The greatest football rivalry in the NFL over the past 50 years has been the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. Here are ten of the Steelers we can’t stand.
The Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a storied rivalry over the years. It’s been tough, bruising, and even bloody.
Pittsburgh was bad for the first 50 years of their existence but rose to prominence in the 1970s, when for the first time they could challenge the Browns as equals. The most memorable game your humble correspondent ever saw live was still the Browns coming back against the Steelers, 26-24 in 1972, with Don Cockcroft kicking the game-winner late.
There were fistfights in the bleachers (which would later be known as the Dawg Pound), and all kinds of crazy stuff between us and the equally nutty Pittsburgh fans who came to cheer their heroes. Later that season, they would beat the Browns in Pittsburgh, and both teams made the playoffs for the first time ever.
Yeah, we pretty much hate each other.
However, what we’re talking about is a sports rivalry, not literally a blood feud, like the 30 Year’s War in Europe, or something like that. There’s an underlying respect between the two cities, which were both built by heavy industry, steelmaking, blast furnaces, and coke. We speak each other’s language.
It should be pointed out that when Art Modell moved the old Browns to Baltimore, only two owners had the guts to vote against him. One of the NFL owners who voted against him was Dan Rooney of the Steelers. Ralph Wilson of Buffalo was the other one who voted no. The rest of the owners sold us out.
So yeah, the Rooney family is deserving of some respect from the Dawg Pound. They tried to talk Modell out of taking the team to Baltimore. They’re sports rivals, not true-life enemies.
When the game is over, the players stop trying to knock each other out and become human again. The fans too are supposed to come back to normal for a while. Sometimes a Cleveland fan has even been married to a Pittsburgh fan, and the marriage has survived.
That said, here’s a list of the Steeler athletes who were the greatest thorns in the side of our Cleveland Browns, starting with the country boy from Louisiana. He’s really the guy who fueled the rivalry, though he wasn’t the nastiest personality by a longshot.