There I was immersed in a “Pittsburgh Sucks” chant, oh the good old days, I wasn’t in the Dawg Pound or even in Cleveland. But in Columbus at Nationwide Arena surrounded by the masses as we filed out of a playoff overtime win , after being down early 3-0 to the Penguins . It made me yearn for a rivalry past.
Week one the Browns and Steelers will open the NFL football season in Pittsburgh. When I was growing up in Youngstown, which is equidistant to both cities and once made it the front lines of a war between two worthy rivals. This game would have created a rift in the city comparable to the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, sadly not anymore!
Oh sure we still hate the Steelers, but they have stopped hating us. Since Art ripped the team from Cleveland, then its return from 1999 to present day. I have heard things like “I pity you, I feel bad for you or you guys stink” sometimes followed by laughter coupled with questionable sincerity.
Well Pittsburgh, Party’s Over! We don’t need your pity,never have! F@!& You! We could feel you smirking inside as you showered us with condolences.
So, we’re here to let you know that the Browns are back baby! We were spared two more years of setbacks by relieving Banner and Lombardi of their duties. It feels like there’s stability, direction, and excitement not felt since the days of Kosar or when a King was going to be Cleveland’s savior. In the words of new Coach Mike Pettine and General Mangaer Ray Farmer “We need to redefine the culture. We need to redefine what it means to be a Cleveland Brown” “The Cleveland Browns will be the toughest team on the field every Sunday“
I don’t know what will happen on September 7th but I do know this, there is an opportunity. An opportunity to make it a rivalry again. To borrow a line from Bull Durham “to announce our presence with authority!” To make the fans of that Third World City have to look over at their girlfriends or boyfriends, get past their mustaches, look them in the eyes and say “I Hate the Browns”