Hello Browns country; it’s Steelers season

Sarah Steimer

Sunday will be the first time this season your Brownies and my Stillers (see: Pittsburghese for Steelers) will play one another. The two Pittsburgh-Cleveland games every season are some of my favorite times of the year while living in Kent. In fact, at this point in my student career in Portage County, it’s the only two times of the year I’m happier living in Ohio than Pennsylvania. Winning at home’s fun; winning in another team’s territory is far better.

Now, from the time I started school at Kent State, the second a Cleveland native finds out I hail from the Steel City, he or she (normally he) has immediately driven insult upon insult on my little red head before he even takes a minute to find out if I’m even a Steelers fan to begin with. Of course I am, but what a pitiful assumption to make. For instance, just because I’m from Pittsburgh doesn’t mean I’m a Pirates fan. Ask nearly any Pittsburgher, and he or she will be more than OK accepting the fact that the Pirates are a poor excuse of a team and the only reason any of us go to the games is for PNC Park in all of its beauty, all of its good food and all of its drink.

Regardless, I can’t fathom why it’s my fault that your team is less than respectable at times. Please understand, however, that I’m not too proud that I can’t admit the Brahns (see: Pittsburghese for Browns) did quite well last year. Yet time and time again, I’m penalized for being from a town with a football team that is more often than not ranked higher than your own. For statistics’ sake, the Steelers currently lead the series between the teams, 57-55, and we’ve won the past nine times the two teams have met. I’m sorry if you didn’t want to hear that, as you all seem to despise the numbers.

Still, whenever I hear myself or one of my own simply utter, “How many Super Bowl rings do the Browns have?” enough Cleveland fans moan and groan that Jim Brown loses a supporting movie role and Drew Carey loses five pounds (dawg pounds that is).

I challenge you, Browns fans, come to Pittsburgh and let us know you’re from Cleveland. We don’t mind. We won’t demoralize you on the street or in the bars. We respect you because in the end, we all have the same love for the game. Same blue collar-rooted towns that have football teams with rich histories. And we respect that.

But of course it’s far easier to waive an insecurity and a rivalry when you have a handful of rings. Sorry, that argument again.

I suppose you’d like proof of our humanity. A story, then.

My friend’s dad (a Brownie supporter) was at the last Browns-Steelers game in 1995 before the Browns went on a three-year hiatus. At the game, a Steelers fan approached my friend’s father and explained to him that even he, as a Steelers fan, felt that the Baltimore relocation of the Browns was absurd. The Pittsburgh man asked to purchase the Browns hat my friend’s father wore, but instead they decided to do an even trade: the hat for a Terrible Towel.

After the game, our upset but proud Cleveland fans walk into a bar while still in Pittsburgh. They shout, “Pittsburgh sucks!” to which everyone in the bar turns, faces scowling, ready to reprimand. At seeing it’s a couple of Browns supporters making the jeers, they instead pull the men to the front of the bar and proceed to buy them a night’s worth of shots.

We ain’t so bad, now, are we? It’s a mutual love/hate relationship. Like that of a sibling rivalry, it almost helps mold a person into what they become. Browns fans, I beg you, help me help you. You don’t want to be a spiteful, unhappy fifth-grader your whole life, do you? Of course not – accept that you win some and you lose some, but you usually always lose to your tougher older brother (i.e. Mike Tomlin).

With that said, this Sunday, when the game is over and all seems lost, dear Cleveland fans, just remember that it’s like Myron Cope always said — it’ll be “Okle-dokle.”

Sarah Steimer is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].