Nameless Gray Yinzers: First Taste Of Steelers-Browns Rivalry Just Like ‘Any Other Game’, WR Elijah Moore Says
Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase was asked what it meant to play the Browns in Cleveland last week. A major divisional opponent and cross-state rival, the young receiver didn’t seem to think it made much of a difference who he was playing or where—even referring to them as the Elves, a reference to an old logo they brought out of storage this season.
Things didn’t work out too well, as the Browns beat down the Bengals pretty good. “Cleveland is Cleveland”, Chase said, and the Browns used that as fuel in much the same way they did when former Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster said that “the Browns is the Browns”.
This isn’t quite on that scale, but new Browns WR Elijah Moore also wasn’t entirely buying into the significance of the rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, one of the more storied rivalries in the game. That only feeds off of what new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said, noting that Joe Green and Jack Lambert wouldn’t be out there.
“I know what everyone has told me, the stories and how hype it gets, but I feel like we should look at it as any other game”, Moore told reporters on Saturday when he was asked what he knows about the rivalry between the two teams and how much he was looking forward to being a part of it, via transcript from the Browns’ media department.
As intended, I’m sure it’s a pretty innocuous statement, and not so far removed from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s “nameless gray faces”. Yet I would imagine the last thing head coaches want their players to do is to treat divisional games like any other game. Because they’re not. They weigh more. You have to win your division, and that’s awfully hard to do without winning the games within your division.
“Obviously, we don’t take them lightly”, Moore added, referring to the Steelers and the quality of opponent that they will represent on Monday night. “We know that they’re a good team, but I’m definitely ready to play. I know they are, too”.
Sure, but if Moore is going to be in this division for a while, he might want to familiarize himself with the competitive juices that flow within it. The Steelers and Browns in particular have been heated in recent years, arguably even more than with the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens.
No matter how many “nameless gray faces” remarks the Steelers might throw out there during a divisional week, everybody knows it’s a different animal. They don’t pretend it’s not. It’s “Ravens Week” or “Bengals Week” or “Browns Week”. It’s a theme. It’s a story. It’s an objective.
It’s not just any other game. Perhaps the Steelers will make an extra effort on Monday night to remind him of that, and show him AFC North games aren’t going to go as well as last week’s against the Bengals.