It was the best of times and the worst of times, a true tale of two cities, the haves and the have nots.
The rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers was once fierce and well-matched. It was a slugfest with Jack Lambert and Turkey Jones, when plays didn't stop just because they blew the whistle. Most of all, the fans, the unruly horde of yinzers and boneheads fighting in the stands like the good old days, was a sight to behold.
These days, fans in Ohio prepare for the Steelers coming to town like Floridians prepare for hurricane season: Running and hiding. Can you blame them?
In the past 10 years since returning to the league, the Browns have posted a measly two winning seasons and appeared in only one playoff game; take a wild guess who beat them. The cast of Lost had more resources available at their disposal to rebuild the airplane to fly home than the Browns franchise has to field a competitive team.
By The Numbers:
- The Steelers have posted a dominating 18-3 record against the Browns since their return to the league in 1999.
- Pittsburgh has won 11 straight, and in that time they've won two World Championships with a QB the Browns have yet to beat.
- 6 Super Bowls! Just the thought of another shinny Lombardi being placed in the Steelers trophy case is enough to make any Dawg yelp and give Steeler fans everywhere a nice serving of pride with a side of Schadenfreude!
I'm a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. After my team won Super Bowl XLIII, I couldn't help but wonder what the mood back at Kent State, where I attend school, must have been like that night.
Meanwhile, I was back in Pittsburgh cheering on top of a city bus drinking a fresh beer and twirling my Terrible Towel. Noticing the difference yet? As a fan attending school in northeast Ohio, I have noticed how each year the fight in Browns fans dies down even more.
To be blunt, this generation of Browns fans just doesn't know what winning football looks like. They remember Bernie Kosar like I remember the last time the Pirates won their division. I, on the other hand, have been fortunate enough to see my team play in the big game three times.
Browns fans constantly ask me all the time what it's like to win a Super Bowl, and my response? "I don't know. I never played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, haha!"
What advice I can offer to Browns fans is to never give up the faith. I don't expect my Steelers to lose to your team in the foreseeable decade, but even I know all good things must come to an end.
When that days comes, I will be embarrassed but be able to smile. I've still done something no Browns fans my age has...buy a hot dog and beer at my stadium in January.