Dunlap: With One Helmet Swing, Steelers and Browns Rivalry Is Back

Colin Dunlap
November 19, 2019 - 2:17 pm

Related: Browns’ Richardson Feels Steelers QB Deserved Punishment

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Between all the helmet-swinging and hand-wringing, something happened. 

When all the shoutin’ was completed on Thursday night, something rose to the surface. 

After all the pushing and shoving occurred and when this finally gets all sifted out through the help of that big, fancy NFL office in New York City, we will be left with a pervasive and inescapable storyline. 

Yep, the Steelers and Browns rivalry just might be back. 

Heck, who am I kidding, it is back. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

That’s where we are in all of this: When Myles Garrett decided to use his helmet as a weapon (and he did) after a few of his defensive mates earlier in the game levied hits that wrecked the heads of Steelers receivers, we got to a different place than we have been in quite some time.

The Turnpike Rivalry turned into a rivalry again. 

The Browns mattered again in Pittsburgh. 

This game against Cleveland matters again to Steeler Nation. 

No matter how much you don’t want to admit it, those Browns matter again to you. Or, at the very least, you’re paying attention to them again. 

The Browns might not be having the season the NFL prognosticators thought they would --- do they ever? --- but they are getting better. It’s hard to get worse from where they were a few seasons ago, but, yes, they are getting better. The quarterback is getting better, the running back is so darn good and, really, it’s just a matter of the head coach not making incredibly boneheaded decisions and the Browns can be, dare I say, average.

Considering where they have been for so long, being average in Cleveland is a huge step forward. 

You see, the Pittsburgh Steelers hold a 75-59-1 all-time series advantage as they come off that loss to the Browns on Thursday. 

It is even more lopsided as of late. 

Since October of 2000, the Steelers are 31-5-1 against the Browns. 

Something tells me that won’t change dramatically in the near future. But as Ben Roethlisberger continues to age and eventually retires and the Steelers offensive line ages out of the league it is quite possible the Browns will sprinkle in a win against their nearest geographical AFC North opponent with more regularity than they had been doing. 

This isn’t the way the rivalry was supposed to come back onto our plate as an appetizing dish we needed to have heaping helpings of just to fill our guts. No, the way it was supposed to happen was that the Browns were supposed to be as good as advertised this past summer, the Steelers were supposed to stay healthy and Lamar Jackson was never supposed to be this good for this long. And, the way it was supposed to happen was that the Browns were going to be at the top of the division --- or at least close to it --- with Roethlisberger trying to fend off Father Time and also not let Baker Mayfield become the darling of the AFC North. 

Didn’t happen that way. Not even close. 

As you know, Big Ben got dinged up, Jackson and the Ravens have taken the AFC by storm and both the Browns and Steelers have been, for the most part, pretty darn rotten.   

But, oh that helmet swinging. Oh, those fierce words. Oh, those kicks and punches from Maurkice Pouncey where he turned the scene into a Lakeland street fight in about one-hundredth of a millisecond and then didn’t apologize for it afterward. 

It was barbaric and vicious. It was as real as it was violent. It won’t be forgotten about. 

The rivalry is back. 

There is good, old-fashioned sports hate between Pittsburgh and Cleveland again. 
And to be honest, I kind of love it. ​

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