- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- If you ever wondered why Jason Garrett wore No. 17 as a quarterback, here’s your answer: Brian Sipe.
Sipe was Cleveland’s quarterback from 1974-83, and Garrett’s father, Jim was a Browns assistant coach for much of that time.
"Sipe was my guy," Garrett said. "He was fantastic. I didn’t really know him. I was a relatively young kid, but I was a huge fan. He was unbelievable."
As much as Garrett is a Jersey guy, he’s also a Cleveland guy, having gone to high school in the area.
"That was the time of the Cardiac Kids," Garrett said. "Sam Rutigliano was the head coach. He did a great job there. Brian Sipe was the quarterback. They really had some great teams, some fun teams."
Garrett was at Cleveland Stadium, with game-time temperatures at 2 degrees with a minus-20 wind chill, when the Browns lost to Oakland, 14-12, in the division round of the playoffs. The Browns' chances for a win ended on a Sipe interception with the ball at the Oakland 13 and in field goal position. The play called was Red Right 88 and is as infamous for Cleveland fans as The Drive and The Fumble.
The Raiders went on to win the Super Bowl that year
“I remember being freezing,” Garrett said. “I think at the time it was one of the coldest games ever. There were 80,000 in old Cleveland Stadium and we were there early and we were completely invested. The Browns had been so good coming back over and over and over. Literally eight or nine wins wer come from behind and everybody thought the same thing. Sipe took them down the field and unfortunately there was a miscommunication and threw an interception in the end zone. Boy, 80,000 people went silent. It was a sad day in Cleveland.”