|1980 Cleveland Browns season|
|Head Coach||Sam Rutigliano|
|Home Field||Cleveland Municipal Stadium|
|Place||1st AFC Central|
|Playoff Finish||Lost AFC Divisional Playoffs|
|Previous Season||Next Season|
"The Kardiac Kids" Season summary[edit | edit source]
The 1980 Cleveland Browns were known as the Kardiac Kids for having several games decided in the final moments. Finishing 11-5, the Browns captured the hearts and imagination of many pro football observers and their fans, as well as their first division title since 1971, winning a tiebreaker with the Houston Oilers. The 1980 season was the first time that Cleveland had qualified for the postseason since 1972. It was also Cleveland's version of the best roller-coaster ride ever, with plenty of very high highs and very low lows. These Browns simply didn't know how to play a boring game.
So it seemed fitting, then, that the two most important contests of the year, the regular-season finale at Cincinnati and the divisional playoff with the Oakland Raiders, went down to the end as well.
Rallying from a 10-0 first-half deficit, the Browns erased the memory of that painful 28-23 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, which they lost on a last second Hail Mary pass from Pro Bowl QB Tommy Kramer to then All-Pro WR (and future NBA broadcaster) Ahmad Rashad, rallying to beat the Bengals 27-24 to finally snare the Central championship. Don Cockroft kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal with 1:25 left, then the Bengals got as far as the Cleveland 14 before time ran out. In the excruciating 14-12 loss to the Raiders in what has become known as the Red Right 88, or Ice Bowl, game, the Browns, trailing 14-12, marched to the Oakland 13 in the waning seconds, only to have Brian Sipe's pass into the end zone for Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome - on a play called Red Right 88 - get intercepted.
That was about the only big mistake Sipe made all year. Sipe simply was brilliant, throwing for 4,132 yards and 30 touchdowns, with just 14 interceptions, to win the NFL MVP award. But Sipe, while the heart and soul of head coach Sam Rutigliano's team, had plenty of help. He was able to use a variety of weapons, spreading the ball around to keep defenses guessing.
Five Browns had 50 or more receptions, led by running back Mike Pruitt with 63. Running back Calvin Hill, exceptional as a third-down pass receiver, recorded six TDs among his 27 catches. Wide receiver Ricky Feacher grabbed just 10 passes, but four went for scores, including two within a matter of minutes in the division-clinching win over the Bengals. And when the Browns needed to move the ball on the ground, they could turn to FB Mike Pruitt, who went over 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight year with 1,034. He also ran for six TDs.
It was a wild season, which is why members of the 1980 team are still loved decades later by older Browns fans with good memories. To commemorate the Browns success during the 1980 holiday season, a version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was recorded by Clark Walter, Mack Hayes and Sandra Hayes. Entitled, "The Twelve Days of a Cleveland Browns Christmas," each day mentioned a hero on a "Rutigliano Super Bowl team". 
Offseason[edit | edit source]
NFL Draft[edit | edit source]
The following were selected in the 1980 NFL Draft.
|1||27||Charles White||Running Back||USC|
|2||54||Cleveland Crosby||Defensive End||Wisconsin|
|3||72||Cliff Odom||Linebacker||University of Texas at Arlington|
|4||99||Ron Crews||Nose Tackle||UNLV|
|5||116||Elvis Franks||Defensive End||Morgan State|
|8||209||Jeff Copeland||Linebacker||Texas Tech|
|9||236||Roy De Walt||Running Back||University of Texas at Arlington|
|10||263||Kevin Fidel||Center||San Diego State|
|11||294||Roland Sales||Running Back||Arkansas|
|12||321||Marcus Jackson||Defensive End||Purdue|
Regular season[edit | edit source]
Memorable moments[edit | edit source]
- Facing a third and 20 from the Packers' 46 yard line with 16 seconds left, Brian Sipe completes a pass to Dave Logan for the winning touchdown.
Week 8 (Home) – Browns 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 26
- Sipe and company fight back from deficits of 10–0, 20–7, and 26–14 to defeat the Steelers in Cleveland. Ozzie Newsome hauls in the winning catch with 5:35 to play.
Week 9 (Home) – Browns 27, Chicago Bears 21
- Although Mike Pruitt's 56-yard touchdown run ultimately wins the game for Cleveland, Sipe throws for 298 yards and reaches a milestone in Browns history, becoming the Browns' all-time passing leader.
Week 11 (Away)- Browns 13, Pittsburgh Steelers 16
- Seeking their first ever win at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, the Browns are once again denied, this time on a Terry Bradshaw to Lynn Swann touchdown with eleven seconds left. It marks the Browns' 11th consecutive defeat at Pittsburgh.
- The Browns relinquish a 23–9 lead with only 7:15 remaining. The game is probably most remembered for Browns Safety Thom Darden's deflection of Tommy Kramer's "Hail Mary pass", which is caught by Ahmad Rashad as time expires. Kramer's 456 passing yards were the most ever given up by the Browns.
- Needing a win to secure the Central Division title, the Browns hold off the Bengals 27–24. Don Cockroft's game winning field goal comes with 1:25 left to play.
Schedule[edit | edit source]
|1||September 7, 1980||at New England Patriots||L 34–17|
|2||September 15, 1980||Houston Oilers||L 16–7|
|3||September 21, 1980||Kansas City Chiefs||W 20–13|
|4||September 28, 1980||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 34–27|
|5||October 5, 1980||Denver Broncos||L 19–16|
|6||October 12, 1980||at Seattle Seahawks||W 27–3|
|7||October 19, 1980||Green Bay Packers||W 26–21|
|8||October 26, 1980||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 27–26|
|9||November 3, 1980||Chicago Bears||W 27–21|
|10||November 9, 1980||at Baltimore Colts||W 28–27|
|11||November 16, 1980||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 16–13|
|12||November 23, 1980||Cincinnati Bengals||W 31–7|
|13||November 30, 1980||at Houston Oilers||W 17–14|
|14||December 7, 1980||New York Jets||W 17–14|
|15||December 14, 1980||at Minnesota Vikings||L 28–23|
|16||December 21, 1980||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 27–24|
Standings[edit | edit source]
Roster[edit | edit source]
|1980 Cleveland Browns roster|
Son of the Kardiac Kids[edit | edit source]
The 2007 Cleveland Browns have had a season similar to the Kardiac Kids, with several games being decided in the final minutes or in overtime. One game in particular against the Baltimore Ravens, which the Browns won in overtime because of a reversed call on a field goal by kicker Phil Dawson, led the Cleveland Plain Dealer to publish an editorial calling the 2007 Browns "The 'Son of the Kardiac Kids'" . The similarities have been at least acknowledged by the organization, with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski being quoted in the article calling his team "The Kardiac Kids' little brother."
Postseason[edit | edit source]
AFC Divisional Playoff[edit | edit source]
- Oakland Raiders 14, Cleveland Browns 12
at Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
- TV: NBC
- Attendance: 77,655
Red Right 88[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Red Right 88
AFC Divisional Playoff Game (Home) January 4, 1981 - Browns 12, Oakland Raiders 14 In sub-zero conditions on Cleveland's windy Lakefront, the Browns and Raiders battled into the waning moments of the contest. Down 14-12 and having mounted a 72-yard drive, the Browns were within striking distance at the Oakland 13 yard line with less than a minute remaining. Although it was only second down, Don Cockroft had already missed two field goal attempts in the swirling winds. Browns Coach Sam Rutigliano chose a more aggressive strategy, opting to go for the kill and pass the ball on second down instead of conservatively running the ball and then, perhaps, settling for a last second field goal. The play called was Red Right 88, which was intended for Dave Logan. However, Ozzie Newsome managed to get clear in the Raiders endzone and Sipe fired the ball to him—but the wind managed to interfere with the plan and heartbreak was the outcome for the frozen 77,655 Cleveland faithful: the ball was intercepted by Oakland Cornerback Mike Davis. The 1980 season will be remembered fondly albeit bittersweet, but the game would go down in Browns history (along with The Drive and The Fumble) as one of the franchises sadder moments.
Awards and records[edit | edit source]
- Brian Sipe, NFL MVP
- Brian Sipe, PFWA MVP
- Brian Sipe, UPI AFL-AFC Offensive Player of the Year
- Brian Sipe, AFC Leader, Touchdown Passes (30), Tied with another player
Milestones[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Browns did not win the Super Bowl or reach the AFC Championship Game that in 1980.
- Season summery and statistics at Cleveland Browns.com
- 1980 NFL Draft Listing - Pro-Football-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 2009-07-26. Retrieved on 2009-07-24.