subscribers catch up with the dynamo heart of the Cardiac Kids: Brian Sipe."> subscribers catch up with the dynamo heart of the Cardiac Kids: Brian Sipe.">

Where Are They Now? Brian Sipe

A litte less than twenty-five years ago, an smallish quarterback from San Diego State led the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs. Thrilling finishes, one after another, kept fans on the edges of their seats up to the ultimate moment of disappointment: Red Right 88. With this reprint from the 12/3/2001 premiere issue of Bernies Insiders magazine, we help recent <A HREF="">subscribers</A> catch up with the dynamo heart of the Cardiac Kids: Brian Sipe.

Q: What are you doing now?
: I currently have my own real estate design and development firm called Brian Sipe Development. Prior to starting my own business, I worked at a similar firm called Wave Crest Properties where I had several partners before heading out on my own. My side job is head coach of a small high school football team called Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach, California. We are undefeated and ranked No. 1 in our division, Division 4 - the smallest division for 11 man football in the state of California. WI helped out with the quarterbacks last year and have graduated to head coach this year.

Q: Talk about your family...
A: My wife Geri and I have three children. Daughter Lani is 25 years old; another daughter Morgan is 20 years old and a son Nolan is 16 years old.

Q: Where do you live?
A: We are currently living in Del Mar, California

Q: Have you ever been interviewed when Red-Right 88 was not brought up?
A: It's funny. I still hear about it from time to time but mostly from friends who like to kid me about it.

Q: Aside from the pass itself, what do you remember most about that game?
A: The weather. It is a shame we had to play a football game under those conditions. The weather, the wind, and the condition of the frozen field, in particular, were huge factors, albeit both ways. For us, we just couldn't attack their defense like we normally would have given the conditions that day. We just couldn't open up and use all our weapons. Inevitably, it cost us the game. If I had to use one word to describe the game, it would be "awkward".

Q: Had that play been successful, might your career have taken a different path?
A: I don't think so. I played another three years in Cleveland before moving on. I don't think it really made an impact on my career. I would say even though we lost, it drew us closer to the city of Cleveland. It was a very emotional season and the fans really rode it with us. We made a good run and did our best and I think the fans appreciated it.

Q: Might you have been more inclined to stay with the Browns?
A: No. It was tome for me to move on after the 1983 season. We both just needed to move in another direction, me personally and the Browns as a franchise.

Q: Have you ever regretted not finishing your career or retiring as a Brown?
A: No. I left Cleveland and played two years in the USFL, first with the New Jersey Generals in 1984 and then with the Jacksonville Bulls in 1985. I was injured most of my last year with Jacksonville. As far as retiring, I am glad it ended up as it did. The USFL was actually better football than what most people gave it credit for. Also, the USFL was a good place for me. I could not have imagined ever wearing any NFL uniform other than the Browns.

Q: Was there any one play that was successful that in anyway matched from a positive standpoint all the negative ramifications from Red Right 88?
A: Players tend to walk away from seasons remembering the last play or the last game. Unfortunately, for all teams except one it always ends on a sour note. Not having won a championship, it is difficult to compare. I guess I am not alone.

Q: What is your favorite memory from the good ol' days?
A: I would have to say it was not actually a play or anything like that. Rather, it was a moment where we all came together as a team and enjoyed the camaraderie of each other's company after a big win.

It took place after the final game of the 1980 regular season vs. Cincinnati. We just beat them with a late Don Cockroft field goal to win the division and we were all there together in the Cincinnati airport after the game for two hours waiting on our plane and celebrating the victory and division championship. It had been a roller coaster season and we had spent a lot of emotional energy that year to get to that point. It was the first point where we were able to look back, let down our guards and really just enjoy each other's company without anybody asking questions or worrying about what would happen next. It is the friendships and camaraderie amongst the players that I tend to remember best.

Q: Do you even watch football today? Browns games?
A: I don't get to watch many games anymore, although I am still a Browns fan. Actually, I am more a fan of Cleveland than a Browns fan. I really enjoyed the people of Cleveland and my time there. We had a special bond with the fans and they made it a lot of fun.

Q: If you were 21 again, would you want to play in today's NFL given the speed and size of players on defense?
A: Absolutely. They were always bigger than me to begin with, even back then, so I guess it would not have mattered much. Every morning I had to reconvince myself that I belonged in the NFL. I never took it for granted and I always felt I had to work hard to stay. I would have given the same effort regardless of when I played.

Q: How do you think you would do?
A: The game has changed so much. Back when I played, guys of average size had more of a chance to play in the NFL because training wasn't the same as it is now. It was open to average guys, and if you had the heart and some talent, then you could be a good player.

Today, the game has changed so much that the average guy cannot play any more. Pardon me for saying this, but you have to be a physical freak of sorts to compete. The speed and size of players today is incredible.

I will say this: I felt like I was competing against the best athletes in the world back then. That part of it hasn't changed.

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