I know a majority of the Ohio State fan base is composed of Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals fans. Just hear me out.
It pains me to say it, but the NFL fan base most comparable to our Buckeyes’ is the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers’.
Sure, there are slight differences. For example, Buckeye fans don’t appease their fat gullets (quite as much) with greasy sandwiches that have 18 layers of french fries, a Pittsburgh staple.
Watching the Steelers clinch their fourth Super Bowl appearance in my lifetime reminds me that I dislike them and their fans for the same exact reasons the rest of the nation dislikes Buckeye fans.
The national perception of us Buckeyes is that we’re brash, we annoyingly span every corner of this great nation and, generally, no one likes us. Same with the Steelers.
But, Buckeye and Steeler nations have every right to be as arrogant as we are. Over the past decade, no other sports team has been as successful, save for, arguably, the New England Patriots in the NFL.
I might be a Cleveland fan, but my attitude is the exact opposite as an OSU fan. In Columbus, I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop. The other shoe drops on the opposing team, especially once Big Ten play starts.
OSU has won seven conference titles in the last 10 years. The Steelers are just off the pace, as far as division titles go. They’ve won six.
Pittsburgh doesn’t quite measure up in that respect, but it can boast that its coaching stability is even more impressive than OSU’s.
Over the last 40 years, the Steelers have had only three head coaches, compared to OSU’s four. Consider today’s constant coaching turnover in professional sports: The Oakland Raiders have had three coaches in the last four years alone, and they were one of seven NFL teams to switch coaches before the 2011 season.
You can see similarities in the players, too. OSU’s star quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, sells off a few trophies, signs a few autographs and gets preferential treatment from a tattoo parlor. The Steelers’ star quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, signs a few autographs and gets preferential treatment from the police.
Seriously, though, the tradition of sustained success is truly something to behold, no matter how much loathing the Steelers and Buckeyes face. Any hate directed at both most likely is intertwined with more than a hint of jealousy.
The parallels are there, and it doesn’t make me any less of a Cleveland fan to admit it. It’s because, I know, during Super Bowl XLV, I’ll be the biggest Green Bay Packers fan this side of Brett Favre’s Mississippi.
I won’t be alone. Most of America will be with me.