The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in what is arguably the best matchup of Week 6.
(A strong case could be made for Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers. But, let's no split hairs here and just enjoy a good Sunday of football.)
The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979, when the team went on to win Super Bowl XIV.
The Browns are riding a four-game winning streak and are 4-1 for the first time since 1994, when some fella named Bill Belichick was the head coach (also, current Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban was the defensive coordinator).
Heinz Field, however, has been a house of horrors for the Browns. The Browns are riding a 16-game losing streak in Pittsburgh. That streak dates back to the 2003 season, when on Oct. 5 the Browns prevailed, 33-13.
The game featured a high-octane quarterback matchup of Tommy Maddox (Steelers) and Tim Couch (Browns). The head coaches that day? Hall of Famer Bill Cowher and Butch Davis.
The game also received the Sunday night prime-time treatment (the two teams had played in an epic wild-card playoff game at Heinz Field during the 2002 season).
Cleveland Browns receiver Andre Davis hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Couch against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 5, 2003 in Pittsburgh. (Photo: GENE J. PUSKAR, Associated Press)
The game meant little in the long run during the 2003 NFL season. The Browns finished 5-11 and the Steelers 6-10. It represented the Steelers' worst finish in the past two decades. It also netted the team a high enough selection in the 2004 NFL draft to select Ben Roethlisberger, who went on to never lose (at least to this point) to the Browns in a home game (among other notable career accomplishments, like winning two Super Bowls). The Browns? Well, five picks before the Steelers took Roethlisberger, Cleveland selected Miami (Florida) tight end Kellen Winslow II, who had an injury-plagued four-season tenure with the Browns.
WEEK 6: Browns aim to end 0-16 streak at Pittsburgh
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Steelers coach Bill Cowher talks with quarterback Tommy Maddox after Maddox was taken out of the game late in the fourth quarter of the 33-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns. (Photo: KEITH SRAKOCIC, Associated Press)
Here's what else was going on in the world (sports and non-sports) on Oct. 5, 2003, the last time the Browns enjoyed the thrill of victory in the city of Pittsburgh:
Around the NFL
♦ The New England Patriots embarked on history. With a 38-30 win over the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots started a 21-game winning streak — a run that included two playoff wins and victory in Super Bowl XXXVIII — for the longest win streak in NFL history.
♦ "The Human Joystick" — Dante Hall — had the must-see highlight of the day, a 93-yard punt return for the go-ahead score in a 24-23 win over the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs improved to 5-0 and would win nine straight before finishing the season 13-3. The Chiefs would lose an AFC divisional playoff game to the Indianapolis Colts in a contest that featured zero punts.
This Dante Hall punt return will never get old… (Oct. 5, 2003) @[email protected]/3EwnKmmbxx
♦ If you started San Diego Chargers receiver David Boston on your fantasy team that week, you were thrilled with his 14 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In other sports
♦ The Chicago Cubs won their first playoff series since the 1908 World Series with a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of their National League Divisional Series. The Cubs, of course, would fall to the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series, four games to three. It was 17 years ago yesterday that the infamous Steve Bartman incident occurred.
♦ Beyonce's "Baby Boy" was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. Other chart toppers: "So Far Away" by Staind (Alternative), "Real Good Men" by Tim McGraw (Country)
♦ "School of Rock" starring Jack Black was the top grossing film.
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