By 1985, the Kardiac Kids were a memory for Browns fans. A new hero was needed. And as it turns out, he was only about 75 miles away.
Bernie Kosar was hailed for his talent and on-field IQ while at Boardman High School, but his unorthodox sidearm throwing motion scared off most nearby colleges. He ended up going to the University of Miami and was hot enough that multiple teams were looking at him as a first-round pick. But he had other ideas.
Kosar wanted to play for the Browns. His family wanted him to play for the Browns. And general manager Ernie Accorsi wanted him to play for the Browns. (Owner Art Modell preferred Doug Flutie, who’d beaten Kosar on a memorable Hail Mary touchdown pass.)
So they engaged in a little sleight-of-hand. Kosar filed his paperwork at the end of April — not for the regular draft, but for the little-known supplemental draft. By then, he would have graduated college (a condition at the time to be draft eligible). And the team with the first pick in the supplemental draft that year? None other than the Browns, who’d traded for the pick.
The rest, as they say, is history. Kosar became one of the most popular players in Browns history. He could never take the Browns to the Promised Land, but he earned a ring as a backup for the Dallas Cowboys after Bill Belichick unceremoniously cut him. And even today, as the kids who wore No. 19 jerseys back then are getting fitted for bifocals, he remains one of the most beloved figures in Cleveland sports.