It’s “Pittsburgh Week”, a general term known if you were born & raised in Cincinnati. The deep seeded feeling of that phrase means one thing; we HATE Pittsburgh. We hate everything from the Terrible Towel, French Fries on Sandwiches, the fact that two of your “rivers” make our OHIO and especially anything black and gold.
A question frequently seen on social media this week, was if this “rivalry” was organic or manufactured? It depends on how you look at it. If you would have asked me 12 months ago, I would not have felt either way about the Riverhounds. However, I do have thoughts about their hometown and the fact we are now in the same league has changed my opinion.
In Cincinnati, our rivalries aren’t limited to just one team or one sport. Much of our intensity comes from natural boundaries (States, cities, regions.) Ask a non-college football fan and they will still say they have ill-will towards our northern border state. This rivalry plays more on the fact that I hate seeing a Pittsburgh team succeed, even their pesky hockey team.
Regardless if you follow College Basketball & Football, Major League Baseball or the NFL, our two cities have a natural HATRED for each other. If you say you don’t, well then you can move to Cleveland.
I wanted to take a walk down memory lane to visit the classic sports match-ups that feed the animosity that our two cities share. On Saturday, the next chapter of our city-rivalry begins. Please reflect on these moments and remember them when cheering on the Orange & Blue.
River City Rivalry- UC Football vs Univ. of Pittsburgh
Key Moment- December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA
Final Score: #5 Cincinnati-45 #17 Pittsburgh-44
In a de facto Big East Championship game the undefeated 5th ranked UC faced #17 Pitt for a spot in a BCS bowl. The Pitt Panthers got off to a 31-10 start but a kickoff return TD by Marty Gilyard closed the gap to 31-17 just before half. The game was tied in the 4th quarter at 38-38 when Pitt RB Dion Lewis scored a TD with 1:36 left to put the home team up 44-38 after a botched PAT. Tony Pike marched the Bearcats down the field and connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Armon Binns with 33 seconds remaining. UC kicker Jake Rodgers converted the PAT, and Cincinnati held on to win 45–44. Following the game, Cincinnati rose to a #3 ranking in the final BCS standing clinching a spot in the Sugar Bowl.
Bengals vs Steelers Rivalry
Key Moment- Wild Card Game- January 8, 2006 at Paul Brown in Cincinnati, OH
Final Score: Pittsburgh-31 Cincinnati- 17
There are many games to choose from in this rivalry that has sewn deep rooted hatred between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. There were the match ups between Paul Brown and the Iron Curtain, last year’s last minute playoff loss, but most fans remember the Carson Palmer game. In 2006, Pittsburgh knocked off the Bengals on the way to winning the Super Bowl. The game started off in controversy when Carson Palmer connected on a long pass to WR Chris Henry. During the play Palmer was hit low by Kimo von Oelhoffen tearing Palmer’s ACL. Henry was also injured on the play and the Bengals were never the same. The Bengals led at halftime 17-14 but gave up 17 points in the 2nd Half on the way to a 31-17 defeat.
Let’s also not forget that Monday night game in 1983 when Steelers’ defensive end Keith Gary tried to decapitate Ken Anderson by grabbing and holding his facemask and twisting his head into pretzel. That play ended Anderson’s season and effectively the Bengals’ as well.
Reds vs Pirates Rivalry
Key Moment- 1972 NLCS Game 5- October 11, 1972 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Final Score: Cincinnati-4 Pirates-3
A Sparky Anderson led Reds team took the final game on the 1972 NLCS in dramatic fashion. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Reds catcher Johnny Bench hit a solo home run to tie the game at 3-3. Tony Perez and Denis Menke singled and Sparky pitch ran George Foster for Perez. With Foster on third with two outs, Pirates pitcher Bob Moose threw a wild pitch allowing Foster to score sending the Reds to the 1972 World Series. Unfortunately, this would be the last game Roberto Clemente would play before he passed away in a plane crash.
The Reds hold a 4-1 series lead in NLCS matchups with series wins in 1970, 1972, 1975, and 1990.
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