1980 Cleveland Browns season

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.

1980 Cleveland Browns season
Head coachSam Rutigliano
OwnerArt Modell
Home fieldCleveland Municipal Stadium
Local radioWHK
Division place1st AFC Central
Playoff finishLost Divisional Playoffs (Raiders) 12–14

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.


NFL DraftEdit

The following were selected in the 1980 NFL Draft.

Round Overall Player Position School/Club Team
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
4 109 Paul McDonald Quarterback USC
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 seasonEdit


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance Record
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

Game summariesEdit

Week 3Edit

1 234Total
Chiefs 0 670 13
• Browns 0 7130 20


Week 7Edit

  • 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

Week 8Edit

  • 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

Week 9Edit

  • 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.[3] Browns 27, Bears 21

Week 11Edit

  • 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

Week 15Edit

  • 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

Week 16Edit

  • 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


AFC Central
Cleveland Browns(2) 11 5 0 .688 4–2 8–4 357 310 W1
Houston Oilers(5) 11 5 0 .688 4–2 7–5 295 251 W3
Pittsburgh Steelers 9 7 0 .563 2–4 5–7 352 313 L1
Cincinnati Bengals 6 10 0 .375 2–4 4–8 244 312 L1


1980 Cleveland Browns roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Rookies in italics


Son of the Kardiac KidsEdit

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'" [1]. 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 PlayoffEdit

  • Oakland Raiders 14, Cleveland Browns 12
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 7 0 7 14
Browns 0 6 6 0 12

at Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • TV: NBC
  • Attendance: 77,655

Red Right 88Edit

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 recordsEdit


  1. ^ "1980 NFL Draft". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  2. ^ "Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns – September 21st, 1980". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "1980 Cleveland Browns Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com.