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OHIO

THE

OF

The "Battle OF Ohio" games began in 1970. The Bengals lead the Browns in the regular-season series, 51-44. 
Written by Tyler Dragon, 
USA TODAY Sports+
Illustrations by Todd Pendleton

BATTLE

Paul Brown is regarded as one of pro football’s pioneers. He was the co-founder and first coach of the Cleveland Browns (the team was named after him) and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Brown’s tenure as cleveland's head coach (1946-1962), included three NFL championships and four titles in the All-America Football Conference. He was fired by Browns owner Art Modell in 1963. In 1968, he helped launch and became coach of the expansion Bengals. HE retired as head coach in 1976, but owned the Bengals until his death in 1991. 

Brown’s imprints

Jim Brown was a driving force in Cleveland's championship years.
The Bengals lost the first inner-city game with Cleveland, but won later in the year.
Early game program with Brownie the mascot, and ticket stub from first Cleveland-Cincinnati game.
Kevin Stefanski became the Browns' 18th head coach in 2020. In Year 1, Stefanski helped the Browns secure their first winning record since the 2007 season. He also led the Browns to their first playoff berth since 2002. 

BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY

Zac Taylor became the Bengals’ 10th head coach in franchise history in 2019. He’s been on the forefront of a massive rebuild. Over 75% of the roster arrived after Taylor was named coach. The team hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season. 

Heisman winners 
hold the keys

Criticized by some and loved by others, Baker Mayfield has had an eventful run in Cleveland since the team drafted him No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft – mainly because fellow first-round picks in that draft, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, have had more success. However, Mayfield did help end Cleveland’s playoff drought. 
Joe Burrow is in a much different situation in Cincinnati. He is already the most popular active sports figure in the Queen City. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, he is the face of a franchise desperate and starving for a winner. The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl and Burrow wasn’t alive the last time they earned a playoff win. 

offensive playmakers

In an offense full of playmakers, two-time Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb is the most consistent one in Cleveland. Chubb has topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons and is averaging over five yards a carry in his career.
Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the clear front runner for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has the most receiving yards by a player in their first seven career games. 

Defensive aces

Jessie Bates was the lone Bengal to make an All-Pro team last season. Bates is always around the football and has DEVELOPED into one of the NFL'S top safeties. He’s playing under the final year of his rookie deal. COULD Bates BECOME ONE OF THE TOP-paid safeties in the game? 
Defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, has lived up to expectations. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and he’s led the Browns in sacks every year since his arrival. The Browns gave him a five-year, $125 million contract extension in 2020.