Eight decades. It’s been that long, this rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Father-son authors Richard Peterson and Stephen Peterson examine one of the most vivid rivalries in professional sport in The Turnpike Rivalry: The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns.
Although the teams met for the first time in 1950, before the turnpike was finished in Ohio or Pennsylvania, it was clear from the start that fans in both cities would love to drive the two hours to see a game in person and stars like Otto Graham to see and Marion Motley.
The writers provide parallel stories from the two teams, with an emphasis on owners Art Modell and Art Rooney, as well as other big names like Paul Brown, Jim Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris. But the individual teams are not the story here; It’s the ongoing tug-of-war between two cities that have so much in common.
It’s the busloads of fans who have made the trip every time, the trash-talking, the Rowdy Dawg Pound and the tricky Terrible Towel. The writers remember the television blackouts that drew fans to Youngstown, a neutral place.
Aside from a hiatus caused by the Browns’ 1995 move to Baltimore, an act Steeler’s owner Rooney disapproved of and which resulted in Model continued to be despised in Cleveland, the rivalry has subsided, though hostility is moderated with respect .
There is an appendix recording the Browns-Steelers games from 1950 to 2019 with scores and attendance; Although the information is available elsewhere, lists of coaches and players would be helpful to readers.
The Turnpike Rivalry (168 pages, softcover) is priced at $ 24.95 from Black Squirrel Press, a reprint from Kent State University Press. Richard and Stephen Peterson also wrote a book about the Pittsburgh Pirates. They admit to be Steelers fans.
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