The Browns were one of the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl in 1981. It was spoken of in Cleveland as the “Siper Bowl” leading up to the season. The Browns had strengthened an already strong team through the draft, acquiring future star Hanford Dixon in the first round and future fan-favorite Eddie Johnson in round seven. They also had the legendary Jerry Sherk returning to the field. Sherk had almost died from a staph infection that had developed from a scrape on AstroTurf.
The Kardiac Kids lived up to their name again that year with half of their games being decided by six points or less. Unfortunately for the Browns, they came up on the losing side more often than not in 1981. While they started the season four and four, they lost their last five games to finish a very disappointing 5 – 11.
Bright spots still abounded for the team as Mike Pruitt gained 1,000 yards for the third straight year and Ozzie Newsome caught a record 69 passes. Brian Sipe had his struggles, yet set a team record for passing yards in a game when he threw for 444 yards against the Colts. Jerry Sherk recorded three sacks in his last season.