned down on their own 2 yard line with 5 minutes and 11 seconds to play. John Elway was about to show the world that he was one of the best of that era with the “Drive”. Elway led his team all of the way down the field to score a touchdown and tie the game at 20-20. The damage had been done and Cleveland lost the game 23-20 in overtime. The “Drive” took place in Cleveland but that wasn’t the last quotable game to take place at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. In the 1987 AFC Championship Game the Broncos came into town again. This time the Browns dominated the Broncos for most of the game and looked to be the AFC Champions. Then the unthinkable happened again, this moment was to be known as the “Fumble”. With the game tied 30-30 Kosar and the Browns were on the Broncos 8 yard line with 1 minute and 12 seconds left on the clock. Kosar took the snap and handed the ball off to running back Earnest Byner for what looked like and open touchdown run. Out of nowhere came the Broncos defensive back Jeremiah Castille who stripped Byner of the ball. The Broncos took the intentional safety and ended up scoring a touchdown with less than a minute to play in the game. The Broncos defeated the Browns by a score of 38-33. The city of Cleveland has never fully recovered from the “Drive” or the “Fumble”. In 1995 The Browns played their final game in Cleveland before owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore to become the Ravens. Modell claimed that he moved the team because he was losing money and could not keep the team the city without a new stadium. He petitioned for a new stadium for years and saw a new ballpark go up and a new arena be constructed while he was left without tax payer support and a dilapidated stadium. The Browns would return in 1999 as an expansion team but still had rights to the history of the team unlike other cities who lost their teams and history like Houston. The “new” Browns have only made it to the playoffs once. There was hope for the team with new ownership to turn things around in 2012. The Browns were shut out of the playoffs for another season this year.
All of Cleveland’s major sports teams have gone through hardships. The Browns are by far Cleveland’s most heartbreaking team with a history that will not let the fans of Cleveland rest easy. Any time something goes well for any of their teams disappointment is sure to follow. Maybe one day the sports gods will treat the great fans of Cleveland to some success and happiness.
The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to become NBA Champions for the first time in their history. They also ended the decades long championship drought for the city of Cleveland. This event was aided by LeBron James returning to Cleveland in 2014.
Posted in MLB, NBA, NFL, sports
Tagged 1920, 1948, 1954, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2007, 26 games, afc championship, angry fans, atlanta braves, baseball, BASKETBALL, bernie kosar, broadcast, browns, burning, byner, cavaliers, cavs, championship, chicago bulls, cleveland, cleveland municipal stadium, espn, florida marlins, football, heartbreaking, history, indians, jacobs field, jerseys, jim brown, john elway, last place, lebron James, losers, loses in a row, losing, major league, michael jordan, moments, movie, nba finals, nfl title, otto graham, playoffs, record, sad, san antonio spurs, sports, the decision, the drive, the fumble, the gund arena, the shot, titles, trash, tv, winners, world series
By all indications free agent Peyton Manning is going to play for the Denver Broncos next season. He asked his agent to begin contract negotiations with the team on Monday. After a week of constant media attention and tryouts, for a few teams to include the 49ers and the Titans just to name a couple, the fog has cleared. Countless hours of talk on radio and tv and even a helicopter following his truck leaving the airport which was very reminiscent to the O.J. Bronco chase in 1994. It will all come to an end in the next day or two and only talk of next season with Manning and the Broncos will ensue.
He has been without a doubt the most sought after free agent to hit the market since Reggie White left the Philadelphia Eagles take a big money deal with the Green Bay Packers in the early 1990’s. He is leaving Indianapolis where he played for 14 seasons and had a very successful career breaking records and winning a Super Bowl title. He will be going to a team that had a QB controversy all of last season. The Broncos fans were pulling for Tim Tebow to be their QB all last season. You can rest assured that there will be no controversy any more Manning is their guy and will be their guy hands down.
This will be a very interesting season coming up for the Broncos with Manning at the helm. They lost Wide Receiver Brandon Loyd to the New England Patriots via free agency. You have still got to believe even with Loyd gone from the picture Manning will have enough talent around him to make the Broncos very strong contenders in the AFC.
The one question that some have is whether Manning’s health will be an issue. He underwent season ending neck surgery before the 2011 season began. The Colts were unsure for most of last season of whether they would stay with him at QB or go with the obvious 1st pick overall in the draft Stanford’s Andrew Luck. They chose to go with a young QB with a lot of potential for the future than take a chance on Manning for a few more seasons and have no future plan in place when he retires.
As this past week showed there were more than enough teams that would love to have Manning take over and turn their franchises around or put them over the top. The Broncos were a team that seemed to be tired of the QB controversy and want to win without a doubt now. They seemed to have turned on the pursuit in the last couple of days with team president John Elawy courting Manning and meeting with him on numerous occasions. They tried hard and won the battle for possibly the biggest free agent QB ever.
Its time for Manning to shine and prove all of the doubters wrong. He very well could win another World Championship or more in the upcoming seasons as long as he can stay healthy. This will be a very exciting season coming up for the NFL this year. Manning going to Denver will likely be the sports story of the year and will be dominating the radio and tv airwaves till this time next year. So its safe to say at this point that the Broncos have their man at QB once and for all.