July 10, 2011

MVP Profile: Brian Sipe, 1980

Quarterback, Cleveland Browns



Age: 31
9th season in pro football (7th active) & with Browns
College: San Diego State
Height: 6’1” Weight: 195

Prelude:
Unheralded coming out of college, Sipe was taken by the Browns in the 13th round of the 1972 NFL draft and was a member of the practice squad for two seasons before moving up to backup behind Mike Phipps in ’74, when he saw his first regular season pro action. Beating out Phipps for the starting job in 1976, he developed into a clutch performer and in ’79 led the “Kardiac Kids” to seven game-winning drives in the 4th quarter while leading the NFL in both TD passes (28) and, reflecting his gambling style of play, interceptions (26).

1980 Season Summary
Appeared in and started all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 554 [2]
Most attempts, game – 46 vs. Pittsburgh 10/26
Completions – 337 [2]
Most completions, game – 30 vs. NY Jets 12/7
Yards – 4132 [2]
Most yards, game – 391 vs. Green Bay 10/19
Completion percentage – 60.8 [3]
Yards per attempt – 7.5 [8]
TD passes – 30 [2, tied with Dan Fouts & Vince Ferragamo]
Most TD passes, game – 4 vs. Pittsburgh 10/26, vs. Cincinnati 11/23
Interceptions – 14
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Chicago 11/3, at Cincinnati 12/21
Passer rating – 91.4 [1]
300-yard passing games – 6
200-yard passing games – 13

Rushing
Attempts – 20
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 0 yds.) vs. NY Jets 12/7
Yards – 55
Most yards, game – 33 yards (on 2 carries) vs. Green Bay 10/19
Yards per attempt – 2.8
TDs – 1

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points – 6

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Divisional playoff vs. Oakland)
Pass attempts – 40
Pass completions – 13
Passing yardage – 183
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 3

Rushing attempts – 6
Rushing yards – 13
Average gain rushing – 2.2
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Browns went 11-5 to win the AFC Central, were the conference’s second-seeded team in the playoffs, and ranked second in the NFL in passing offense (3915 yards). Lost to Oakland Raiders in AFC Divisional playoff (14-12).

Aftermath:
Both Sipe and the team collapsed in 1981, the quarterback throwing for 3876 yards, but with only 17 TD passes against a league-leading 25 interceptions. Another off-year in ’82 was followed by a good season in 1983 in which Sipe passed for 3566 yards with a 58.7 completion percentage, 26 TDs, and 23 INTs. He moved on to the USFL, signing with the New Jersey Generals for the ’84 spring season. With the arrival of heralded rookie QB Doug Flutie in 1985, Sipe was dealt to the Jacksonville Bulls where he was injured and ended up backing up Ed Luther in his final pro season. Overall, for his career he threw for 26,938 yards (23,713 in the NFL, 3225 USFL) with 175 TDs (154 NFL, 21 USFL) against 166 interceptions (149 NFL, 17 USFL).

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]