And head coach Freddie Kitchens had some fun on Friday night as he was spotted wearing a T-shirt that has become popular around Northeast Ohio in recent weeks.
The T-shirt is from GV Art & Design, a Cleveland-based company that designs a multitude of shirts and original artwork. The phrase “Pittsburgh Started It” is in reference to the events at the end of the November 14 game between the Browns and the Steelers, when a fight broke out that ultimately landed defensive end Myles Garrett with an indefinite suspension for hitting Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet.
Rudolph not only started the fight by taking umbrage to a soft sack at the end of the game, but escalated it by going after Garrett even though Pittsburgh offensive lineman David DeCastro had already defused the situation.
The fact that Rudolph got off with only a fine left Browns players questioning the league’s decision-making process, riled up Browns fans even more than usual, saw 33 players fined, and turned Sunday’s game at Heinz Field into one of the most-anticipated games of the year. (Although the NFL apparently does not agree as they moved the game from its original 4:25 p.m. kickoff to the 1 p.m. slot.)
Kitchens is obviously embracing some of the fun in the run-up to Sunday’s game, although his choice of T-shirt has sent certain corners of Browns Twitter into another round of pearl clutching over the head coach providing the Steelers with “extra motivation” and “bulletin-board material” for the game.
If the Steelers need any extra motivation, then that probably says more about them than it does about the Browns. The two teams are among a handful that are fighting for a playoff spot and Cleveland is looking to sweep the Steelers for the first time since 1988.
The Browns are also currently undefeated in the AFC North Division, while the Steelers have already dropped a pair of divisional games. A silly T-shirt is not going have any impact on the result of Sunday’s game.
Although it does make for a mildly amusing topic on a Saturday morning.