Ever since the team returned to Cleveland back in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have only ever been good at one thing.
That thing is losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers twice a year.
It almost seemed like a curse to most Browns fans. Whether it was Antonio Brown kicking our punter in the face, or James Harrison knocking defenseless receivers out cold, or even the infamous drop by Corey Coleman that solidified the Browns 0-16 season. A lot has happened over the years.
So much, that the rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers hasn’t felt like much of a rivalry. In fact, it’s felt more like a guaranteed two losses every season. To say the least, it hasn’t been a fun 20-plus years for most Browns fans.
Since Ben Roethlisberger joined the league in 2004, he has completely dominated the Browns each year. He currently holds a 23-2-1 record against Cleveland, including a perfect 15-0 mark at home. Basically, he has been virtually unbeatable.
However, the Browns currently sit at 4-1 on the year and have looked impressive thus far. Even with the Steelers sitting at 4-0, an opportunity is knocking at the door for the Cleveland Browns.
There’s a buzz in the city and confidence like no other; the team is finally looking to go in a positive direction. But what this team is also looking to do is revitalize what was arguably the NFL’s best rivalry.
Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up in the glory days. You know, when the rivalry was a battle each year. Where the winner would most likely win the division and head to the playoffs. I’ve never had that with this team and neither has many other fans.
However, in the year 2020, a year that has been arguably the worst in recorded history, the Browns finally have a chance to flip the narrative between the two teams and it all started last season.
During their meeting on Thursday Night Football last season, the Browns were riding a little streak and the Steelers were without Roethlisberger. The Browns ended up winning the game 21-7, but not without some drama to end it all.
Everyone knows what happened that night. Myles Garrett snapped at Mason Rudolph and took a swing at him with a helmet. The altercation resulted in a big fight on the field and some lengthy suspensions after. To put it lightly, it got ugly. Though I do not condone what Garrett did that night, I do know it fired up both fan bases.
The entire offseason has been nothing but fans for each team talking smack to one another. Whether it was a Browns fan saying “this is the year we beat you” or Steelers fans bringing up the 0-16 season, it’s never really stopped, and now, both teams have a winning record and both teams are among the best in the NFL five weeks into the season.
The Browns come into the game with one of the league’s top offenses, lead with the seemingly unstoppable rushing attack, and averaging over 31 points a game this season. They also have a guy named Myles Garrett on defense, who is currently second in the NFL with six sacks.
Then there’s the Steelers and their top-tier defense. They lead the league in sacks as a team and have a 50-percent pressure rate, which is also a league-leading statistic.
This game will not be easy for either team. However, this game will be great for the fans. It will be a true battle that NFL fans can admire and respect, which is not something Browns fans can ever say about their team’s play.
The time is now for the Cleveland Browns. The time is now to write a new chapter in the rivalry book so that new-age fans can see something fans my age have never seen before.
So, before Sunday’s matchup, take it all in Browns fans. Understand and enjoy this moment in time. This game is one of, if not, the biggest game in the franchise’s history up to this point.
Enjoy the moment and enjoy the ride Browns fans. This will be a game to remember.