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Jason Garrett remembers Cleveland's 1980 Mistake by the Lake

Nh60176761IRVING, Texas - This is more for the old school NFL football fan, but this is a fun football memory.

Not that the current generation can believe this, but there was once a day when the Cleveland Browns didn't just absolutely suck. In 1980, the Browns were coached by Sam Rutigliano and their quarterback was Brian Sipe. They finished 11-5, and were the favorite to go to the Super Bowl.

Jason Garrett was 14-years-old, and his father was a member of the Browns staff.

"Sipe was my guy," Coach Process said today. "He was fantastic. I didn't really know him but I was a huge fan."

Garrett was there at the very old, and now very gone, Cleveland Stadium on January 4, 1981 when the Browns hosted the Oakland Raiders in an AFC divisional playoff game. Game time temperature was a balmy 2 degrees.

"I remember it was freezing. I think at the time it was one of the coldest games ever," Garrett said. "There were 80,000 people at the old Cleveland Stadium and we were there early. We were completely invested. The Browns had been so good at coming back over and over. I think they had eight or nine wins where they came from behind. Everybody thought it would be the same type of thing."

The Browns trailed by two when they regained possession late in the game, deep in their own territory. Cue NFL films music.

The Browns didn't trust their kicker, Don Cockroft, who was 2-of-4 on field goals that day. The Browns reached the Raiders' 13-yard line with 49 seconds remaining. Rather than try a field goal, Sipe threw the ball into the endzone for tight end Ozzie Newsome where it was intercepted by safety Mike Davis.

"Boy, 80,000 people went silent," Garrett said.

Sipe was 13-of-40 passing for 183 yards and three interceptions. The Raiders became the first wildcard team to win the Super Bowl.



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David DeWitt

We aren't going to absolutely suck on Sunday either. Prepare yourself for that in case you're mistakenly taking this as some sort of easy win.


Amazing game. I remember it well. I loved Brian Sipe. He was the best. We have never been the same since. Great clip. Great memories. I wish we would have won that game. I think it would have changed the course of history for the Browns in Cleveland and maybe the fate of down town Cleveland.


The Browns? Not sucking? Are you high?

35-13 Cowboys.

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