Sipe c. 1979
|Date of birth:||August 8, 1949|
|Place of birth:||San Diego, California|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|College:||San Diego State|
|NFL Draft:||1972 / Round: 13 / Pick: 330|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Brian Winfield Sipe (born August 8, 1949) is a former professional American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1974 to 1983. He then played in the United States Football League for two seasons.
Although mostly sidelined for the first several years of his NFL career, Sipe was eventually recognized as one of the better quarterbacks in Browns history, winning the league's MVP Award in 1980. He was a college football star under head coach Don Coryell at San Diego State University, where he studied architecture and became the team's quarterbacks coach in 2009, remaining in that role for five years, through 2014. He also competed in the 1961 Little League World Series for El Cajon, California, and prepped at Grossmont High School.
In 1974, Sipe started four games after helping the Browns come back from a 12-point deficit against the Denver Broncos on October 27. However, after winning just one of the four contests (a 21-14 victory against the New England Patriots on November 11), he was replaced by Mike Phipps.
The team's disastrous 1975 season saw Sipe enter the starting lineup after three consecutive losses in which the Browns were outscored 124-26. Sipe's three starts reduced the margin of defeat for the squad, but still resulted in a trio of defeats, sending him back to the sidelines. The following year, he finally moved into a consistent starting role following an opening game injury to Phipps on September 12, 1976. As the team's signal caller that season, he led them to a 9-5 record, a six-game improvement over the previous season.
During the first half of the 1977 season, he led the team to five wins in their first seven games. However, on November 13 of that year, Sipe suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at Three Rivers Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second quarter of the team's 35-31 defeat. Sipe came back the following year to throw for more than 2,900 yards and 21 touchdown passes, but the team's overall inconsistency resulted in an 8-8 finish.
Serving as the catalyst for many thrilling moments during the 1979 and 1980 seasons, Sipe helped the team earn the nickname "Kardiac Kids." The designation was in recognition of their tendency to produce heart-stopping comeback victories in the final minutes of many games. Over the course of these two seasons, Sipe led the Browns to eight comebacks and eleven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.
In 1980, Sipe passed for 4,132 yards and 30 touchdowns, helping lead the team to its first postseason berth since 1972. Individually, his efforts earned him the Associated Press' NFL MVP award and a selection to the NFL Pro Bowl. In an AFC divisional playoff game that 1980 season against the Raiders (January 4, 1981) the Browns could've settled for a very short game winning field goal but instead decided to pass the ball. It was a logical choice; Cleveland weather was brutally cold and windy and a field goal was not a guarantee. Likewise, Sipe's target was Pro Football Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome. With 41 seconds left in the game, Sipe threw an interception in the end zone, bringing the Browns season to a heartbreaking end. The play call, "Red Right 88" would be immortalized in Cleveland sports infamy.
Despite throwing for 3,876 yards the following year, Sipe was at the controls as the team staggered to a 5-11 mark. In 1982, Sipe and the Browns won just two of the team's first six games in the strike-marred NFL season, and Sipe was benched in favor of third-year signal caller Paul McDonald.
Sipe regained his starting role the following year, but angered Browns management by negotiating with Donald Trump's USFL New Jersey Generals during the season. Sipe finished the season with 3,566 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes. He then signed with the Generals and played for them in 1984, before concluding his career with the Jacksonville Bulls in 1985.
Sipe lives in San Diego and coached the football team at Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach, California, where he helped the Eagles to four CIF titles and a combined record of 75-21-1. Sipe was hired on January 18, 2009, as the quarterbacks coach for his alma mater, San Diego State. Sipe served in that role through the end of the 2014 season.
|NFL Career Totals||125||3439||1944||56.5||23713||154||149||74.8|
|1984||New Jersey Generals||16||324||192||59.3||2540||17||15||82.3|
|USFL Career Totals||-||413||247||56.5||3225||21||17||84.3|