The Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers have been playing each other twice in the regular season for more than 60 years.
The series between the teams, now both members of the AFC North, began way back in 1950 when Cleveland entered the NFL from the All-American Football Conference.
But the two teams used to play regularly in the preseason for a time as well, which seems odd by present-day standards. Indeed, a coach today would never dream of playing a division opponent, let alone his club’s bitter arch rival, in the preseason and give the other coach a long, up-close, early look at his team. Back then, however, owners saw preseason games against nearby and traditional foes, even ones from the same conference (there were no divisions in the NFL at the time), as a good way to get a big gate.
And that’s exactly what happened Aug. 16, 1958 when the Browns opened the preseason with a 10-0 win over Pittsburgh before a nearly full house at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, 27,202.
It marked the third time the teams had met overall in the preseason, and it was the second of 10 consecutive years the Browns and Steelers collided.
But they have not opposed each other in the preseason in almost a quarter-century, since 1989 at Cleveland, and don’t look for that to change anytime soon.
Interestingly enough, it was in the next-to-last preseason game between the clubs, in 1984 again at Cleveland, that Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert first incurred a turf toe problem that would end his career at the end of that season.
This Day in Browns History is presented by Cleveland Clinic.