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Cleveland Browns–Pittsburgh Steelers
History
1st Meeting October 7, 1950
Last Meeting October 18, 2009
Next Meeting December 10, 2009
Number of Meetings 115
All-Time Series PIT: 60-55

CLE, 33-23 @ Cleveland

PIT, 36-22 @ Pittsburgh
Regular Season Series PIT: 58-55

CLE, 33-23 @ Cleveland

PIT, 34-22 @ Pittsburgh
Largest victory CLE: 51–0 (9/10/1989)
Current Streak PIT: Won 12
Longest CLE Win Streak 8 (October 7, 1950- November 22, 1953)
Longest PIT Win Streak 12 (November 23, 2003-present)
Post Season Series PIT: 2-0
January 7, 1995 Steelers won 29–9
January 5, 2003 Steelers won 36–33
Championship Success
NFL Championships (10) NFL Conference Championships (18) NFL Divisional Championships (28)


The Browns-Steelers rivalry is one of the most storied rivalries in the NFL. With over 115 meetings and counting, it is the oldest rivalry and the most storied in the American Football Conference , surpassing any other rivalry in the conference by at least 5 contests. However, the rivalry has faded in recent years due to the uncompetitiveness since Browns' rebirth in 1999 (Steelers are 19-3 since then). Nonetheless, the two divisional foes still have a natural rivalry due to the commonalities between the cities, proximity, etc. It is sometimes called the Turnpike Rivalry because the majority of driving route between the two cities is connected via the Pennsylvania and Ohio Turnpikes.

Similarities between the cities

Among reasons for the rivalry are numerous similarities between the cities. They are both Rust Belt citiesknown for steel manufacturing: U.S. Steel, J&L Steel, and Bethlehem Steel in Greater Pittsburgh; and Republic Steel, LTV Steel, and Timken Steel in Greater Cleveland. Each city is ethnically diverse, with heavy concentrations of African Americans, Germans, Italians, Irish, Ukrainians, and Slovaks. The fan base of each is mainly working-class blue-collar workers.

The rivalry was primarily fueled by the close proximity between the two cities, as Clevelandmarker and Pittsburghmarker are roughly 135 miles apart. Many fans make the two hour drive by car to road games. Also, the city of Youngstown, Ohiomarker is roughly located at the halfway mark between the two cities and is within the 75-mile blackout radius for both teams. The Youngstown television market has dual rights to both teams. Both teams have such strong fan bases that neither typically has blackout issues since the current rules were implemented in 1973, although the final two games of the 1995 season were blacked out in Cleveland (the last two prior to the team's move to Baltimore). The Youngstown area fan base remains roughly split 50/50 between the Steelers and Browns.

In recent times, Pittsburgh-area businesses have entered the Cleveland market by buying out local Cleveland-area competitors such as Giant Eagle, Dollar Bankmarker, and most recently, PNC Financial Services acquisition of National City Corp., the latter of which had itself expanded into Pittsburgh in the 1990's. Among other reasons, some Clevelanders didn't like the idea of a Pittsburgh-based bank buying National City because of the rivalry between the Browns and Steelers. In addition, natural expansion has occurred with companies with Western Pennsylvania roots with Vocelli Pizza and Altoonamarker-based Sheetz making successful expansions into the Cleveland market.

Coaches and players

The teams have also had various prominent players and coaches with roots in the other team. For instance, former Steelers head coach Chuck Noll was born in Clevelandmarker and played linebacker for the Browns. His successor as head coach, Bill Cowher, also played linebacker and special teams for the Browns, and was an assistant coach for the Browns from 1985-1988. Former Browns head coach Marty Schottenheimer is a native of Pittsburgh area suburb Canonsburgmarker, along with his brother Kurt Schottenheimer, who was the Browns special teams coach from 1987-1988.

Steelers Hall of Famer Jack Lambert is an native Ohioanmarker and attended Kent State Universitymarker, as did Akron, Ohiomarker native James Harrison. Former Browns fullback Tim Manoa attended Penn Statemarker. Former punter Chris Gardocki played for three years for the Steelers, including the Super Bowl XL championship team, after playing five seasons with the Browns from 1999-2003. Current Steelers Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians held the same position with the Browns from 2001-2003.

History of the rivalry

The Browns and Steelers first met in 1950, the Browns' first NFL game after dominating the AAFC. Early on during this period, the Browns were one of the NFL's elite teams and dominated the rivalry. The Steelers did not win the first game against the Browns until 1954.

The rivalry would carry over to the newly-formed American Football Conference in 1970 as the two teams and the then-Baltimore Colts joined the former American Football League teams in the conference as part of the AFL-NFL merger. The newly-merged league needed to move three teams from the "old" NFL to the AFC so that the two conferences had 13 teams even. (The rest of the "old" NFL teams joined the newly-formed NFC.) The NFL tried to get the Steelers to the new conference, but then-Steelers owner Art Rooney initially refused. Then-Browns owner Art Modell immediately volunteered the Browns to shift to the AFC because of a potential intrastate rivalry with the Cincinnati Bengals (as well as his personal animosity with Paul Brown at the time), and was able to convince Art Rooney to join him in the AFC in order to continue their own rivalry.

However, in the 1970s the Steelers had begun to even the playing field with the Browns, led by head coach Chuck Noll, a Cleveland native and former Browns linebacker. By then, the rivalry between the two clubs was more hostile and personal, as evident in the 1976 matchup at Cleveland Municipal Stadiummarker, when Joe "Turkey" Jones viciously sacked Terry Bradshaw after the whistle had been blown. Bradshaw would suffer a neck injury from the play, and the footage of the sack has since become immortalized in NFL Films as part of the rivalry. During this decade, the Steelers would win four Super Bowls.

While the two would exchange victories in the 1970s and 1980s, by the 1990s the Steelers would become the dominant team in the rivalry. Since the Browns' last series sweep in 1988, the Steelers have an overwhelming 29-8 mark against the Browns, enough that in 2007 the Steelers took over the lead in the all-time series (which they currently lead at 60-55) for the first time, and have won the last twelve in a row dating back to the 2003 season, the longest such streak in the rivalry to date. During most of this time, Bill Cowher was head coach of the Steelers. Cowher, a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Craftonmarker, also played linebacker for the Browns (though unlike Noll, Cowher mostly played special teams), and also served as an assistant in Cleveland under Marty Schottenheimer, himself a native of another Pittsburgh area suburb, Canonsburgmarker.

The Steelers also have a 2-0 record against the Browns in the playoffs, with both games taking place in Pittsburgh.

The rivalry took a brief hiatus from 1996-1998 due to the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy. Partially due to the rivalry and partially out of respect, Pittsburgh was one of the few cities alongside Cleveland to protest the move. While Browns fans still consider the Steelers as their main archrival, a small number of Steeler fans consider their rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens the "spiritual" successor to this rivalry due to Art Modell moving the his franchise to Baltimoremarker and establish the expansion Ravens, even though the recent one-sidedness of this rivalry in favor of the Steelers has influenced this thinking as well. Nevertheless, it is still heated between both teams and one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL.

1950s (Browns 16-4)

 
30-17 45-7 17-10 28-0 21-20 29-28 34-16 20-16 55-27 42-7 41-14 30-7 14-10 24-16 23-12 24-0 45-12 27-10 17-7 21-20
Year Date Result Location
1950 October 7 Browns

Forbes Fieldmarker
October 29 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadiummarker
1951 October 21 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 9 Browns 

Forbes Field
1952 October 4 Browns 

Forbes Field Browns' Otto Graham rallies from 13 point deficit, Pittsburgh loses game on missed PAT.
November 16 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1953 November 8 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 22 Browns 

Forbes Field
1954 October 17 Steelers 

Forbes Field Steelers' first win of the series.
December 12 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1955 November 20 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 4 Browns 

Forbes Field
1956 October 6 Browns 

Forbes Field
November 28 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Steelers' first win in Clevelandmarker.
1957 October 5 Browns 

Forbes Field
November 10 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1958 October 5 Browns 

Pitt Stadiummarker
October 19 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1959 September 26 Steelers 

Forbes Field
November 22 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium With less than 2 minutes remaining Bobby Layne takes the Steelers 72 yards (this after his running back tells him he is too hurt to catch or rush, he can only block) for the winning TD. Lou Groza misses an FG as the clock runs out.


1960s (Browns 15-5)

 
28-20  14-10 30-28 17-13 41-14 35-14 35-23 9-7 23-7 30-17 24-19 42-21 41-10 16-6 21-10 34-14 31-24 45-24 42-31 24-3
Year Date Result Location Notes
1960 October 2 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 20 Steelers 

Forbes Field
1961 October 22 Browns 

Forbes Field Pittsburgh's Buddy Dial sets a franchise record 235 receiving yards, along with an 88-yard reception for touchdown, game turns on a Lou Groza field goal after a John Henry Johnson fumble in the final two minutes.
November 5 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1962 October 28 Browns 

Pitt Stadium
November 25 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1963 October 5 Browns 

Pitt Stadium
November 10 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1964 October 10 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Another "Saturday Night Classic" Steeler John Henry Johnson at 35, beats Jim Brown in his prime, outgaining him 200 to 59 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns in Pittsburgh's romp.
November 1 Browns 

Pitt Stadium
1965 October 9 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 28 Browns 

Pitt Stadium
1966 October 8 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 6 Steelers 

Pitt Stadium
1967 October 7 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 5 Browns 

Pitt Stadium
1968 October 5 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 17 Browns 

Pitt Stadium
1969 October 18 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 16 Browns 

Pitt Stadium


1970s (Steelers 15-5)

 
15-7 fans will remember more action in the stands than on the fields during most
of those contests.
 
 
28-9 27-17 26-9 26-24 30-0 33-6 21-16 20-16 26-16 42-6 31-17 31-14 18-16 28-14 35-31 15-9 (OT) 34-14 51-35 33-30 (OT)
Year Date Result Location Notes
1970 October 3 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Last of the memorable "Saturday Night Games" between the two clubs,

November 29 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadiummarker
1971 October 10 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 7 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1972 November 19 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 3 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1973 September 23 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
November 25 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1974 October 20 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
November 17 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Steelers' first sweep of Browns since 1959.
1975 October 5 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Steelers defensive tackle "Mean Joe" Greene repeatedly kicked Browns lineman Bob McKay in the groin during this game while McKay was on the ground.
December 7 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1976 September 19 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
October 10 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Third string QB Dave Mays leads the Browns to victory after both teams' starters were injured. Terry Bradshaw's neck was injured on a tackle by Joe "Turkey" Jones.
1977 October 2 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 13 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1978 September 24 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Overtime toss won by Pittsburgh only to be fumbled on kick return. Browns with the ball in FG range were interrupted by ref calling fumble play dead with claim that whistle blew before the fumble. Bradshaw leads Pittsburgh down the field and calls a Blier-Swann-Bradshaw double reverse for the winning TD.
October 15 Steelers

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1979 October 7 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Steelers up 27-0 at one point before Cleveland's Brian Sipe threw five TDs to eventually cut the deficit to nine points, despite being the apex of the Steel Curtain. The Steelers then sealed the victory with a long clock-eating drive ending with Sidney Thornton's TD in the final minute. Steelers maintain division lead of a single game with the win. Highest scoring game in the series to date.
November 25 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Matt Bahr kicks a last minute FG to tie it, then with :09 left in OT kicks a 37 yarder to win it. Game lasted over 4 hours. Franco Harris with 232 total yards and L.C. Greenwood with five of the seven sacks on Brian Sipe stand out. Steelers came back from being down by 14 points twice, never leading until the very end.


1980s (Browns 12-8)

 
27-26 16-13 13-7 32-10 10-9 37-21 44-17 30-17 20-10 23-20 17-7 10-9 27-24 37-31 (OT) 34-10 19-13 23-9 27-7 51-0 17-7
Year Date Result Location Notes
1980 October 26 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Brian Sipe rallies the Kardiac Kids from a 26-14 4th quarter deficit over an injury riddled Steelers team.
November 16 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Terry Bradshaw's TD pass to Lynn Swann with eleven seconds left keeps the Browns winless at Three Rivers Stadium.
1981 October 11 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
November 22 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1982 December 19 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
January 2, '83 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1983 October 16 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
December 18 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
1984 September 23 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 9 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1985 September 16 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
November 3 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Gary Anderson's kick wins it in final seconds, after the Steelers hold Kosar to just 96 total yards during a driving rain storm. The AFC Central is all tied up with every team at 4-5 after this game.
1986 October 5 Browns 

Three Rivers Stadium Browns' first win ever at Three Rivers Stadiummarker.
November 23 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Gary Anderson kicks a 40 yard FG with 7 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it at 31. Bernie Kosar sets Steeler franchise records for most passing yrds. given (414) and the Browns set other Steeler records in total yrds and 1st downs allowed (536 and 35). Steelers eliminated from Playoffs with the loss, earlier than in any season since '69. It does take Kosar 2 possessions in OT to win though. Browns' first sweep of Steelers since 1969.
1987 September 20 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 26 Browns 

Three Rivers Stadium The Browns clinch the AFC Central Division title by holding the Steelers to one offensive play in the 4th quarter.
1988 October 2 Browns 

Three Rivers Stadium
November 20 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Browns' last sweep of Steelers to date.
1989 September 10 Browns 

Three Rivers Stadium Biggest margin of victory within the rivalry to date. Also the worst loss for the Steelers in franchise history.
October 15 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium


1990s (Steelers 10-5)

 
13-3 35-0 17-14 17-10 17-9 23-13 28-23 16-9 17-10 17-7 29-9]] 20-3 20-17 43-0 Sunday Night Football. 16-15
Year Date Result Location Notes
1990 September 9 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 23 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1991 October 27 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Bernie Kosar has his own Immaculate Reception after a 90 degree deflected pass ends up on top of a knocked down Brown in the Steelers endzone, giving Cleveland the lead. Gary Anderson's last minute FG hits the goal post.
December 22 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Steelers head coach Chuck Noll's final game. He retired four days later after 23 seasons.
1992 October 11 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 27 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium
1993 October 24 Browns 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium The Metcalf Game. Eric Metcalf returns two punts for TDs, including one in the final three minutes for the winning score.
1994 January 2 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium 1993 season extended into January 1994 due to use of an extra bye week.
September 11 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
December 18 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Steelers dominate Browns from start to finish in clinching the AFC Central Division title.
1995 January 7 [[NFL playoffs, 1994-95#AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers 29.2C Cleveland Browns 9|Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Divisional Playoff game following the 1994 season.
November 13 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Steelers fans wore orange arm bands in tribute to the Browns. Art Modell had announced plans to move the team to Baltimore. (The team officially suspended operations until being returned in 1999. Officially, the Baltimore Ravens are a 1996 expansion team.)
November 26 Steelers 

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Final meeting at Cleveland Stadium. Cleveland officially suspended operations 1996-1998.
1999 September 12 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadiummarker First game in history of Cleveland Browns Stadium and Browns' first game back after a three year hiatus.
November 14 Browns 

Three Rivers Stadium Browns gain revenge for season opening humiliation on Phil Dawson's FG as time expires. Their first win in Pittsburgh since 1989.


2000s (Steelers 18-2)

 
23-20 22-0 15-12 (OT) 28-7 16-13 (OT) 23-20 36-33]] 33-13 13-6 34-23 24-10 34-21 41-0 24-20 27-7 34-7
Year Date Result Location Notes
2000 September 17 Browns 

Cleveland Browns Stadium
October 22 Steelers 

Three Rivers Stadium Final meeting at Three Rivers Stadium.
2001 November 11 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium
2002 January 6 Steelers 

Heinz Fieldmarker Game was intended to be first game at new stadium, played September 16, 2001. Because of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, all Week 2 games were moved to the first Sunday or Monday of January 2002.
September 29 Steelers 

Heinz Field
November 3 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium
December 29 [[NFL playoffs, 2002-03#AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers 36.2C Cleveland Browns 33|Steelers 

Heinz Field Wild Card Playoff game. Steelers rally from 24-7 third quarter deficit.
2003 October 5 Browns 

Heinz Field
November 23 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium
2004 October 10 Steelers 

Heinz Field
November 14 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium Browns running back William Green and Steelers linebacker Joey Porter were both ejected prior to kickoff due to a pregame fight. Akronmarker native James Harrison would get his first NFL start in place of Porter.
2005 November 13 Steelers 

Heinz Field
December 24 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium Steelers linebacker James Harrison would bodyslam a drunken Browns fan after the fan ran onto the field. The incident, which later became a YouTube sensation, would become the highlight of Harrison's career before his breakout 2007 season.
2006 November 19 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium Ben Roethlisberger throws a 4-yard shovel pass to Willie Parker in the final minute to lead the Steelers to a comeback win.
December 7 Steelers 

Heinz Field Willie Parker sets the all-time Steelers single-game rushing record with a 223 yard performance.
2007 September 9 Steelers 

Cleveland Browns Stadium The Browns would trade starting quarterback Charlie Frye to the Seattle Seahawks two days after his horrible performance in this game, making him the first QB in NFL history to start a season opener then be traded before Week 2. Mike Tomlin's debut as Steelers head coach.
November 11 Steelers 
31-28
Heinz Field Steelers come back from being down 21-6. Browns' Phil Dawson misses a 52 yard field goal attempt to tie with 6 seconds left.
2008 September 14 Steelers 
10-6
Cleveland Browns Stadium The Steelers defeated the Browns as remnants of Hurricane Ike hit Cleveland with rain and winds of . The game's only touchdown was a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Hines Ward.
December 28 Steelers 
31-0
Heinz Field
2009 October 18 Steelers 
27-14
Heinz Field


Trivia

  • The Three Rivers Jinx. When the Steelers moved to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970, they defeated the Browns 16 straight times before the Browns finally broke through with a win in 1986. The Browns eventually went on to post a miserable all-time mark (5-24, .172) at the stadium from 1970-2000. At Heinz Field (opened 2001), the Steelers lead 7-1. Since the 1970 merger, the Browns are 6-31 at Pittsburgh. Before that, they had won 16 of their first 20 visits (1950-1969).




  • The greatest defeat in Steelers history occurred on the season opener (September 10) of the 1989 NFL Season in Pittsburgh when the Browns won 51-0. Nearly ten years to the day (September 12), when the Browns returned to the league in the 1999 NFL Season, the Steelers defeated them in their first game back 43-0, still the revived Browns' worst loss as well as the Steelers' most lopsided defeat ever of the Browns.


  • When the league was voting on the Browns relocation, Steelers owner Dan Rooney was one of only two owners to vote against the move. In tribute of Cleveland losing the Browns, Steeler fans wore orange arm bands to the final game at Three Rivers Stadiummarker as a sign of mutual respect and sorrow for losing a great rivalry.


  • The game is the most played rivalry in the AFC and fifth most played in the NFL. Among the top 5 NFL rivalries however the win-loss difference of 5 games (3 regular season games) arguably makes it the most contested in the league.


References

  1. Chris Assenheimer Analysis: Browns-Steelers no longer a rivalry The Chronicle-Telegram (Accessed 10/24/2009)
  2. AP Browns Must Get Offense to Renew Steelers RivalryThe New York Times (Accessed 10/24/2009)
  3. kdka.com - Steelers To Take On Browns For First Place In The AFC North
  4. Jeff Schudel BROWNS NOTES: No blackout, thanks to WKYC The Morning Journal, August 19, 2009
  5. http://www.cleveland.com/tipoff/index.ssf/2008/10/fighting_words_if_youre_steele.html
  6. http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2008/09/14/sports/doc48cc8d241031f428316969.txt



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