City of bridges, city of champions. That’s Pittsburgh for you. Well, for a national broadcast, you can’t forget about the incline that is shown each game. Really, it’s easy money if you’re a betting man or woman. And those national broadcasts happen often for Pittsburgh because of the success of its three teams.
You know who they don’t happen often for? The city of Cleveland.
Let me preface this by saying this isn’t a Cleveland-hate post. I actually enjoy the city quite a bit, and actively root for the Cavs to win (LeBron effect). But Monday night summed up Cleveland sports perfectly with the ending of the Browns and Ravens game on ESPN on Monday Night Football. Take a look if you missed it by chance:
BLOCK THAT KICK. BLOCK THAT KICK. https://t.co/Qw8jZxh88m
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 1, 2015
Is there anything more Browns than that? The fans don’t think so.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 1, 2015
So yes, maybe Mike Johnston isn’t the best coach in the world, and the Penguins struggles can really be tied to him. Sure, maybe Mike Tomlin actually did live in his own fears when he took the points at the end of the game on Sunday while going for an inexcusable fake field goal try early on. Clint Hurdle a better motivator than in-game manager? You can make the case.
But sometimes that thinking leads to tweets like this:
Mike Tomlin will never win another Super Bowl. You morons can all think he has a clue. He has none.
— Chris Rossetti (@ChrisRossetti75) November 30, 2015
No one in Pirates management. Hurdle. Coonley. Huntington. Have ever won a World Series title but they all act like they’ve reinvented ball
— Chris Rossetti (@ChrisRossetti75) September 16, 2015
It’s really time to fire Johnston but Ronny & Mario don’t have the balls to https://t.co/JyGTpkE3yb
— Chris Rossetti (@ChrisRossetti75) November 29, 2015
Full disclosure, I know Chris. He was an assistant sports information director at the college I went to, and he’s good people. But he’s also extremely passionate. After all, fan is short for fanatic.
But are the Pittsburgh struggles really that bad? I mean, championship is the ultimate goal for all teams, but only one can win it. Go to cities with struggling teams and they’ll trade their lack of success for the current state of Pittsburgh sports in an instance.
To avoid arbitrary end marks, let’s compare Pittsburgh sports teams (3) and Cleveland teams (3) since the Browns came back into the league in 1998.
|1999||W: 2 L: 14||97-65||32-50||W: 6 L: 10||78-84||37-31|
|2000||W: 3 L: 13||90-72||30-52||W: 9 L: 7||69-93||42-28|
|2001||W: 7 L: 9||91-71||29-53||W: 13 L: 3||62-100||28-41|
|2002||W: 9 L: 7||74-88||17-65||W: 10 L: 5 T: 1||72-89||27-44|
|2003||W: 5 L: 11||68-94||35-47||W: 6 L: 10||75-87||23-47|
|2004||W: 4 L: 12||80-82||42-40||W: 15 L: 1||72-89||22-46|
|2005||W: 6 L: 10||93-69||50-32||W: 11 L: 5||67-95||N/A|
|2006||W: 4 L: 12||78-84||50-32||W: 8 L: 8||67-95||22-46|
|2007||W: 10 L: 6||96-66||45-37||W: 10: L: 6||68-94||47-27|
|2008||W: 4 L: 12||81-81||66-16||W: 12 L: 4||67-95||45-28|
|2009||W: 5 L: 11||65-97||61-21||W: 9 L: 7||62-99||47-28|
|2010||W: 5 L: 11||69-93||19-63||W: 12 L: 4||57-105||49-25|
|2011||W: 4 L: 12||80-82||21-45||W: 12 L: 4||72-90||51-25|
|2012||W: 5 L: 11||68-94||24-58||W: 8 L: 8||79-83||36-12|
|2013||W: 4 L: 12||92-70||33-49||W: 8 L: 8||94-68||51-24|
|2014||W: 7 L: 9||85-77||53-29||W: 11 L: 5||88-74||43-27|
|2015||W: 2 L: 9||81-80||13-5||W: 6 L: 5||98-64||14-8|
Pretty astounding, huh?
So, since 1999, Cleveland sports have a total of zero championships, a 2,094-2,240 record, one team over .500 and 25 starting quarterbacks. Pittsburgh, in comparison (only counted wins and losses for hockey to avoid confusion) has three championships, 1,997 – 2,091-1 record and 10 different starting quarterbacks.
Well, surprisingly Cleveland has the higher win total, but no ties in basketball and the longest losing streak in North American sports will do that for you. But only two finals appearances (Cavs) for Cleveland compared to five for Pittsburgh (three Steelers, two Penguins) is the difference.
Pittsburgh has the winning culture. Win or bust is often the motto. I personally hate that motto, given how hard it is to win a title in a any sport that’s not the NBA (look up the past winners of the past 30 years and get ready to laugh at the lack of parity in the league).
So next time you want to complain about your local teams — especially with the current state they are in — realize that it could always be worse.
You could be Cleveland fans.