How would one define the rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers? For many, the rivalry left with Art Modell and carried on in Baltimore, never to return. For many others, the rivalry has simply been on hold until the Browns can produce adequate competition and rekindle the fire. It is not a typical rivalry however, as it branches out far beyond players on a field. It is co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. With only 135 miles of separation between the teams, the dreaded Black & Gold is nearly as predominant throughout our neighborhoods as is our beloved Brown & Orange.
That being said, we owe a great deal to our neighbors across the river. When a town loses its team, they are expected to be unhappy, although outraged would be more accurate. When a town loses its team and another town makes an issue of it, it turns some heads. I still wonder if the Browns would have returned had it not been for the Pittsburgh fans fighting alongside us, even wearing orange armbands for their final game.
The Steelers remain the team we love to hate. Much like a brother, we have shared brutal battles and a love of competition that has spanned 122 games to date. Even their logo has ties to Cleveland, as Republic Steel, a Cleveland-based company, made the suggestion of the “Steelmark” logo for the team’s helmets back in the early 60’s. It was adapted by the Steelers and modified to include their team’s name. It has remained in use ever since. With the AFC’s oldest rivalry, the Browns and Steelers have battled over a period of 64 years, with the exception of the forced hiatus in the late nineties. It boasts an all time record of 65-57, with the Steelers holding the slight edge.
As we look toward Sunday’s game, we recognize a vastly improved Cleveland team as well as a Steelers team who has struggled with signs of aging. It is likely the most even matchup these teams have shared in many years. It is also the first time, in a very long time, that odds makers have the Browns favored to win. That’s right, the Cleveland Browns are favored to win! The Browns are 1-0 against the Steelers in the Jimmy Haslam era and seek to increase that mark on Sunday.
The Steelers fans may not be as eager to see our rivalry renewed, but for those of us who bleed Brown & Orange, it cannot come soon enough. It may take several Cleveland wins for the rest of the league to acknowledge the return of the rivalry, but the Dawgs are fired up and looking for blood. If the Browns can find an offensive rhythm and the defense continues to play as they have, there is little to prevent them from coming out on top.
Recipe for Success:
- Jason Campbell must stay patient and focus on the vertical game. Although it is nice to see a quarterback who can complete the dink and dunk passes, we must utilize the talents of Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon by getting the ball down the field. Get out there and chuck it, Jason!
- The Dawgs of Defense must continue their vicious attack. We must get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and keep him contained. Go get ya some Burger, boys!
Predictions from the Backwoods:
- Cleveland Wins 21-3.
- I expect big games for Barkevious Mingo and Tashaun Gipson.
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