1976 Cleveland Browns season

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1976 Cleveland Browns season
Head coach Forrest Gregg
Owner Art Modell
Home field Cleveland Stadium
Local radio WHK
Results
Record 9–5
Division place 3rd AFC Central
Playoff finish did not qualify
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1975 1977 >

The 1976 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 27th season with the National Football League. The Browns were coached by second year coach Forrest Gregg, and ended their season with a record of 9–5, being third in their division. The team's top draft choice was running back Mike Pruitt. Brian Sipe firmly took control at quarterback. Sipe had been inserted into the lineup after a Mike Phipps injury in the season-opening win against the New York Jets on September 12. After a 1–3 start brought visions of another disastrous year, the Browns jolted the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers with an 18–16 victory on October 10. Third-string quarterback Dave Mays helped lead the team to that victory, while defensive end Joe "Turkey" Jones' pile-driving sack of quarterback Terry Bradshaw fueled the heated rivalry between the two teams. That win was the first of eight in the next nine weeks, helping put the Browns in contention for the AFC playoffs. A loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the regular season finale cost them a share of the division title, but running back Greg Pruitt continued his outstanding play by rushing for exactly 1000 yards, his second-straight four-digit season.

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

The following were selected in the 1976 NFL Draft.

Round Overall Player Position School/Club Team
1 7 Mike Pruitt Running Back Purdue
3 65 Dave Logan Wide Receiver Colorado
4 97 Gene Swick Quarterback Toledo
4 99 Mike St. Clair Defensive End Grambling
5 130 Henry Sheppard Guard SMU
7 189 Steve Cassidy Defensive Tackle LSU
9 242 James Reed Running Back Mississippi
9 261 Craig Nagel Quarterback Purdue
10 271 Doug Kleber Offensive Tackle Illinois
11 297 Doug Celek Defensive End Kent State
13 354 Brian Murray Offensive Tackle Arizona
14 381 Joe Smalzer Tight End Illinois
15 408 Luther Philyaw Defensive Back Loyola(CA)
16 438 Chris Lorenzen Defensive Tackle Arizona State
17 464 Tom Fleming Wide Receiver Dartmouth

[1]

Exhibition schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 July 31, 1976 vs. Baltimore Colts at Lincoln, Nebraska L 21–0
20,304
2 August 7, 1976 vs. Atlanta Falcons at Stillwater, Oklahoma W 31–7
24,227
3 August 16, 1976 Minnesota Vikings W 31–7
44,336
4 August 23, 1976 at Philadelphia Eagles W 21–17
20,600
5 August 30, 1976 New England Patriots W 30–27
36,016
6 September 3, 1976 at Buffalo Bills L 28–10
37,951

Regular season schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Results Stadium Attendance[2]
Score Record
1 September 12, 1976 New York Jets W 38–17 1–0 Cleveland Stadium 67,496
2 September 19, 1976 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 14–31 1–1 Three Rivers Stadium 49,169
3 September 26, 1976 at Denver Broncos L 13–44 1–2 Mile High Stadium 62,775
4 October 3, 1976 Cincinnati Bengals L 24–45 1–3 Cleveland Stadium 75,817
5 October 10, 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers W 18–16 2–3 Cleveland Stadium 76,411
6 October 17, 1976 at Atlanta Falcons W 20–17 3–3 Atlanta Stadium 33,364
7 October 24, 1976 San Diego Chargers W 21–17 4–3 Cleveland Stadium 60,018
8 October 31, 1976 at Cincinnati Bengals L 6–21 4–4 Riverfront Stadium 54,776
9 November 7, 1976 at Houston Oilers W 21–7 5–4 Astrodome 39,828
10 November 14, 1976 Philadelphia Eagles W 24–3 6–4 Cleveland Stadium 62,120
11 November 21, 1976 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 24–7 7–4 Tampa Stadium 36,930
12 November 28, 1976 Miami Dolphins W 17–13 8–4 Cleveland Stadium 74,715
13 December 5, 1976 Houston Oilers W 13–10 9–4 Cleveland Stadium 56,025
14 December 12, 1976 at Kansas City Chiefs L 14–39 9–5 Arrowhead Stadium 34,340

Game summaries[edit]

Week 5[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 3 0 6 16
• Browns 3 3 9 3 18

[3]

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Pittsburgh Steelers(3) 10 4 0 .714 5–1 9–3 342 138 W9
Cincinnati Bengals 10 4 0 .714 4–2 8–3 335 210 W1
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 3–3 6–5 267 287 L1
Houston Oilers 5 9 0 .357 0–6 3–9 222 273 L2

Roster[edit]

1976 Cleveland Browns roster
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Rookies in italics


[4]

Notes and references[edit]