Steeler Memories

Unfortunately, it occurred to me that most of my Steeler memories are not good.  There are a few good ones.  My first Browns/Steelers game was on November 25, 1973.  There were only 67,000 loyal patrons in attendence that day.  The Browns were not so good and the Steelers were on the verge of a dynasty.  My boss was a member of the “grounds crew”.  All they really did was help take the tarp off the field before the game began so that was not to big a deal.  But it was a cold, wet November day by the lake and my boss did not want to go.  So I got the ground crew pass.  We had to get there early to take the tarp off the field but what a joy it was just to be on the playing surface at the old horshoe.  Most of the Steeler greats were on the field that day including Mean Joe Green, Franco Harris and the whole crew.  Terry Bradshaw was not the quarterback that day.  The QB that day was Joe Gilliam.  They set up bleachers in front of what came to be known as the dawg pound.  In those days the bleacher seats were the “cheap seats”.  We had no access to concessions or restrooms as I recall.  That was the day I got hooked on coffee as were were freezing and wet and some kind soul brought us a hot cup of coffee at half time.  That may have been the best cup of coffee I ever had.  The Browns played well and had a 21-16 lead late in the 4th quarter.  Joe Gilliam led the Steelers down the field toward the bleachers where we were seated.  The got inside the red zone and had a first down.  Joe Gilliam threw 4 incomplete passes into the endzone (right in front of me) and the Browns won the game 21-16.  Well worth the cold and wet!

 My next Steeler memory occurred October 7, 1979.  I was living in Columbus, Ohio and a group from work decided to get a bus trip together for the Cleveland Pittsburgh game.  I knew it was going to be an interesting day from the minute we pulled into the bus parking lot.  The worst place you could be for a Cleveland Pittsburgh game in Cleveland would be the bus parking lot.  Just where do you think all the buses came from?  They all came from Pittsburgh and I was never so afraid for my life as I was that day.  Being out-numbered 50-1 by thugs from Pittsburgh was not the place to be.  It was a great game and the Browns were valianly led by Brian Sipe and were in the game until the 4th quarter when Franco Harris took over the game and the Steelers ground out a 51-35 victory.  I am pretty sure the Steelers went on to win another Super Bowl that year. (ugh)

It was October 5, 1986.  I had an opportunity to go to Pittsburgh and watch the Browns play.  The Browns had played in Three Rivers Stadium for 16 years without a win.  That would all end that day.  Gerald “Ice Cube” McNeil ran the 2nd half kickoff back for a TD and that helped the Browns win for the 1st time at Three Rivers stadium 27-21.  One thing Bernie Kosar could do was beat the Steelers. 

September 12, 1999.  The long awaited return of football to Cleveland.  Art Modell had taken ‘his team’ to Baltimore and the expansion Browns returned to field on a Sunday night against the once hated Steelers.  By the time it was over a stunned crowd went home after a 43-0 defeat.  43-0.  Zip, Nada, Zero, Zilch, Nothing.  A stunned father rode the rapid transit with his daughter Lisa, their faces painted smeared after the lopsided loss.  Little did we know nor expect the futility that was to come. 

September 17, 2000.  Late in the 4th quarter the Browns had a 23-20 lead but the Steelers were driving.  I had seen it so many times before.  Another valiant effort down the drain.  The Steelers were driving east to west, likely going in for a game winning touchdown but certainly for the game tying field goal.  To the best of my recollection, they botched the FG attempt as time ran out.  I know I wept.  The joy of victory.  The first win at home in the new era and it was against the Steelers!  Maybe things were turning around.  NOT!

Then last year, November 19, 2006.  The previous Christmas Eve the Browns laid their biggest egg since 1999 when they lost to the Steelers 41-0.  That right, 41-0.  It could have been 80-0 the way they played.  The Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl that year.  All off season the Browns pointed to the Steelers in 2006.  That was the whole focuse of the off season.  To get good enough to beat the Steelers.  The Browns had a 20-3 lead well into the 4th quarter before the Steelers went no huddle and the Browns when into prevent.  Ben Rothlesberger led the Steelers to 3 4th touchdowns and the Steelers win 24-20.   The Browns season was over.  That one hurt.  It took me almost 24 hours to get over that one…Well those are my most memorable in person Steeler memories.  I must be off…


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