Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


It’s Ravens week!

September 29, 2010 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

Growing up in Pittsburgh, the biggest two days of the year were the two times each season that the Steelers played the Cleveland Browns.  Christmas, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July all paled in comparison.

But those days are an ancient memory.  As much as we like to pretend that Steelers/Browns is still a rivalry, it isn’t.  There hasn’t been any excitement in that “rivalry” since Art Modell packed his bags and moved his team out of town.

Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals swept the AFC North.  They’ve already beaten the Baltimore Ravens this year, and they are hoping to repeat as champions of the AFC North.  But try as I might, I can’t get very excited about playing the Bengals.

When it comes down to it, the one rivalry that stands above all others is Steelers/Ravens.  Not only is it the biggest rivalry in the AFC North, but it’s one of the best rivalries in the NFL.  And it’s definitely the bloodiest.

Steelers versus Ravens is the Allies versus the Axis, Batman versus the Joker, Dorothy versus the Wicked Witch of the West, and The Biggest Losers versus Donuts, all rolled into one.   It’s nuclear war……..on the football field.

These two teams don’t like one another.  Okay, I’m being politically correct.  In truth, they hate each other.  And that hatred comes out during the game.

Over the past Decade, the Steelers and the Ravens have been the two most dominant defenses in the NFL.  So when they play one another, bragging rights are on the line.  Both teams believe their defense is better.  The only way to prove it is by beating one another.   And they usually beat the snot out of one another.

Both teams usually lose players to injury during this game.  I’m sure the NFL probably mandates that they have extra paramedics along the sidelines whenever the Steelers and the Ravens play.

Part of the reason for the fierce rivalry is the fact that in many ways, the two teams are mirror images of one another.  Warped, twisted, bizarro mirror images, but mirror images nonetheless.  It’s like that episode of Star Trek where the crew of the Enterprise met the evil versions of themselves from another universe.  The Ravens are the evil Steelers.

Evil Spock

Both teams espouse the same philosophy; run the ball, and stop the run.  Steelers fans know that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has been waging war on that philosophy.  But with Ben Roethlisberger on suspension, the Steelers have had to return to their roots.

Last week the Steelers ran for over 200 yards, while holding Tampa Bay’s Cadillac Williams to only 13 yards rushing.  The week before that, they held Tennessee’s Chris Johnson to 34 yards rushing.  And in week 1 they held Atlanta’s Michael Turner to 42 yards rushing.

Similarly, the Ravens held the Jets’ LaDainian Tomlinson to 62 yards, Cincinnati’s Cedrick Benson to 78 yards, and the Browns’ Peyton Hillis to 144 yards.  Wait a minute!  Who the heck is Peyton Hillis?  And how did he run for 144 yards on the Ravens?  Okay, obviously the Ravens aren’t as good as the Steelers.  But they’re still one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Who are the toughest linebackers in football?  James Harrison and Ray Lewis.  Who are the best safeties in the NFL?  Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed.  Who are the most physical wide receivers in the game?  Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin.  See what I mean?  The teams are very similar.

I expect the  Steelers to win this Sunday.  It will probably be a hard-fought, physical, low-scoring win, but it will be a win nonetheless.

When Big Ben returns, he will be joining a team that is 4-0, and sitting atop both the AFC North and the entire NFL.  What could be better than that?

Here we go Steelers, here we go!


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Hatred and Respect

January 15, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

December 16, 2008
By Patrick Cartwright

I hate the Ravens.

I abhor and disdain them.

I loathe, despise, and detest them.

But I respect them.

Not as individuals.  On their defense, they have a linebacker who, more likely than not, was involved in a murder.  They have another linebacker that tells the media they put bounties on opposing players in order to injure them.  They have a player who spit in a kicker’s mouth.  And another player who so delighted in the fact that when he sacked Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger he “felt the breath leave his body”, that he felt the need to brag about it to the national media.  To call the Ravens a bunch of thugs would be unfair and offensive to thugs.

So how can a Steelers fan respect a group so heinous?  A group that I wouldn’t let inside my house without a national guard regiment present.  A group that makes my skin crawl.  A group that undoubtedly gets together in the offseason to drown kittens, strangle puppies, and plot to bring back the Macarena?

Because they play the game the way it should be played.

The Baltimore Ravens play the game with intensity and vitriol.  They run the ball down your throat.  They  trust their young , confident QB.  They control the clock.  And they play a punishing style of defense that leaves the other team’s offense battered, broken down, and wondering how much time is left before they can get on the bus and get the hell out of town.  They play good old-fashioned smash-mouth football.

Sound familiar?

It’s the exact same way the Steelers organization has played for the past 40 years, ever since Chuck Noll took a losing team and molded them into a dynasty.  And it’s the way the Ravens have played since the day that Art Modell pulled the midnight switch on Cleveland and bussed the team to the East Coast.  Just another reason to hate the Ravens.  They used to be the Browns.  But even so, you have to respect the way they go about playing the game, even if you don’t like it.  Even if you don’t like them.

The best enemies are always the ones that are slightly distorted reflections of the hero.  Wolverine and Sabertooth.  Green Lantern and Sinestro.  Spiderman and Venom.  It’s the same with the Steelers and Ravens.  They play the same style of football, and they play it the same way.  Both teams have a QB that has been a rookie phenom, playing well beyond his years.  Both have an All-World game-changing safety.  Each has an old man that just happens to be the most reliable receiver on his team.  Each has punishing linebackers who regularly put the opposing quarterback on his back.  Since the AFC North was founded in 2002, with the exception of the 2005 Bengals, only the Steelers and Ravens have won the division.  They have both won a Super Bowl this decade.  Ravens Coach Jim Harbaugh is in his first year at the position.  The Steelers’ Mike Tomlin has been at it twice as long, currently coaching in his second year.

If the NFL was a soap opera (and with the likes of T.O., Chad Ocho Cinco, and Pacman Jones in the league, who’s to argue that it isn’t?), the Ravens would be the Steelers’ evil twin.  Nobody knows the Steelers better.  Nobody plays them harder.  No other team has been as much a thorn in the Steelers’ sides as the carrion birds from Baltimore.

From a Steelers fan’s perspective, looking at the Ravens is like looking at the Steelers in a dirty, grungy, distorted mirror.  You don’t like what you see.  You don’t want to admit that what you’re looking at may well be everything you love filtered through a different light.  When you look at the Ravens, from an organizational and team standpoint, you’re just looking at a thugged-out version of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Did the truth of that just make you throw up in your mouth a little?  Me too.

Like them?  No way.

Respect them?

You have to.  Right?

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