Every longtime Cleveland sports fan knows about "Red Right 88", the play that ended the Browns' 1980 season. Trailing 14-12 late in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders in an icy, windy playoff game, the Browns opted to eschew a field-goal attempt and go for a touchdown. Quarterback Brian Sipe's ill-fated throw, intended for tight end Ozzie Newsome, was intercepted by Oakland in the end zone, bringing to a halt Cleveland's "kardiac" campaign. In Kardiac Kids Jonathan Knight paints a portrait of the Browns' storybook 1980 season and its impact on the city of Cleveland. Knight takes us through that unforgettable year from beginning to end, describing in great detail how the city simply fell in love with this team. It was the year long-suffering Cleveland sports fans finally had something to be proud of. Tickets were at a premium, players were pursued like rock stars, and songs were written about their on-field heroics. This was a team made up of individuals who weren't expected to be headline grabbers. It had a personable, often humorous head coach and a starting quarterback who was supposed to be too short, too slow, and whose arm was far too weak (and who, by the way, became the National Football League's Most Valuable Player in 1980). A group of football journeymen came together to form the best offensive line in the NFL, and a beleaguered defense improved just enough to help the team realize its destiny. Though the Cleveland Browns boast four world championships and possess a rich and respected past, the magical 1980 season was clearly the most memorable in team history. Kardiac Kids is a tribute to that team.
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Kent State University Press
June 13, 2013
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