The 1980 Cleveland Browns were known as the Kardiac Kids for having several games decided in the final moments. The 1980 season was the first time that Cleveland had qualified for the postseason since 1972.
Rallying from a 10–0 first-half deficit against Cincinnati, the Browns came back to beat the Bengals 27–24 to finally snare the Central championship. Don Cockroft kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal with 1:25 left, then the Bengals got as far as the Cleveland 14 before time ran out.
The Browns played their first home playoff game in nine seasons against the Raiders, in what has become known as the Red Right 88 game. The Browns marched to the Oakland 13 in the waning seconds trailing by 14–12, but Brian Sipe's pass into the end zone for Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome was intercepted, ending Cleveland's season
Sipe had a career year, throwing for 4,132 yards and 30 touchdowns, with just 14 interceptions.
Five Browns had 50 or more receptions, led by running back Mike Pruitt with 63. Pruitt also rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second straight year (1,034) and six touchdowns. Running back Calvin Hill, primarily a third-down pass receiver, recorded six touchdowns among his 27 catches. Wide receiver Ricky Feacher grabbed just 10 passes, but four went for scores, including two within a matter of minutes in the division-clinching win over the Bengals.
To commemorate the Browns success during the 1980 holiday season, a version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was recorded, entitled "The Twelve Days of a Cleveland Browns Christmas," each day mentioned a Browns player on a "Rutigliano Super Bowl team".
Although Mike Pruitt's 56-yard touchdown run ultimately wins the game for Cleveland, Sipe throws for 298 yards and reaches a milestone in Browns history, becoming the Browns' all-time passing leader in NFL play.Browns 27, Bears 21
Seeking their first ever win at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, the Browns are once again denied, this time on a Terry Bradshaw to Lynn Swann touchdown with eleven seconds left. It marks the Browns' 11th consecutive defeat at Pittsburgh. Steelers 16, Browns 13
The Browns relinquish a 23–9 lead with only 7:15 remaining. The game is probably most remembered for Browns SafetyThom Darden's deflection of Tommy Kramer's "Hail Mary pass", which is caught by Ahmad Rashad as time expires. Kramer's 456 passing yards were the most ever given up by the Browns. Vikings 28, Browns 23
The 2007 Cleveland Browns had a season similar to the Kardiac Kids, with several games being decided in the final minutes or in overtime. One game in particular against the Baltimore Ravens, which the Browns won in overtime because of a reversed call on a field goal by kickerPhil Dawson, led the Cleveland Plain Dealer to publish an editorial calling the 2007 Browns "The 'Son of the Kardiac Kids'" . The similarities have been at least acknowledged by the organization, with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski being quoted in the article calling his team "The Kardiac Kids' little brother."
AFC Divisional Playoff Game (Home) January 4, 1981 – Browns 12, Oakland Raiders 14 In sub-zero conditions on Cleveland's windy Lakefront, the Browns and Raiders battled into the waning moments of the contest. Down 14–12 and having mounted a 72-yard drive, the Browns were within striking distance at the Oakland 13-yard line with less than a minute remaining. Although it was only second down, Don Cockroft had already missed two field goal attempts in the swirling winds. Browns Coach Sam Rutigliano chose a more aggressive strategy, opting to go for the kill and pass the ball on second down instead of conservatively running the ball and then, perhaps, settling for a last second field goal. The play called was Red Right 88, which was intended for Dave Logan. However, Ozzie Newsome managed to get clear in the Raiders endzone and Sipe fired the ball to him—but the wind managed to interfere with the plan and heartbreak was the outcome for the frozen 77,655 Cleveland faithful: the ball was intercepted by Oakland CornerbackMike Davis. The 1980 season will be remembered fondly albeit bittersweet, but the game would go down in Browns history (along with The Drive and The Fumble) as one of the franchises sadder moments.