A nearly-lifelong Steeler being ok with seeing the Cleveland Browns winning? Is this football’s version of blasphemy? Or just a level-headed approach from a man who knows what winning a title means to a person and a city?
Cleveland.com caught up with Jerome Bettis at Akron’s Bridgestone Invitational – golf, for those not familiar – on the possibility of the Browns someday winning a Super Bowl. This, of course, is prompted by the Cleveland Cavaliers title, the first the city has seen for more than 50 years.
“They’re a team in the division and if they were to ever get on a hot streak, got into the playoffs, and were successful. I wouldn’t be rooting for them but I would love to see them have the success as well. There’s enough opportunities for all the teams to have success. Even the Cleveland Browns.”
To be clear and fair, Bettis did say he’ll still root against he Browns twice a year. You can probably guess what those two games are.
Those two times in 2016 will come in Week 11 and Week 17 when the Steelers travel to and host Cleveland. Pittsburgh has won six of the last seven meetings and a whopping 22 of the last 25. The Browns haven’t swept the regular season series since 1988. Over that span, Pittsburgh has done it on 13 occasions.
So yeah, maybe it’s at least a little fair for Bettis to feel bad for the Browns. In his career against them, he rushed for nearly 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns. Those numbers rank third and second respectively against any team. He rushed for more against the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens and only his 17 touchdowns against Cincy are greater.
Regardless of how Bettis feels, or how you feel in response, it’s safe to say it will be at least several more years before we talk about the Browns being on a hot streak or making a serious playoff run. They are expected to start Robert Griffin III this year, a man who spent most of his offseason throwing into nearby yards and stealing images on his Twitter account.