3. Bernie Kosar
Bernie Kosar was a northeast Ohio kid who wanted to make good for his local team, and the Youngstown native orchestrated his way, through the NFL supplement draft, to the Browns.
He wasn’t the most physically gifted player, but Kosar possessed a marveling intellect for the game that the public got to know during Kosar’s later work in broadcasting.
Clevelanders know Bernie’s place in Browns’ history, but there’s a sense that Kosar is under appreciated for what he accomplished during his career, at least from a national perspective.
Like the Cleveland Cavaliers of the late-1980s that went up against Michael Jordan, Kosar had his own nemesis in John Elway. With Bernie under center, the Browns got as close to the Super Bowl as the franchise has ever come, but Elway’s “Drive” forever altered history.
Kosar won four AFC Central Division titles and three times came within a play or few of reaching the Super Bowl.
Had Kosar won, or even reached the Super Bowl, there would probably be a different national view of Kosar being of the best quarterbacks to play in his era.
Kosar, who quarterbacked the Miami Hurricanes to the 1983 NCAA National Championship, went on to throw 116 touchdowns in nine seasons on the lake front, which is the fourth most in Browns history. His 21,904 yards are third-all time, as No. 19 trails only Brian Sipe and Otto Graham.
Kosar made just one Pro Bowl (1987), but his 81.8 career passer rating is 45th all-time, compared to every quarterback who’s ever played the game.
Bernie hasn’t taken a snap with Cleveland in over 20 years, but he’s still quarterback royalty around the city of Cleveland.
Next: Frank Ryan