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The Cleveland Browns: Our Rivals

The essence of sports is a great rivalry. There is nothing better to get us fans rabid as game day approaches.
All major professional sports have special rivalries. They are bred for different reasons. Sometimes it is simple geography - like what has become known as the "subway series" between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets in Major League Baseball. Sometimes it is history and nostalgia - like the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League who are both members of the original six and both Canadian clubs. Sometimes it is born out of competition between specific players of the day - like the rivalry between the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, a bitterness that has continued well beyond the playing days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
The National Football League has its fair share of great rivalries. Our Cleveland Browns have several. If we had to pick our four greatest rivalries, we would choose the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens (in no particular order). Give some thought as to which teams you would select as our greatest rivals, and why.
Our rivalry with the Steelers has been for decades. There are too many reasons to list but they include geography (Cleveland and Pittsburgh are not that far apart), divisional competition, and envy. While the Browns dominated the AAFC and the early years of the NFL, it has been the Steelers that have been dominant since the years of Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll.
The Bengals have been our rivals also for a long time. Obviously, the battle for Ohio supremacy has a lot to do with it, as does the fact that we play in the same division. Further, the history of Paul Brown and Art Modell both playing parts in the creation of the Bengals has fueled the rivalry. Then there was the ongoing battle between quarterbacks Bernie Kosar and Boomer Esiason.
The Broncos are a more recent rival; but the bitterness that exists there is palpable. It stems largely from the John Elway years. Too often, Elway brought heartache to Browns fans with plays like the infamous "Drive". The rivalry continues even to this day. For example, some of the most staunch Browns fans that this writer knows could not get over the possibility that we were rumoured to be in the hunt for Jay Cutler as QB - a Bronco!
Perhaps our most recent rival is the Baltimore Ravens. Beyond our divisional competition, the explanation here is simple; Art Modell's move of the Team to Baltimore. The fact that the Ravens have been very successful since then only adds salt to the open wound.
We Browns fans are lucky to have such great rivalries. All that we can say to those other teams is: sweetness is an acquired taste; we will relish our time when it comes. Go Browns!
Devo's Cleveland Browns

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