VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Greg Cook: He Could Have Been The Greatest Ever!

Greg Cook: He Could Have Been The Greatest Ever!

Greg Cook, what might have been?
Publish Date: 04/10/2016
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

I am about to tell you the story of a man not even the most devout football fans have probably heard of. If you live in Cincinnati, you have most undoubtedly heard the story of Greg Cook.  And you probably heard it from your dad like I did. As a Bengals fan that grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s, every time the Bengals lost a big game I would hear the story of Greg Cook. In Cincinnati, Cook is almost a mythical figure.  He was a man, as the story goes, that if he didn’t get hurt would have won the Bengals multiple Super Bowls. I know that sounds crazy, the Bengals winning multiple Super Bowls? Well, when you figure in that Bill Walsh called Cook “the most talented quarterback he had ever seen” it doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

Cook was born in Dayton, Ohio about a half hour away from Cincinnati.  He was a 3 sport star in High School (Baseball, Football and Basketball). After High School, he decided to play his college football at the University of Cincinnati where he grabbed the attention of Bengals head coach Paul Brown and his offensive coordinator, Bill Walsh. At Cincinnati, he set more than a dozen passing records and passed for 554 yards in a single game. Brown, after seeing the film, was convinced Cook should be the Bengals’ number one draft pick.

Cook was the fifth player selected in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft.  In those days, it was very rare for a rookie quarterback to start, even one drafted in the first round. Cook was so good in the preseasongc1 the Bengals actually released John Stofa, their starting quarterback from the previous year, before they were even out of training camp.

Cook proved Brown right by leading the Bengals to three straight wins to begin the season, even upsetting the Chiefs in week 3. During the Chiefs game, Cook felt a pop in his right throwing shoulder after being decked by LB Jim Lynch. Cook returned in week 8 to lead a huge 31-17 upset of the Oakland Raiders, a loss that would be the Raiders’ only loss during the 1969 season. Due to limited medical technology at the time, Cook suffered a torn rotator cuff that went undiagnosed.

Cook amazingly went on two finish the 1969 season later saying “I took cortisone shots and played in pain but the shoulder hadn’t started to deteriorate yet so I could still function.  I still had the strength.  I felt obligated to finish the season.”  Despite a torn rotator cuff, Cook went on to pass for 1,854 yards. His 9.4 yards per attempted pass and 17.5 yards per competitions are rookie records that still stand today. Cook was also named the AFL Rookie of the year.

Surgery after the season showed a torn rotator cuff and also a partially torn bicep, after a short-lived comeback attempt in 1973, Cook permanently retired.

It may seem a stretch to proclaim a man who didn’t even complete his rookie season a great NFL quarterback.  However, when you watch the film and see that Greg Cook could make every throw on a football field, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. He had the prototypical QB size – 6’ 4” and 220 lbs.  Bill Walsh, while talking to NFL Films, said Cook “threw, by far, the best deep ball of any quarterback he ever saw”. Walsh called him a combination of “(Terry) Bradshaw’s size and strength with (Joe) Montana’s instincts and feel for the game”.

It is true that we will never know how great Greg Cook could have been just like we will never know what else would have happened with Bo Jackson’s career without the hip injury. Maybe the Bengals would have become the dominant team in the 70’s instead of the Steelers.  We’ll never know. That’s the great thing about sports if not life in general.  At any point, one wrong move here or a right move there and history can easily be changed. I don’t think there’s any doubt that in Cincinnati,50 years from now, there will be somebody telling his son the story of Greg Cook.  It’s a story that needs to be remembered and re-told.

Read Also
Tommy Morrison and AIDS: Takin’ care of business
Tommy Morrison burst onto the professional boxing scene in 1988. Following a ...
The Bengals are in the Super Bowl and it’s as sweet as 33-year-old-chocolate
I’ve never been so excited to eat a 33-year-old candy bar! My ...
SI Sportsbook Promo
The Suffrage of Cincinnati Bengals fans and why this season means so much
I was born in 1968 and have been a Cincinnati Bengals fan ...
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
The 15 Greatest Wins in Cincinnati Bengals History
I figured today we would look at the 15 biggest wins. The ...
Are the Cincinnati Bengals cursed or just inept?
If you have been a Bengals fan since 1968, you know that ...
Elmer Ray: The Humble Man of Hastings
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
The Forgotten Canadian Champion (And Maybe It’s Deserved): Billy Hawkins
As Mike Goodpaster and I prepare our popular Old-Time Boxing Show podcast, ...
Bonus of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Latest News
Top 10 Things we learned from week 13 of the NFL season
The Eagles dominated a good Tennessee Titans team ...
Bengals vs. Chiefs: Preview
When people discuss if history repeats itself, they ...
NFL Week 13 SNF Colts vs Cowboys: Odds, Tips and Predictions 12/04/22
📅 Date: Sunday, December, 03 🕚 Game Time: ...
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: The Sports Zone: Top Sports News: Luke Fickell is gone, Bengals/Chiefs Preview and more
The Sports Zone: Top Sports News: Luke Fickell is gone, Bengals/Chiefs Preview and more
Video: The NFL Draft Show
The NFL Draft Show
Video: Froggy Talkin Sports W/Ryan & Joe
Froggy Talkin Sports W/Ryan & Joe
Betting Tips
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
95/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
94/100
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
92/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
90/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
WynnBET
WynnBET Bonus
Bet $100 Get $100
T&Cs apply
9/10
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsMark Lewis
+6
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: [email protected]

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

Trading financial products carries a high risk to your capital, especially trading leverage products such as CFDs. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

ccww
Move to Top
Close
Our Sports Pros recommend these awesome Social Casino sites this week:
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site