Cleveland Browns: Top 10 quarterbacks of all-time
By Thomas Moore
When you think about where Brian Sipe started from, it is pretty amazing that not only is he on this list but is near the very top.
A 13th-round draft pick in 1972, the 330th overall selection, Sipe spent his first two full seasons on the taxi squad (what is now known as the practice squad) before finally seeing limited game action in 1974.
Sipe didn’t take hold of the full-time starter’s job until 1976, however, but once he did he put his name at the very top of the franchise’s record book.
He is first on the career list in passing yards (23,713), completions (1,944) and fourth-quarter comebacks (17); second on the career list with 154 touchdown passes; and first on the single-season list in passing yards (4,132) and touchdown passes (30), still the only Browns quarterback pass for more than 4,000 yards or throw for 30 touchdowns.
Sipe led the Browns to the brink of the playoffs in 1978 and 1979, before he pushed the team to a division title in 1980, the same year he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
That season saw the Kardiac Kids at the height of their powers, as the Brwons won nine of their games by seven points or less behind a Sipe-led offense that included a offensive weapons Ozzie Newsome, Dave Logan, Reggie Rucker, Mike Pruitt and Greg Pruitt.
While that season ended in disappointment in the Red Right 88 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, that season, and especially Sipe, still resonates with fans old enough to have witnessed it.
Sipe battled injuries and an aging roster as the Browns never made the playoffs again in his final three years with the team.
Cleveland owner Art Modell thought that Sipe was finished in the 1983 season so he did not offer a fair contract, leaving Sipe to leave for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL.
But Sipe had one last treat in store for Browns fans as his final game was a home victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Sipe threw for four touchdown passes in a 30-17 embarrassment of the Steelers.
Next: No. 2: Bernie Kosar (1985 to 1993)