1. Paul Brown vs. Cleveland Browns
There’s no way Paul Brown vs. the Cleveland Browns doesn’t take the cake at the No. 1 spot on this list. After all, how many other personal feuds involve a coach going from one team that is named after him to that team’s greatest rival, and then having that rival team name their stadium after him?
That’s exactly what happened with NFL legend Paul Brown. The head coach essentially helped build the team from the ground up in the 1940s and 1950s, and was rewarded for his efforts when team owner Mickey McBride gave in to his fans’ wishes and christened the team after their head coach.
When Art Modell bought the team in 1961, he began to notice an increasing divide between the players (most notably star running back Jim Brown) and their at-times autocratic head coach. These tensions came to a head finally two years later when Modell decided to fire Brown, who landed on his feet in the nearby city of Cincinnati with a new AFL franchise called the Bengals.
Not only did Brown help decide the team’s name, he also helped guide them to a win over the Browns in 1970 at the end of their first season playing against one another, calling it his “greatest victory.” The two teams now play in the same division and are bitter in-state rivals, a legacy perpetuated by one man and his singular contributions to both franchises.