Before I start my written rant, and believe me when I preface that this is going to be a signature “BAD” one, let me get two necessary disclaimers out of the way first.
- The author does not (in any way, shape or form) condone the sorry excuse of alleged football play that was perpetrated by a group of men known as the Pittsburgh Steelers on the fourteenth evening of November in the year dated 2019. Although some of the poor performance may have been the result of headhunting by their Cleveland-based opponents, their collective pale imitation of a professional football play was an assault to the viewer and Steeler Nation as a whole.
- Any offense taken by a member of the fan base, the organization and the media that recognizes as their own the NFL franchise that is still saddled with a nickname that is the surname of the legendary founder that the club so infamously abandoned and synonymous with the color of fecal matter...is purely intended.
Wait! Hold on. Decorum and human decency implores that I back off a bit, but only a smidge, from Disclaimer No. 2.
I recognize that some members of the fan base that I am a part of do not always adhere to acceptable standards and the finest forms of behavior. We’ve got some knuckleheads too. And I realize that there are good people, including my daughter’s fifth-grade teacher, that are long-suffering fans that aren’t displaying the ill-behavior that has been on record in the days since the (much more than a) mistake by the lake of that Thursday.
With that business out of the way, shall we proceed?
For those of you that chose to let your eyes scroll down, welcome aboard. For those that didn’t and have instead chosen to flood the inboxes of BTSC’s extraordinary editor Jeff Hartman and SB Nation...let me know how that works out for you.
Dear Cleveland Fan,
The football world understands that you are a frustrated band of fanatics that have no idea what it is like to witness winning football. Your last pigskin title was 55 years ago in 1964. Back then you guys were “the Bell of the Ball”. There’s no denying your rich history, but recent lore hasn’t been that great for you all. The last time the Browns experienced a playoff victory was after the 1994 season in the Bill Belichick era. January 5, 2003 was your last playoff appearance. Both of those quests for an unreachable Super Bowl berth ended in the Steel City. Which stinks for you because from the inception of the rivalry in 1950 to 1970, the Browns dominated the team from 133 miles away to the tune of 34-9. But then, like Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the student became the teacher. Case in point, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 37-7-1 against your franchise since they eliminated from the postseason for the first time 25 seasons ago. So, that could be the reason for your inferiority complex.
In the seasons since their last playoff appearance, the Cleveland franchise has a record of 79-187-1 with one second, two third and 13 last-place finishes in the AFC North. In that same span, the hated Steelers have a record of 171-95-1 with seven first-place, five seconds, four thirds and no last-places finishes in that same division. So naturally, there’s lots of sources of your hatred and intense jealousy.
Naturally, with all of that ineptitude, you are going to get the opportunity to right the ship with early picks in the NFL Draft. In fact, from 2012-2018, the Browns had 13 first-round selections. Those picks included No. 1 overall selections in 2017 (Myles Garrett) and 2018 (Baker Mayfield). Plus, the team made bold trades recently for the likes of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. and picked up quality free agents like Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson to bolster their team. So you would think that they could muster-up a better record than 5-6.
But in the past three weeks, the Browns have won three-straight against Buffalo, the Steelers and Miami. With that, you’d think in the manner that you as fans are celebrating, that they have already won the Super Bowl. I appreciate your excitement. You’ve been starving for it. People should be happy for you and, in a way, I was. The Browns should be the darlings of the league.
But it all got ruined with the manner that you have all conducted yourselves in the wake of the events of November 14. We all know what occurred. We shouldn’t have to rehash it, but you all have conveniently suffered from some sort of selective amnesia. You only want to remember the victory, which is fine. But you refuse to acknowledge the dastardly acts that your team perpetrated on and off the field. But your behavior was poor as well. It all started with (former first rounder and disappointment) Phil Taylor shouting “F@%& Pittsburgh) from the PA system to start the game. You all thought that sophomoric act was pretty cool. Plus, don’t get me started on the “Kareemland” signs. The headhunting and dirty hits that led to concussions to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, who was bleeding from his ear as he was carted off the field.
But the reason for my rant is the “Pittsburgh Started It” t-shirts. If you shell out money for that blatant lie printed on fabric and wear it in public, then you are nothing but a portrait of delusion. First off, why is your coach calling blitzes three plays in a row with very little time left? It’s because they wanted to embarrass Pittsburgh. But what they did was embarrass you all and themselves. You and the national media have all forgotten that Myles Garrett bodyslammed Mason Rudolph to start the whole melee. You think his suspension is unjust, because it happened to one of your players. I have no problem with Maurkice Pouncey getting suspended. What he did, while fiercely loyal, was against the rules. He even said afterwards that he was protecting his player and (although he appealed) would accept any punishment coming his way. Garrett did not. Instead, he resorted to defamation to reduce his suspension.
After the game, Baker Mayfield expressed that Garrett should have not done that and put the team in a bad position. I gained more respect for Mayfield at that juncture. Why can’t you all follow his lead? Instead, you are victim shaming No. 2 and now striking Mason Rudolph piñatas with a helmet and making a joke out of this entire situation. Now you are wearing “Free Garrett” T-shirts. I’m not suggesting that you turn your back on one of your players, but why are you making him out to be a victim of persecution and labeling him as a folk hero? Instead, admit that it was an unfortunate and unacceptable incident and quit making excuses for it.
Trust me, the fans in Pittsburgh will not be very forgiving on Sunday when the teams meet in the rematch a mere 17 days later. I implore them to act with decorum.
In conclusion, we can create a better society without enabling and excusing poor behavior. Be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. Act like you’ve been there before.
Bryan Anthony Davis
P.S. Take a look at the photo at the top of this page. Maybe instead of blaming Pittsburgh, maybe your summoning of Beelzabub started this whole thing.