The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers have engaged in a rivalry (if that's the word) that is difficult to label. NFL programming doesn't often recall the many classic affairs in the oft-one-sided series, and few football fans would mention the two teams in the same breath in a countdown of the NFL's best rivalries.
Yet, many heart-stopping finishes and thrilling comebacks have occurred between the Steelers and Bengals in recent seasons.
Likewise, either fan base would quickly point out that there is a passionate anger infused into the two franchises when they match on the gridiron at least twice annually.
For Bengals fans, envy could be the key motivator. Despite their teams' best shots to enter the fray of successful NFL squads, the chronically successful Steelers have been that much better. Pittsburgh pride has seen two recent Lombardi Trophies, while the Bengals have seen only two winning seasons since 1991. Like their own stripes, Bengals seasons have seen the warm, orange glow of success coupled far too often with the blackness of abysmal play.
Conversely, Steelers fans surely cringe with every "who dey?!" that irritatingly chimes from the stands, like attempts to throw salt in wounds even when they don't exist. Those grimaces then turn into hatred when even the bumbling "Bungles" (miss you, Myron!) handed the Men of Steel shocking defeats. Many of those losses have come in dramatic fashion.
Their success rate and accomplishments have been a study of starker contrasts than their uniforms—one jet black with gold stripes and the other resembling the fur coat of a tiger. Despite radically different expectations in recent seasons, the two teams have engaged in a number of classic battles since the 1980s, the last era in which Cincinnati had the better of play.
Since then, the Bengals have been more than willing to dish out lessons in humility, while the Steelers have been eager to impose their winning ways.
This is a countdown of the 10 best games between the squads in the last two decades.