|1980 Cleveland Browns season|
|Head coach||Sam Rutigliano|
|Home field||Cleveland Municipal Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Lost Divisional Playoffs (Raiders) 12–14|
The 1980 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 35th overall, and 31st season in the National Football League. The Browns finished the regular season with eleven wins and five losses, and their first division title in since 1971, winning a tiebreaker with the Houston Oilers. The 1980 Browns were known as the Kardiac Kids for having several games decided in the final moments. The 1980 season was the first time that Cleveland had qualified for the postseason since 1972. Also, for the second straight year, Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano was named NFL Coach of the Year, and quarterback Brian Sipe was named the league's Most Valuable Player.
Rallying from a 10–0 first-half deficit against Cincinnati, the Browns came back to beat the Bengals 27–24 and finally snare the Central championship when Don Cockroft kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal with 1:25 left. The Bengals tried to come back and got as far as the Cleveland 14-yard line before time ran out.
The Browns played their first home playoff game in nine seasons against the Raiders, in what has become known as the Red Right 88 game. The Browns marched to the Oakland 13 in the waning seconds trailing by 14–12, but Brian Sipe's pass into the end zone for Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome was intercepted, ending Cleveland's season.
Five Players had 50 or more receptions, led by running back Mike Pruitt. Pruitt also rushed for 1,034 yards and six touchdowns. Running back Calvin Hill, recorded six touchdowns 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.
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|
|1||September 7, 1980||at New England Patriots||L 34–17||0–1|
|2||September 15, 1980||Houston Oilers||L 16–7||0–2|
|3||September 21, 1980||Kansas City Chiefs||W 20–13||1–2|
|4||September 28, 1980||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 34–27||2–2|
|5||October 5, 1980||Denver Broncos||L 19–16||2–3|
|6||October 12, 1980||at Seattle Seahawks||W 27–3||3–3|
|7||October 19, 1980||Green Bay Packers||W 26–21||4–3|
|8||October 26, 1980||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 27–26||5–3|
|9||November 3, 1980||Chicago Bears||W 27–21||6–3|
|10||November 9, 1980||at Baltimore Colts||W 28–27||7–3|
|11||November 16, 1980||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 16–13||7–4|
|12||November 23, 1980||Cincinnati Bengals||W 31–7||8–4|
|13||November 30, 1980||at Houston Oilers||W 17–14||9–4|
|14||December 7, 1980||New York Jets||W 17–14||10–4|
|15||December 14, 1980||at Minnesota Vikings||L 28–23||10–5|
|16||December 21, 1980||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 27–24||11–5|
- Charles White 7 Rec, 100 Yds
- 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. Browns 26, Packers 21
- 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. Browns 27, Steelers 26
- 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 in NFL play. Browns 27, Bears 21
- 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. Steelers 16, Browns 13
- In a game known to Vikings fans as the "Miracle at the Met", 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 Rashād as time expires. Kramer's 456 passing yards were the most ever given up by the Browns. Vikings 28, Browns 23
- 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. Browns 27, Bengals 24
|1980 Cleveland Browns roster|
Rookies in italics
Son of the Kardiac Kids
The 2007 Cleveland Browns 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."
AFC Divisional Playoff
- Oakland Raiders 14, Cleveland Browns 12
- TV: NBC
- Attendance: 77,655
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
- 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
- Sam Rutigliano, UPI NFL Coach of the Year
- "1980 NFL Draft". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- "Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns – September 21st, 1980". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- Although quarterback Otto Graham had more overall passing yards with the Browns from 1946 to 1955, only the last six of these seasons were in the NFL; Graham's first four seasons were in the AAFC. Pro-Football-Reference.com: For combined seasons, from 1920 to 1980, played in the NFL, playing for the Cleveland Browns, played QB, sorted by descending Passing Yds.
- "1980 Cleveland Browns Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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