Cleveland Browns: Who is the team’s main rival?
The Bengals have been a thorn in the Browns side since Paul Brown founded them out of spite for Art Modell in 1967. Though they’ve never really been considered a big rival of the Browns, it seems that when you truly examine it they turn out to be more of a rival than previously thought.
Yes, the head-to-head record again is hard to factor here as the Bengals have posted a 22-12 record against the Browns since 1999. But the Browns and Bengals have played some memorable games through the years since the team returned. One that comes to mind is the 51-45 shootout in 2007 in which the Browns won.
Couple that with the hiring of former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as head coach of the Browns and there is another connection. We also see player movement between the two teams through the years as the likes of Eric Steinbach, Karlos Dansby, Andrew Hawkins and others have played for both sides of this rivalry.
The fan passion has always been there as these two teams share the same state and fight for the fan-base in neighboring Columbus, Ohio.
So who is the Browns biggest rival?
After examining it closely and considering all the factors evenly, all signs point to the inner-state Bengals and the strong ties between the two teams and cities since 1967. What it came down to was the events in most recent years that make them the Browns biggest rival as of today along with the record and player movement on both sides.
So next time you have the discussion among friends on who is the Browns biggest rival remember it’s not the Steelers or Ravens. It’s the hated Bengals of Cincinnati.