The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers are set to square off for the 144th time in NFL history this Monday Night. The latter half of the Monday Night Football double headers features two of the NFL's oldest teams facing off in one of its oldest rivalries. Pittsburgh and Cleveland are separated by under 150 miles, and just a couple of hours, the bad blood between the two cities and the two teams was meant to be. The AFC's oldest rivalry didn't get underway until 1950, after the Browns joined the National Football League officially. While the Steelers were founded back in 1933, their neighbors didn't come into existence until 1944.

In their 143 previous meetings, the Steelers lead the all-time series 80-62-1. Here's a brief history of the Browns vs. Steelers rivalry before their next meeting on Monday Night.

The early years

The early years of the Browns and Steelers' rivalry were all Cleveland. The Steelers suffered through a truly astounding period of futility from their founding until the 1970s, and the Browns took advantage. Led by franchise legends like Paul Brown and Jim Brown, from the sideline to all three phases of the game, the Browns dominated the opening decades of this matchup.

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Across the better part of the first decade of this rivalry, from 1950-1958, the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 16 out of 18 times they played. In fact, through the midpoint of the 1970 season, the rivalry's all-time scoreboard stood at 32-9 in favor of the Browns.

Of course, the 1970s was when the Steelers put together the greatest dynasty the NFL had ever seen. It's unsurprising then that for the next 15 years, powered by the Steel Curtain defense and Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swan, and John Stallworth on offense, the Steelers swung the rivalry in their favor. The Browns only beat the Steelers seven times in the ensuing 13 seasons between 1970 and 1982.

Recent history

In the 1980s, the Browns were the better team before making way for the Steelers in the 1990s. And while these two bitter rivals continued their all-out war against each other twice a year during that time, both teams lacked the championship pedigree their predecessors had, with the Browns failing to make it past the Broncos in various AFC championship matchups, while the Steelers lost to the Cowboys in their first trip back to the Super Bowl since the glory days of the 1970s.

But in the 21st century, the Steelers asserted themselves as the “big brother” in this rivalry. As the Browns floundered on the field with some historically bad seasons and off the field when they didn't exist for a couple of years, the Steelers thrived. Under Mike Tomlin and Bill Cower, the Steelers won two more Super Bowls while repeatedly using the Browns as their punching bag.

In the 48 matchups the two teams have played since the turn of the century, Pittsburgh owns a staggering 38-9-1 advantage over the Browns. During that time, they changed a slight advantage for the Browns in the all-time series lead into a staggering 18-game advantage.

Browns vs. Steelers rivalry today

Despite recent history, both the Steelers and Browns find themselves in a bit of a rivalry reset. Deshaun Watson and Kenny Pickett are the faces of the rivalry now, each entering their second year with their teams. Neither team has Super Bowl aspirations. And for the first time in a long time, the two rivals find themselves on relatively even footing.

The Steelers will be looking to rebound from a disastrous Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, the Browns will look to make it two wins in two weeks against divisional opponents. And while the Browns were among the league's most impressive Week 1 teams, and the Steelers one of the least, anything can happen in a divisional rivalry. Especially one that's been around as long as the rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.