Heinz Field opened just before the 2001 season, and in all its nearly two decades of existence, it’s probably never hosted a moment as odd as Sunday night: an entire stadium full of Steelers fans chanting “Let’s go Browns.”
The scenario: Pittsburgh had just knocked off Cincinnati in an ugly-but-it-got-the-job-done win, 16-13. But because they’d futzed their way through much of the regular season, the Steelers also needed Cleveland to knock off Baltimore in order to clinch a playoff berth. Pittsburgh knocked off Cincinnati about 20 minutes before the Cleveland-Baltimore game ended, which led to this peculiar scene:
Yes, the stadium was full of diehard Steeler fans chanting “Let’s go Browns,” without irony and with fervent hope.
And then the Browns’ final drive began, with Cleveland down two points and 1:40 on the clock:
You know what happened next. The Pittsburgh fans who were cheering for the Browns for five minutes learned what life is like for fans who have been cheering for them for their entire lives: the Browns won’t come through. (Okay, that’s not fair. The Browns way overachieved this year. But still.)
The Ravens win gave Baltimore the AFC North title, and left the Steelers praying that the Titans and Colts tied on Sunday night to open the door. But for a brief moment, Steelers fans were cheering for their rivals. Maybe that’s a chance to build some lasting peace in the AFC North … ? No? All right, then. See everyone in 2019.
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