This week, SB Nation is highlighting rivalries in the NFL. Cleveland Browns fans were polled last week on who they consider to be the team’s top rival. 83% of the fans said the Steelers, 13% went with the Ravens, and 4% said our Ohio counterparts in the Bengals.
That’s not the issue. The issue comes when you look at the other teams in the division. If you look through the images below, you’ll see that the Browns received 0% of consideration from Ravens fans and Bengals fans. Even more insulting, we didn’t even appear on Pittsburgh’s ballot! Their site manager made the conscious choice to exclude the Browns in favor of Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
And the sad part is? At first, I thought about getting all pissed and riled up. “This is Steelers-Browns; how dare they not even consider us a Top 4 rival?” But one tie in the beginning of the season isn’t going to cut it. The Steelers and the other teams in the division have been contending for the playoffs for so long, while Cleveland has been penciled in for one or two guaranteed wins on their schedule.
For the Browns to change those numbers and become a rival, all they need to do is win. And not just win, but win with that confidence and swagger that gets under opposing fanbases’ skin — to where a reality check hits them that “the Browns are better than us now.” And it can start this Sunday, coming off of the bye week, against the Cincinnati Bengals. There is plenty of fuel to go off of — the Browns are hungry for their first road win in forever, and I think more than a handful of players on the team want to especially stick it to Hue Jackson.
Who do you consider the Browns’ top rival?
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