Colt McCoy: How the Cleveland Browns QB May Be the Next Brian Sipe

Robert CobbCorrespondent INovember 14, 2010

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 07:  Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns throws to a receiver against the New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Tick, tock...

As the numbers on the clock dwindled (and as in the song from pop artist Ke$ha), the Cleveland Browns were only seconds away from another potential upset, in this case a tie.

Only this time there was no upset. New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes saw to that.

The other Jets wide receiver not named Braylon Edwards put a proverbial dagger in the hearts of the Browns as Holmes caught the winning 37-yard touchdown reception from Mark Sanchez in OT, handing the Browns a tough 26-20 defeat.  

And while the New York Jets were the better team Sunday as they improved to a AFC-best 7-2, the Cleveland Browns showed that they are a couple of pieces away from being a contender, but Cleveland can rest assured that they may have finally found and secured the most important piece of all.  

Since 1999, the Browns have failed miserably and in vain to find a bona-fide starting franchise quarterback, someone that the organization and fans can both see and feel is the natural-born leader of the team and will bring not only wins but a sense of continuity at the position.  

Colt McCoy, making his fourth start in place of Seneca Wallace, has not only proved that he can handle the rigors of the NFL but has shown that he has the mobility, accuracy, moxie and arm strength to lead the Cleveland Browns. And if I was Mike Holmgren or Eric Mangini, I would name McCoy the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Period.

McCoy has more than met the low expectations of a moribund franchise and desperate fanbase; he has galvanized and brought a sense of excitement back to the shores of Lake Erie that hasn't been seen since the days of Brian Sipe.  

Sipe, who was the Cleveland Browns starting QB from 1974 to 1983, was second in the NFL in touchdown passes in 1980 behind Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski, and he captivated fans with his gutsy play, heads-up awareness, uncanny accuracy and impressive arm strength. He went on to win the 1980 NFL Most Valuable Player award and a spot in the Pro Bowl.

Sipe is forever known as the orchestrator of last-second wins and losses during his time, and he helped the Browns earn the moniker of "The Kardiac Kids."  

And while McCoy is not Brian Sipe, could he the next coming of him? Because there are some striking similarities.

Both are 6'1"—Sipe was actually 6' on a good day—and both have very good mobility, as once again evidenced by McCoy today.

Both have good arm strength and accuracy, too. Sipe completed 56.5 percent of his passes, while McCoy in his brief four-game career has completed 64.6 percent, which I know is a unfair comparison due to the rules back in Sipe's time. Both also boast good QB ratings, as Sipe had a QB rating of 74.8 while McCoy has a QB rating of 85.2.

I'm sure that when Browns fans everywhere saw how McCoy drove Cleveland down the field and threw the game-tying three-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaqoui with 44 seconds left in regulation, it seemed very Sipe-like.

That had to be the most telling observation for the knack that Sipe was known best for—bringing the Browns back at the last minute.  

It is refreshing that for the first time since the days of Bernie Kosar, Browns fans don't feel anxious or nervous when someone is under center or have to almost expect a badly thrown ball or inevitable interception. 

With McCoy it is almost as if you know something good is going to happen and not just hope that it does, and that is the biggest difference between McCoy and the other 15 quarterbacks that preceded him.

McCoy is smart and makes good decisions with the football; he rolls out and extends plays. McCoy seems to have a keen sense of where the ball needs to go at all times.

Even though Cleveland may have lost on the field today, the Browns franchise may have won its most important victory since 1999.

Finding its franchise quarterback.