Take this game
I hate Pittspuke.
When I was a young child I was taught that Franco Harris was the Anti-Christ and Terry Bradshaw was Satan himself. The first time I ever saw a curse word written out was underneath the underpass that led to the Old Stadium and of course my least favorite city in the world followed it.
Now when my grandfather was a young man and as my father grew up, the Browns owned Pukespurgh. And by owned, I mean dominated. Yet they were always our rivals. Fans fought in the bleachers and the players fought on the field.
The tide turned in the 70s. There was the curse of Three Rivers and the fact when the Browns finally fell from football dominance, that other team rose from the ashes into a dynasty. Yet the rivalry never faded. Young Bernie Kosar broke the curse as the Browns made a short return to the NFL elite. And again that is when that other team took a brief fall. But the rivalry remained.
And then the Browns left town. While I can respect their owner for voting against the move and I can respect him for being the type of owner I dreamed we have, I won't ever say say anything else nice about him or that team.
When the Browns left town. We lost a lot. A lot of people crossed over to the dark side because the other team won a lot. The three year gap of no football and the horrid ownership and coaches we have been forced to allow those other fans to come out of the closet. They walk freely among us. I cringe every time I see a bumper sticker- it takes everything I have not to smash in the window. I won't buy anything from a store in a mall that has one of their jerseys in the window. I don't care how stupid that sounds. That store will never see any of my money. If you are a bar that freely invites their fans to your establishment, you will never see my money. I don't care how irrational that sounds.
I get if you were born on the other side of the state line. I won't tip my cap to you. I won't chuckle and say it is in all good fun, because it is not. But I understand you were born into your side just like I was born into mine. However if you are from here and you changed sides because they win more or you liked their colors. Don't ever speak to me.
Being a Browns fan is more than winning and losing. Seeing our a-hole owner stole the team away and he got a trophy for it burns. It is a white hot heat that will never fade. But why do I still hate the black and yellow even more than him and his bastard team.
The Browns were royalty that turned rotten. We fired Paul Brown. We ran off Jim Brown in his prime. We have made bad hire after bad hire. The team left and was replaced with pretenders. And yet the true fans stayed true. If you are fan you are allowed to question your team. You are allowed to get your heart broken. But as miserable as you get you do two things. One- you watch the Browns play every game and you let them carry you to highs and lows. And number two you hate that other team from across the border.
I have never liked that other team's fans. But I hate them even more now. Sure it has been your turn for way too long, you beat us over and over and over. But I hate more you because you act like their is no rivalry because you win all the time. We hated before you won. And we will hate with all of our hearts and souls even if we win the next twenty games. You act like we don't matter. You strut and your team has earned it. I see recently you were voted the league's best fans. Yet I wonder where you would be if you went through what we have gone through. It was easy to be a Browns fan in 50s and 60s. And it has been easy to be Pittspuke fan the last few decades. A lot of fun when you win all the time. We lose all the time lately. Yet our Browns Backers clubs are the biggest in the nation. We still sell out the games. And we still get our hearts broken all the time.
And I get that only that half the people who wear both colors are the real fans. That drunk kid wearing the Edwards jersey, he isn't really one of us. That girl in the pink Brady jersey, she is just there for the beer. If you act like this game is just like any other then you have forgotten what made both these teams. This game means more than anything other game. One of the reasons you won more than we have the last few years is that Cowher got it. Those first two seasons back, Palmer had no players but he got what was important. He only won five games but two were against you. The next idiot, he didn't get it. I am not sure this coaching staff and most of these players get it. This game means more than the other 14.
The Browns looked awful against the Cowboys. The real Browns fans saw that and it understandably has us worried. We know that won't get it done on Sunday. We aren't going to blindly say it doesn't matter. The Browns have to play better. And they need absolute effort to win this Sunday. We are tired of getting pushed around. We are tired of waiting for next year. And if this season doesn't live up to the promise- so be it.
But to the players that wear orange and brown. I don't care if your hammy hurts. I don't care if you are green and you are out there before you are ready. I don't care what how much pain you have- this is Steeler week.
AND IN THIS TOWN THAT STILL MEANS SOMETHING. PUNCH THEM IN THE MOUTH.
The whole nation will be watching on Sunday night. But don't give two shits about anything outside the 216. Not this week. Our legacy has been tarnished. Our team stolen. Our pride diminished. But we have stayed. Stand up for us this weekend. We need this game.
Stand up and take it for us. Sure we will follow you anyway. But we need this. Punch them in the mouth and take it.