In the present tense

It's a rivalry that dates back to 1950 and includes 136 all-time, almost-always-nasty confrontations.

One for each of the 133 miles that separate Heinz Field from FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, plus a field goal.

But apparently it's also a rivalry that also takes a little getting used to for newcomers.

"I probably have to go through it once," first-year Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski allowed in advance of his Steelers-Browns baptism. "I know it's important to our fans, obviously. To the fans of Pittsburgh it's a big game. You have two really good teams playing, I get all that and we're excited for that.

"But at the end of the day we're really focused on playing a good football team and playing our best."

Second-year Steelers linebacker Devin Bush Jr. is already up to speed when it comes to Pittsburgh-Cleveland.

"It's a rivalry that runs deep, definitely one that we get up for, or the organizations get up for," Bush insisted.

Bush's father, Devin Bush Sr., was a free safety in Cleveland in 2001 and 2002, so for the Bushes Browns-Steelers is a family tradition.

But even those without such a stake in what has historically taken place have a keen appreciation of what the rivalry means this season, and of what will be at stake when the 4-1 Browns visit the 4-0 Steelers at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

"It's great," Steelers defensive tackle and defensive captain Cam Heyward gushed. "It shows the level of competition in our division.

"I know it's not a late-night game but it's a prime-time game, and we look forward to those. It's a five-star matchup for a reason."

Big enough to draw the CBS broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.

And significant enough to have a lasting impact on a battle for the AFC North Division championship that also includes defending-champion Baltimore at 4-1.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns

The Browns' No. 1 rushing attack will be tested by the Steelers' No. 2 run defense, and vice-versa.

And each team will be unleashing a potential game-wrecker (Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt).

Those are among the compelling matchups in a resumption of hostilities the likes of which haven't been kind to Cleveland over the last two decades or so, particularly on the road.

The Browns have lost 16 consecutive games at Heinz Field and have a 1-18 all-time record at the facility (the exception occurred on Oct. 5, 2003, 33-13).

And Roethlisberger has gone 22-2-1 against the Browns in his Steelers' tenure, a ledger as a starter that doesn't include a 30-9 triumph on Nov. 15, 2015 (Roethlisberger relieved Landry Jones on the Steelers' third series with the game tied at 3-3).

Not that Roethlisberger is counting.

"This is AFC North football," he said. "You can say what you want about past records and times played, those are previous years. This is a new football team, new (Cleveland) coaching staff.

"It's not like these guys have been playing us for years and years and years and worrying about how many times the Steelers have won, that's not what it's about. It's a new season, new teams and they're a really good football team."

One worthy of its place in a storied rivalry.