Written by: Peter Coolbaugh
We hate them. Yes we do. Baltimore's number 1 rival. Possibly the biggest rivalry in the NFL these days, even more so than Packers/Bears or Steelers/Browns.
Since the appearance of this NFL franchise in Baltimore in 1996, the Steelers have been our toughest opponent. They own the advantage in head-to-head meetings at 20-12 (includes 2-0 in the playoffs) and have 6x the titles that we do overall, including 2 to our 1 since 1996.
If you really examine the philosophies of the teams and their base city, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are not all that different. Smash mouth football based on the run and defense with a blue collar fanatical fan base to back them up. In fact, all 4 AFC North cities have similar blue collar origins though there are not as many Bengal and Browns fans out there.
Back to the opponent at hand... the Pittsburgh Steelers represent the golden franchise in the AFC if not the whole NFL. They do everything legit and legal unlike New England, and have six Lombardi trophies to show off. Getting past the Steelers this week will solidify the Ravens as a real championship level team as well as vanquish the demons of Steel City bad memories for good.
Both game played against the Steelers this year were won by 3 points or less. Both teams won on the road. Now with the Ravens coming off a huge offensive performance in their victory over Kansas City, the expectations are higher that they can repeat that level of output.
Standing in their way is a vaunted defense and a franchise that is the nemesis to everyone in Charm City. I will say for the record that I respect the Steelers. They win, they have a classy family who owns the team, and they are the professional team that that inspires the most pride in Pennsylvania (unlike the felon embarassment Philadelphia franchise coached by the Big Hoagie). That being said, I want to beat them silly. I am tired of them always being in the hunt. And their fan base grows in number and arrogance with each winning season. It needs to stop now.
The Ravens of old were visible last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium by holding the Chiefs to a mere 7 points. With the question mark hovering about Ed Reed and his current family situation, it is a slight worry that any personal distractions could dull the focus of the team. I highly doubt it and if there is any team that fires up Baltimore, it certainly is Pittsburgh.
They mirror each other.
They don't like each other.
They respect each other.
Not it is time to get what that black and gold team has. Another title.
Let's go purple and black!
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