The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 31, 2012

SWEEP DREAMS GONE

Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry simmering; not heated

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

— Yes, the Steelers beat the Browns again Sunday, this time 24-10.

But the rivalry among fans of both teams appears less fierce than in past years, even in pigskin rich Ashtabula County, which has its share of enthusiasts of both franchises.

Michele Perkins, a Steelers fan from Erie, and Cara Katzmann, a Browns fan from Ashtabula, shared a table Sunday afternoon at the Crow’s Nest, but a few good natured jabs were quickly tossed across the table as the game played on numerous televisions.

“I lived in Erie for 18 years. I learned to respect the Steelers but now I’m back in Ohio, I don’t care (about the Steelers),” Katzmann said with a laugh.

Perkins said she drives across the stateline for Browns-Steelers games to spend time with her friend and enjoy a good-natured rivalry with other fans at the Crows Nest.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Perkins said.

The attendance at area establishments indicates the rivalry may have relaxed a bit, but don’t tell that to the diehards.

“I don’t think it ever went away,” Katzmann said while dressed in Browns garb.

Crow’s Nest owner Nick Detore said the number of people watching the game at his restaurant and bar has plummeted in the past two decades.

“We used to be packed. It’s not even close to what it used to be,” he said.

Several brave Steelers ventured into the fray Sunday afternoon at the Crow’s Nest.

Bobby Shinault said his son will celebrate his first birthday today with a full-fledged Steelers birthday party. “The day he was born he came out all Steelers. We’re going to bring him up right (as a Steelers fan),” he said.

Ron Karbacka, a Browns fan, sat with Shinault and his sister, Viola Wilson, with the Steelers driving for a touchdown on TV. He said Browns fan are patiently waiting for their team to become successful again.

“(We are) just trying to regain what we lost when Art Modell took the team away,” Karbacka said.

Attendance was a bit sparse at Quinn’s Bar and Grill, with five people watching the game. “The interest is a little down,” said owner Joe Quinn.

Quinn said it still is a rivalry but many people choose to stay at home to watch the game. He said patrons are always talking about the rivalry.

Karen Vossers of Ashtabula and Joe Lucas of Painesvile keep the rivalry percolating at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.

“I’m a Steelers fan and he’s a Browns fan. We are going to be at each other,” Vossers said with a laugh. She said she grew up in Ashtabula, but her family rallied around the Steelers.

“(I’ve been a Steelers fan) since I was a little girl watching Terry Bradshaw. There will never be another Terry Bradshaw,” she said.