Someone will probably be offended by this article in some way shape or form, but no rivalry in football is better than the gridiron contest that will take place this weekend between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sure, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys rivalry is pretty intense, but it doesn’t possess the same bone-crunching plays and physical play that this newfound rivalry has to be considered the best in the NFL.
Just think of all the memorable games this rivalry has seen since the Ravens came to Baltimore in ’96. Heck, all you have to do is look at last year’s contests and observe the intensity of this rivalry regardless of records and who is playing for the respective franchises personnel wise.
In 2012, the Ravens and Steelers split the season series 1-1 and neither game featured Ben Roethlisberger as the starting quarterback for the Steelers. Baltimore defeated Pittsburgh 13-10 at Heinz Field last year when Byron Leftwich started for the Steelers. Kick return specialist and wide receiver Jacoby Jones‘ punt return for a touchdown and elaborate celebration was not only the game-clinching score, but another crown jewel memory added to this rivalry. The Leftwich touchdown scramble and James Ihedigbo safety blitz and subsequent sack come to mind as well. Then, Charlie Batch (yes, that guy) beat the Ravens 23-20 in Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 2.
This series features a 3-3 Ravens team opposite the hometown 1-4 Steelers this Sunday afternoon, but despite the records, this game will be hard-hitting and plays a significant part on the teams’ momentum the rest of the season. Baltimore can’t afford to go 3-4 into their bye week and if the Steelers go 1-5, they will have tough sledding for any remote chance of a playoff spot. Sure, there isn’t Ray Lewis and Hines Ward suiting up for these teams, but there are still plenty of recognizable faces on both sides to keep this rivalry alive and well.