Opinion: Looking closer at the rivalry



Michael Moses

Since before your grandfather was born, Cleveland Browns fans have been rooting against the Pittsburgh Steelers. For at least the next week, this should stop. Please, if you’re a Browns backer, don’t put this article down. Keep reading and allow me to explain.

I never fully comprehended why fans of rival teams root against each other when their own team is not in the playoffs. Take for instance this season. The Browns are not in the playoffs and once again are in the rebuilding stage, while the Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up to play the New York Jets in the AFC championship game. Rivalries thrive on hatred, yes. But sometimes, that hatred blinds logical reasoning.

For one weekend, I’m asking all of the Cleveland Browns’ fans to put your stubborn loyalties aside. If you cringe at the word “Pittsburgh” even when it is not used in the same context as football, pay attention. You all should be rooting for the Steelers, because it makes your team and division look that much better than the rest of the NFL.

The mighty AFC North boasts both the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, whom Pittsburgh beat last weekend. Sure, the Browns are not a top tier team, though I’d be willing to bet that if they played in, say, the NFC West (Seattle won this division with a 7-9 record), they would be a playoff contender. Let’s face it, the more the Steelers win (and Baltimore, for that matter), the less pity people will have for the Browns. Hell, that’s four games a season that Cleveland needs to play a top-caliber team!

Browns fans are sure to remember week 10 of this year, when the Jets came into town and walked away with an overtime victory. This game was all but in the bag for the Browns, yet they blew it in the end. On the flip side, Cleveland lost a combined 69-19 in two games this season versus the Steelers. Wouldn’t it be easier to root for a team like the Steelers to beat the Jets- who stole a victory from your team, in your house? Once again, it would make the AFC North look that much tougher.

As a Steelers fan, I can say that when the Browns are not playing my team, I root for them. I want them to do well so that the rivalry remains a rivalry. I want the Browns to climb to the top of our division so Cleveland-Pittsburgh means something again.

As a Cleveland fan, I would honestly do the same. I’d want Pittsburgh to win, so that when the Browns beat them, it would mean that much more. I’m sure that new Browns head coach, Pat Shurmur, is rooting for the Steelers so beating the defending AFC champions next season could be added to his first year resume.

Finally, we all know a certain #17 on the Jets. The guy did a back flip at the end of last weekend’s game in New England. Who does that? How classless of an act. I’d say to act like you’ve been there before, but of course, he hasn’t.

Would you really like to see Braylon get a Super Bowl ring?

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].