The Pittsburgh Steelers. Let that name sink in for a minute. For those of you that are not sellouts and traitors to the state of Ohio, hearing “The Pittsburgh Steelers” is something that can make you cringe. This is especially true in the last 11 years, where the Steelers are 18-2 against your Cleveland Browns. The last decade of football has been brutal for Browns fans when it comes to playing the Steelers. I believe that I feel that pain more than most. I went to college in Ohio and during my junior and senior year, I was roommates with two Steelers fans. What was even worse, my two roommates were from the Pittsburgh area. There is nothing worse than a Pittsburgh fan who is from Pittsburgh, during a time when the Steelers are actually good.
During my time in college from ’04-’08, the Browns went 0-8 vs the Steelers. My life was brutal on those 8 sundays. Now, in reality, most people would say that 8 days out of 4 years is only a small amount a time. However, the anguish didn’t stop on Monday morning. Steelers fans, especially the ones from Pittsburgh, have a ridiculous idea that Pittsburgh is somehow light years ahead of Cleveland in all aspects of life. I have been told; their city is better, their food is better, their football team is better, even as far as their fans are better. I want to really break down the last part about the fans being better, but lets save that for another day. There is an arrogance and an ego built into the soul of a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Somehow a few football wins establishes dominance as a city. I beg to differ Pittsburgh, you are not better than Cleveland, if anything, we are identical.
I will say that Cleveland has come a long way in the last 10 years. If I was writing this in 2004, I’d probably give Pittsburgh a slight edge in a city vs city heavyweight fight. I will admit, downtown Pittsburgh is a beautiful place. As much as it pains me, I have to give credit where it is due. Going to a Pirates game is a great experience. The stadium is built on the river, and there are bright yellow bridges that light up at night and that lead to incredible views of the river and the city. I have partied on Carson Street, which is a mile long strip of bars that range from dirty dive bars to pretentious night clubs. I have eaten at Primanti Brothers, and I have had plenty of Iron City and Yuengling beers. These have all been enjoyable experiences.
The things I had mentioned in the previous paragraphs are considered Pittsburgh staples, and after my years in college of being told how great everything is Pittsburgh was, I was obligated to try everything. I will be the first to say, we have the same things in Cleveland. I will admit, the Pirates stadium is nicer than the Jake. (I have said this before, don’t tell me its called Progressive, enough with you people.) As for Primanti brothers, this is a Pittsburgh sandwich shop where they put cole slaw and french fries on top of thick cut white bread, with your choice of deli meats. I mean who could have ever imagined such a sandwich. Oh that’s right, we have Panini’s. If you were to take a Primanti Sandwich and a Panini’s sandwich, I could almost guarantee, you could not tell the difference. Sure Primanti Brothers opened 50 years before Panini’s, but as they say, “imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
Lets move on to beer. Pittsburgh has Iron City and Cleveland has Great Lakes. I don’t need to explain any further, do I? Driving in Pittsburgh is a real pain in the ass. I have never seen so many hills, exits on the left side of the highway, or stop lights that are placed at the end of on ramps. Who thought it was a good idea to try entering a highway from a dead stop, while cars are going 60 MPH? On the other hand, Cleveland has more “round-a-bouts” than anywhere in the world. I mean, was a grid system too difficult to figure out? Are you starting to sense a theme here? Cleveland and Pittsburgh are mirror images of each other. Each has their own quirks and parts that are actually better, but in the end this is like a game of tick-tac-toe between two adults. It always ends in a cats game.
This leads me to my final thoughts. I felt like Jerry Springer after I wrote that sentence. Anyhow, onto my final thoughts. Football is the pendulum that swings the favor to one city over the other. If there wasn’t a football rivalry, there wouldn’t be as much animosity or comparisons to Pittsburgh. The two cities are like brothers. They were both built on the backs of blue collar workers, and erected with the same steel. These are places where nothing is given and everything is earned. These places are not New York, LA, or Chicago. These are no longer industrial hubs. However, over the years they have both developed new identities. If you need a doctor or cutting edge medical treatment, both cities have amazing options. Anything that Pittsburgh has, Cleveland also has, and vice versa.
Just because one football team has been better over the last decade, doesn’t mean Pittsburgh is better. Cleveland has just been cursed with idiots in the front office, bad coaches, and even worse talent. This season that all seems to be changing. The Browns are becoming relevant in the football world again. Especially after that demolition of the Steelers last Sunday. You know what? Ignore my ramblings over the last few paragraphs. Cleveland is better than Pittsburgh in every way. Our beer, food, team, and city is better than anything Pittsburgh can offer. Sunday’s win was proof that Cleveland is better than Pittsburgh. Sorry Yinzers, the truth hurts.
Written By Rick Giavonette
Follow me on Twitter @CST_RickG