The Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers have played 135 times with the Steelers holding a 76-59-1 edge. Included in these games were two playoff games, the 1995 AFC divisional game and the 2003 AFC wildcard game. The Steelers won both. The Steelers were established in 1933 as the Pittsburgh Pirates and were perennial also-rans, never finishing higher than second place in their division or having a record above .500. The two teams started playing after the 1950 merger when the Browns entered the NFL. From 1950 to 1973, 48 games, the Browns dominated going 35-13. In 1970, because of the AFL-NFL merger, the Steelers moved to the AFC along with the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts. The Steelers also moved into their new home, Three Rivers Stadium. And that’s where the Browns’ troubles began.
Between 1970 and 1985, the Steelers dominated at home, winning 16-straight. The “Three Rivers Jinx” was born. However, on October 5, 1986, the streak would end. Led by 22-year-old quarterback Bernie Kosar, the Browns went into Three Rivers and pulled out a 27 -24 win. The Browns had a potent offense with players like rookie wide receiver Webster Slaughter, second-year WR Reggie Langhorne, WR Brian Brennan, tight end Ozzie Newsome and running back Earnest Byner. The defense was led by linebackers Clay Mathews and Chip Banks, defensive lineman Carl “Big Daddy” Harrison and Reggie Camp and cornerbacks Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield. On special teams, the Browns had kicker Matt Bahr and return man Gerald “Ice Cube” McNeil. Back then, NFL Films put together great highlight videos. Yes, that’s Bill Cowher as the Browns special teams coach.
After this game, the Browns went on a seven-game winning streak versus the Steelers, their longest since 1950 to 1953 which was eight games and matching their winning streak of seven games from 1967 to 1970. But since the opening of the “Condiment” field, the Browns are again on a 16-game losing streak to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The last win at Heinz Field was October 5, 2003. This was probably one of QB Tim Couch’s best game as a Brown. He was 20 of 25 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a quarterback rating of 111.3. RB William Green added 115 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown. The Cleveland defense sacked Steelers QB Tommy Maddox three times and intercepted him twice, including a pick-six by Browns CB Daylon McCutcheon. It was a convincing 33-13 win. Here are the highlights and they are great.
Hopefully, CBS will be showing the highlights from 2003 during this Sunday’s game because the Browns are winning and breaking another 16-game losing streak to the Steelers. These highlights will be better than the network’s obsession with showing the video of DE Myles Garrett using Steelers QB Mason Rudolf’s helmet as an attention-getter. That’s fine, whatever, all I know is it’s time for the Browns to start a new winning streak.