As soon as upon a time, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns rivalry was among the many fiercest rivalries within the NFL. The Browns’ decline, together with the start and emergence of the Ravens on the flip of the century, largely contributed to this rivalry shedding a major a part of its luster. The rivalry does seem like on the rise, nevertheless, because the Browns will take their 4-1 report with them to Heinz Area on Sunday to face the 4-0 Steelers. Not solely are each groups legitimately good for the primary time shortly, however there’s additionally the narrative surrounding final 12 months’s battle between the 2 groups. Kareem Hunt, the Browns’ gifted working again, has devoted the sport to teammate Myles Garrett, who was suspended final season after his altercation with Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Earlier than Sunday’s sport will get underway, we determined to take a numerical have a look at a few of the historic moments which have helped outline the Steelers-Browns rivalry, a rivalry that seems to be alive and effectively because it enters its eighth decade of existence.
Each of the Steelers’ Corridor of Fame coaches have shut ties to the Browns. Chuck Noll, a Cleveland native, was drafted by Paul Brown following a profitable school profession on the College of Dayton. In 1954, his second season in Cleveland, Noll began seven video games at proper guard whereas serving to the Browns their second NFL title. The next season, Noll began at linebacker, the place he recorded 5 interceptions (with one pick-six) whereas serving to Cleveland win back-to-back titles. Noll, following a seven-year taking part in profession, instantly started his teaching profession as an assistant with the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960.
Invoice Cowher, after serving to North Carolina state win back-to-back bowl video games, cracked the Browns’ roster as an undrafted rookie in 1980. That season, Cowher began two video games at linebacker whereas seeing important time on particular groups for the Browns, who received the AFC Central that season after splitting their season sequence with the Steelers for the primary time since 1976. Cowher spent one other season in Cleveland earlier than ending his profession with the Eagles. After a four-year taking part in profession, Cowher returned to Cleveland as its new particular groups coach in 1985. He additionally served because the Browns’ secondary coach earlier than following Marty Schottenheimer to Kansas Metropolis in 1989. Cowher was the Chiefs‘ defensive coordinator for 3 years earlier than being named as Noll’s successor in 1992.
The Steelers-Browns rivalry has had three notable skirmishes. The primary occurred in 1976 when Joe “Turkey” Jones spiked Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw on his head throughout Cleveland’s Week 5 win over the defending two-time champions. Whereas the hit sidelined Bradshaw for six weeks, Pittsburgh received 9 straight video games after a 1-4 begin. The Steelers’ inconceivable run finally ended one sport shy of the Tremendous Bowl, as Pittsburgh fell to the eventual champion Raiders, 24-7.
The subsequent incident happened in Week 10 of the 2004 season when Browns working again William Inexperienced and Steelers linebacker Joey Porter have been ejected after the 2 exchanged punches throughout pregame warmups. Tensions have been excessive heading into the sport after Browns defensive sort out Gerald Warren threatened to go after Roethlisberger’s head. Regardless of not having Porter, Pittsburgh, who went 15-1 throughout the ’04 common season, received the sport, 24-10.
Whereas nothing might rival Jones’ hit on Bradshaw, Garrett’s determination to hit Rudolph together with his personal helmet in Week 10 of the 2019 season comes shut. Garrett, who was suspended for the remainder of the common season for his actions, will face the Steelers for the primary time on Sunday since final 12 months’s altercation with Rudolph.
On September 10, 1989, the Browns handed the Steelers their most lopsided defeat in franchise historical past. Cleveland’s protection, led by linebacker Clay Matthews and Carl Hairston and defensive backs Mark Harper and David Grayson, allowed simply 5 first downs whereas returning two fumbles and an interception for a landing. Cleveland’s offense, led by quarterback Bernie Kosar, out-gained Pittsburgh’s offense, 357-53.
Remarkably, Pittsburgh, who adopted up that efficiency with a 41-10 loss to the Bengals the next week, truly beat the Browns when the 2 groups met once more in Week 6, as Pittsburgh picked off Kosar 4 instances in a 17-7 win. The ’89 Steelers, after a horrendous begin, upset the Oilers within the wild card spherical earlier than practically pulling off one other upset in Denver. The Browns, for a 3rd time in 4 years, would fall to the Broncos one sport shy of the Tremendous Bowl.
Pittsburgh was the primary group Cleveland confronted when the franchise returned to the NFL after a three-year absence. On September 12, 1999, the Browns hosted a Steelers group that was coming off a 7-9 season, the primary shedding season Pittsburgh had endured below Cowher to that time. And whereas the ’99 Steelers would end with a disappointing 6-10 report, they’d no points defeating an enlargement Browns group in entrance of a nationally televised viewers.
The Steelers’ offense, led by quarterback Kordell Stewart and working again Jerome Bettis, piled up 33 first downs and 464 whole yards whereas controlling the clock for practically 48 minutes. Conversely, the Browns’ offense, led by quarterback Ty Detmer, picked up simply two first downs and 40 yards of whole offense. Probably the most memorable second from this sport — from a historic standpoint — happened when Hines Ward scored his first profession landing with six minutes remaining.
Just like what transpired in ’89, the Browns rebounded from their opening sport debacle, surprising the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Trailing by two factors with below two minutes left, a crucial roughing the passer penalty on linebacker (and present Titans coach) Mike Vrabel helped arrange the Browns’ game-winning area aim as time expired.
With beginning quarterback Tim Sofa out with an harm, Kelly Holcomb, who at the moment had a 1-2 profession report as a starter, was the Browns’ beginning quarterback heading into the franchise’s first playoff sport since re-entering the NFL in 1999. Taking part in on a muddy Heinz Area floor, Holcomb threw for 429 yards, which was on the time the third-highest passing whole in postseason historical past. His third landing move of the day — a 15-yard landing move to Dennis Northcutt — gave the Browns a 24-7 lead three minutes into the third quarter.
Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox, a former draft bust who was given one other likelihood with the Steelers after being named MVP throughout the XFL’s inaugural season, threw three second-half landing passes that included a five-yard strike to Ward with simply over three minutes left. After the Browns punted on their ensuing possession, two Maddox completions to receiver Plaxico Burress arrange working again Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala’s game-winning landing run, as Pittsburgh prevailed, 36-33.
The Browns, who finally gave up on the Sofa-Holcomb experiment after the 2003 season, haven’t certified for the postseason since that sport. Conversely, the Steelers have received two Tremendous Bowls and have made the postseason 10 instances since their comeback win over Cleveland.
A local of Finley, Ohio, Ben Roethlisberger has used the Browns passing on him within the first spherical of the draft as motivation each time he has confronted them. Evidently, Roethlisberger has owned the Browns over time, has he has a report of 23-2-1 in opposition to Cleveland. That report doesn’t embrace his 379-yard, three-touchdown efficiency in Pittsburgh’s 30-9 win over the Browns in Week 10 of the 2015 season, when Large Ben, recovering from his personal harm, changed an injured Landry Jones after the sport’s opening drive.
Roethlisberger’s 11 profession wins at FirstEnergy Stadium was essentially the most by a quarterback till Baker Mayfield matched that mark this previous Sunday.
This quantity represents Invoice Belichick’s report in opposition to the Steelers because the Browns’ head coach. Earlier than profitable six Tremendous Bowls because the Patriots‘ head coach, Belichick served because the Browns’ coach from 1991-94. Belichick received his first sport in opposition to the Steelers, a 17-14 win halfway by the ’91 season. However after a 4-4 begin, Cleveland stumbled to a 2-6 end that included a Week 17 loss to the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s 17-10 win over Cleveland was Noll’s last sport on the sideline.
Belichick’s Browns would cut up their first 4 matchups in opposition to Cowher’s Steelers earlier than Pittsburgh received each common season matchups in 1994. The ’94 Steelers bought a 3rd victory over the Browns within the playoffs, as a dominant efficiency by Pittsburgh’s protection spearheaded its 29-9 win. The Browns, who have been swept by the Steelers the next season, relieved Belichick of his duties because the group started planning to maneuver to Baltimore earlier than the beginning of the 1996 season. Belichick’s 4 seasons in Cleveland produced a 34-44 common season report, a 1-1 playoff report and a 3-8 report in opposition to the Steelers.
That was the Browns’ report in opposition to the Steelers throughout their first 40 matchups in opposition to each other. Cleveland, who received its first 9 video games in opposition to Pittsburgh, went 5-1 in opposition to the Steelers throughout their three championship seasons throughout the Fifties. The Steelers began to show the tide in 1959, a 12 months after they acquired Corridor of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne from the Lions. Pittsburgh, led by Layne, Corridor of Fame working again John Henry Johnson and Corridor of Fame defensive finish Ernie Stautner, cut up the subsequent 16 video games in opposition to the Browns, led by Corridor of Fame working again Jim Brown and Corridor of Fame receiver Paul Warfield. The Steelers truly defeated the Browns throughout their championship season of 1964. Cleveland did finish the ’60s on a excessive be aware, profitable their last six video games over the Steelers heading into the ’70s.
That is the Steelers’ report in opposition to the Browns since Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999. Consider it or not, the Steelers have been the one NFL group to separate their first 4 video games in opposition to the Browns upon their return to the NFL. Pittsburgh’s struggles in opposition to Cleveland clearly did not final, because the Steelers have misplaced simply 5 video games in opposition to the Browns since 2001. The Steelers’ longest run of success in opposition to the Browns throughout this span happened from 2004-08, when Pittsburgh received 10 consecutive video games within the sequence. Maybe essentially the most notable sport throughout this span was the Steelers’ 41-0 win over the Browns in Week 16 of the 2005 season, a win the eventual Tremendous Bowl champion Steelers wanted to maintain their playoff hopes alive. This was additionally the sport that noticed James Harrison physique slam a fan that wandered onto the sector throughout the sport’s closing moments.
That is the Steelers’ dwelling report in opposition to the Browns since 1970, the identical 12 months the Steelers moved into Three Rivers Stadium. The Steelers received their first 16 video games in opposition to the Browns at Three Rivers earlier than Cleveland lastly beat them in 1986. Pittsburgh is presently sitting on a 16-year dwelling profitable streak over Cleveland, who final defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 5 of the 2003 season, the 12 months earlier than the Steelers drafted Roethlisberger.
The Browns got here near getting their first win in Pittsburgh in 1978, forcing additional time earlier than the Steelers received the sport on a gadget play.
Cleveland will look to get its seventh win in Pittsburgh over the past half century on Sunday, when the 2 groups add a brand new chapter to their 70-year rivalry.