The All-Time Northwestern NFL Team

Otto Graham,, Steve Tasker and more

The all-time Northwestern NFL team may lack the star power of the Notre Dame team and the quality depth of the Southern Cal team.

But are you going to bet against Northwestern’s quarterback Otto Graham?

Graham spent 10 seasons as the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns and took them to 10 consecutive championship games (1946-55) – the first four in the old All-America Football Conference and the last six in the NFL. Graham’s team won seven of those title games.

Graham won a staggering 83.4 percent of his pro starts – and 80.6 percent of his NFL starts. Tom Brady has won a runnerup 76.8 percent of his career starts. Little wonder Graham was named to the NFL’s 75th and 100th anniversary teams and also has a bust in Canton.

Before starting his football career, Graham spent a season playing pro basketball with the Rochester Royals and won a championship there as well. Graham also engineered upsets of national power Ohio State in two of the three games his Wildcats played the Buckeyes. Paul Brown coached Ohio State then – and that’s the reason he signed Graham to be his quarterback with the Browns in 1946.

After his pro career, Graham was still winning. He was the last coach to beat the defending NFL champion in a College All-Star Game (Green Bay, 1963). Another member of Northwestern’s all-time team, George Wilson, is the last man to coach the Detroit Lions to an NFL championship in 1957.

So bet against Graham at your own risk. The man doesn’t lose. He is one of two Hall of Famers on the all-time Northwestern NFL team:

Otto Graham

QB—Otto Graham, Hall of Fame

HB—Paddy Driscoll, Hall of Fame

FB—Bob Christian, Pro Bowl, 10 seasons, 230 receptions, 19 touchdowns

WR—Paul Flatley, Pro Bowl, 1963 NFL Rooke if the Year

WR—Curtis Duncan, Pro Bowl, 7 seasons, 322 receptions, 20 touchdowns

TE—Steve Craig, 5 seasons as a backup with the 1970s Vikings

T—Chris Hinton, 7 Pro Bowls, 13 seasons, 172 starts

T—Cas Banaszek, 10 seasons, 112 starts

G—Matt O’Dwyer, 10 seasons, 105 starts

*-G—Rashawn Slater, Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2021

C—Ray Wietecha, 4 Pro Bowls, 10 seasons, 122 starts, 1 championship ring

DE—George Wilson, 3 Pro Bowls, 10 seasons in 1930s & ‘40s as E & DE

DE—Luis Castillo, 7 seasons, 79 starts, 19 sacks

DT—Barry Cofield, 10 seasons, 129 starts, 20 sacks

DT—Joe Szczecko, 4 seasons, 24 starts

LB—Nich Roach, 7 seasons, 75 starts, 349 tackles

MLB—Napoleon Harris, 7 seasons, 73 starts, 484 tackles

OLB—Kevin Bentley, 10 seasons, 421 tackles, 8 takeaways

CB—Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, 3 Pro Bowls, 36 interceptions

CB—Irv Cross, 2 Pro Bowls, 22 interceptions

S—Pete Shaw, 8 seasons, 12 interceptions

S—Elbert Kimbrough, 7 seasons, 9 interceptions

K—Brian Gowens, 1 season with 1999 Bears, 4 FGs, 15 points

P—John Kidd, 15 seasons, 957 punts, 41.5-yard average

KR—Ron Burton, 102 kick and punt returns, 1 TD

ST—Steve Tasker, 7 Pro Bowls, 13 seasons, 204 ST tackles, 7 blocked kicks

*-Still active

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