Former Browns coach excited about Cleveland's playoff chances
GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Sam Rutigliano knows what Northeast Ohio can be like when the Cleveland Browns get rolling.
He saw it up close during the 1980 “Kardiac Kids” season as Cleveland’s head coach. With the Browns at 7-5 entering this Sunday’s game at the New York Jets, they’re competing for the playoffs and enjoying an unforeseen renaissance.
Rutigliano, who was 47-50 in six-plus seasons with the Browns, spoke Thursday at Ohio Prestwick Country Club as part of the Northeast Ohio Celebrity Luncheon Club.
“There’s a generation of fans who haven’t experienced what happened in 1980 and later in that decade,” said Rutigliano, now an analyst for SportsTime Ohio. “Right now, though, they’re 5-1 at home and realistically could finish 7-1 at home, and they could make the playoffs.
“I can see it, going to the stadium this season and coming out after a win, it’s very similar to how it was in 1980. It’s just unbelievable.”
To do that, though, Rutigliano said the Browns will have to avoid the pitfalls they brought on themselves during last week’s 27-21 loss in Arizona. Cleveland turned the ball over four times and committed several costly penalties.
“I hope this week (Head Coach) Romeo (Crennel) can get them back on track, because this is playoff time right now,” Rutigliano said. “(Quarterback) Derek Anderson has to get an eraser and wipe out last week.
“They’re fighting for the playoffs, and they’re good enough to get in. But last week they beat themselves, because they didn’t have the self-discipline you need to win.”