For a little fun this Thursday afternoon with the Steelers playing the Brownies for the first time tonight I suddenly got inspired to write a new post about this special, special rivalry. The Steelers and Browns rivalry is one of the oldest in the NFL, but unfortunately hasn’t been very relevant for a while since the original Browns picked up and moved to Baltimore. Now that has taken over as the hard hitting, trash talking rivalry that had been going on for years before between two stadiums less than 3 hours apart. Just another thing Cleveland lost. So how bad does it suck to be a Browns fan or just a general sports fan in Cleveland? Pretty friggin badly, I’m assuming.
The closest thing us yinzers can relate to when it comes to the losing ways of Cleveland is the Pirates. The Pirates have been on an epic 19-year losing streak that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. But, there are enough Steeler and Penguin victories and championships to fill the topic of conversations across all three rivers and all the areas where yinzers have moved to to make up for it. When it comes to Cleveland, the city hasn’t celebrated a championship of any professional sport since 1964. Yikes.
In the years of Jim Brown, the Browns owned the Steelers. This was before Chuck Knoll took over and the term “Same Old Steelers” didn’t exactly mean they were consistent at winning championships. There have been a few random years where the tables turned, but never amounted to rings for Cleveland. Even further, the other sports have come close to the promise land and have failed to deliver a championship for Cleveland as well. LeBron James anyone? (Sorry, can’t write anything about Cleveland sucking without mentioning him) In 2004 the Browns had the 6th pick in the NFL draft and decided to go with TE Kellen Winslow rather than Ohio native QB Ben Roethlisberger, who went to the Steelers at the 11th pick.
So the Steelers have owned the Browns for quite some time, except for one Thursday night game in Cleveland we’d all like to forget. And no self respecting yinzer is ever going to spend any kind of time feeling sorry for people in Cleveland. Maybe the kids because they can’t help where they are born, but all those adults that willingly live in the “Mistake by the Lake”, you brought this on yourself. Sometimes people, or cities, are just losers and there’s no way around it.
The Browns can only be respected for the fact that when their owner picked up and moved the team to Baltimore they patiently waited for the opportunity to start a new team, rather than steal a team from another city, kinda like what Baltimore did. For some reason they have an incredible fan base as well, these people show up to every losing season they can for all the teams involved. I guess it’s either that or spend time at the “lake” pretending it’s a real beach or something.
Steeler fans have been spoiled with years of winning, although I don’t believe we act spoiled because there are some of us that remember when things weren’t so prosperous for the men in Black & Gold. One of the phrases that most sticks out from my childhood is, “Aw come on Bubby! Who were you throwing that too?!” The old-timers know of the days before Knoll and the mediocrity that surrounded the Steelers back then. Yinzers don’t ever take for granted the 6 Super Bowl titles and the 3 Stanley Cup Championships because just look across the river and there’s the Pirates with the prettiest ball park in the league and the longest losing streak in North America. But hey, at least we’re not in Cleveland.
I’d like to dedicate this bonus post to my Dad for his birthday today. Happy Birthday Dad, I know the NFL schedule had you in mind when they put the Steelers and Browns together for your birthday.
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