If I were to ask you who the all-time leading passer in both yards and touchdowns of the Cleveland Browns was, what would you say? Otto Graham? A great quarterback but no. Bernie Kosar? While a very popular quarterback in Cleveland, it isn't him either. Who is it then? Brian Sipe would be the man you are looking for.

Sipe was born in San Diego, California in 1949. He lived a idyllic childhood, pursuing interests such as surfing, architecture, (As a kid, his father would drive him around San Diego, showing him different types of buildings) and various sports including, of course football.

Sipe enrolled in San Diego State University in 1968, and earned the starting job soon after. By his senior year, Sipe had broken 11 Aztec records, and was the NCAA's passing champion, but was not looked upon highly by NFL scouts, due to his relatively small size (6'1 190lbs) and a arm that was considered to be "weak" by NFL standards. Nevertheless he was selected by the Browns with the 330th pick in the 13th round in the 1972 NFL draft.

Sipe's first two years in Cleveland were somewhat rocky. Coming from California to Cleveland was a bit of a culture shock for Sipe. Some reasons for this was Sipe's beliefs, (his belief system was based on Siddhartha, the novel about Buddha and the search for life's ultimate answers) something most folks in Cleveland had never heard of, and his rocky relationship with the Cleveland media who Sipe thought was smothering him. These two things made Sipe wonder if he was really cut out for the NFL. As a result, his preseason play suffered, and he was cut in 1972 and 1973 by the Browns, coming back each year as a taxi squad (practice only) player.

Sipe never did end up loving all the attention given him, but when he did give interviews, he was charming and accommodating, which made the finicky Browns' fans eventually warm up to him.

Finally in 1974 after a injury to Browns starting quarterback Mike Phipps, Sipe got his chance to show what attributes he brought to the quarterback position.

As mentioned before Sipe was small for a NFL quarterback, and had a pop-gun arm, but he was a very intelligent player and accurate with his passes. He also showed mental and physical toughness, endearing him further to the Cleveland faithful. He also could run a bit if he had to and had excellent presence in the pocket.

Sipe had some decent years leading up to the 1980 season, but they were in the same division as the Pittsburgh Steelers and their famed "Steel Curtain" defense, so the playoffs were denied them. But that all changed in 1980 when Sipe lit the NFL on fire, throwing for 30 touchdowns against only 14 interceptions, was voted the MVP of the NFL, and led the Browns to the playoffs. Sipe and the Browns were known as the "Kardiac Kids" that year mostly due to the fact that they played 16 regular-season games, and 13 of them were decided after the two-minute warning. Their playoff game was no different, losing to the Oakland Raiders 14-12 in a absolute heartbreaker (ask a diehard Browns fan what “Red Right 88" means) due to a interception of Sipe on the last play of the game.

Expectations for Sipe and the Browns were high in 1981,and while Sipe threw for 3,836 yards and 17 touchdowns he also threw 25 interceptions and guided the Browns to a last place finish. As a result he was benched after a slow start in the strike shortened 1982 season. But Sipe rebounded in 1983, getting his job back and throwing for 3,566 yards and 26 tochdowns. But he also threw 23 interceptions, and the Browns again missed the playoffs.

1984 saw Brian Sipe playing for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. Brian played well guiding them to the playoffs that year, but he was traded to the Jacksonville Bulls soon afterward, where injuries and the folding of the USFL ended his playing career.

Brian Sipe still lives in the San Diego area where he is a successful architect and coaches the Santa Fe Christian's high school football team.





               +---------------------------------------+-----------------+
                 |              Passing                  |     Rushing     |
+----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
| Year  TM |   G |  Comp   Att   PCT    YD   Y/A  TD INT |  Att  Yards  TD |
+----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
| 1974 cle |  10 |    59   108  54.6   603   5.6   1   7 |    16    44   4 |
| 1975 cle |   7 |    45    88  51.1   427   4.9   1   3 |     9    60   0 |
| 1976 cle |  14 |   178   312  57.1  2113   6.8  17  14 |    18    71   0 |
| 1977 cle |   9 |   112   195  57.4  1233   6.3   9  14 |    10    14   0 |
| 1978 cle |  16 |   222   399  55.6  2906   7.3  21  15 |    28    87   3 |
| 1979 cle |  16 |   286   535  53.5  3793   7.1  28  26 |    45   178   2 |
| 1980 cle |  16 |   337   554  60.8  4132   7.5  30  14 |    20    55   1 |
| 1981 cle |  16 |   313   567  55.2  3876   6.8  17  25 |    38   153   1 |
| 1982 cle |   6 |   101   185  54.6  1064   5.8   4   8 |    13    44   0 |
| 1983 cle |  15 |   291   496  58.7  3566   7.2  26  23 |    26    56   0 |
+----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
|  TOTAL   | 125 |  1944  3439  56.5 23713   6.9 154 149 |   223   762  11 |
+----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+

Sources include: www.profootbballreference.com, www.thisistheusfl.com, www.clevelandbrowns.com, www.ohio.com

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