Cleveland Browns: 1980
After dominating from the late 1940s through the 1960s, the Cleveland Browns finally ran out of gas in the 1970s, failing to be a major player in the playoff scene for several years. Fans were hoping that the start of the 1980s might prove different after the team finished ’79 with a 9-7 record. Yet things didn’t get off to the best start.
The Browns lost three of their first five games. What followed was one of the most exciting periods of football a team would ever play. Week after week it seemed like the Browns were in a close game and having to pull out a win late in the 4th quarter. Nine of their remaining games that year were decided by a touchdown or less. They won seven of them.
Leading the way was MVP Brian Sipe who threw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Cleveland went 11-5 and made the playoffs. Unfortunately, how they lived that year came back to haunt them as their aggressive late-game approach led to the infamous “Red Right 88” loss to the Raiders.