Dear Steelers fans,
If you recall, a certain challenge I had with a friend last year resulted in me writing an open letter to all of you after your team dismantled my beloved Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. It was no picnic to write, for the record. I had to eat a lot of crow in that piece, and state publicly that the Steelers were the better organization, had the better current team and were generally cooler in every aspect imaginable.
Now, I do a pretty good job at keeping things in perspective. I realize that the Ravens’ victory last weekend was just the first game of the regular season, and that all it did was ensure that they were ahead of the Steelers in the standings with 15 games left in the season. I get that. I do.
The Ravens did not end your season. There was no enormous collapse by the Steelers like the Ravens had in that awful playoff game. And the Steelers now have that game on tape to study so they can try to make sure that doesn’t happen again when the teams meet later in the season.
That being said, 35-7.
In case that last reference was over your heads, I’ll break it down a little more simply. The Baltimore Ravens players put 35 points on the scoreboard. The Pittsburgh Steelers notched 7. I majored in journalism in college — a field that deals with words more than numbers, admittedly. But my rudimentary math skills tell me that 35 is more than 7. Therefore, I will openly surmise that it was the Ravens that had the upper hand in this particular matchup. And upper leg. And upper torso. And upper ...
But I digress.
Actually, I’m a little worried for you, Steelers fans. I know you all have been saying that this wasn’t a true rivalry because that would require both teams winning their fair share of games when they do battle. That’s a fair point. Even if the games are almost always nail-biting physical affairs that aren’t decided until the closing seconds, it did appear that your quarterback or safety would always make a play that would tilt the game into your favor. I was nervous this past weekend when the Ravens were ahead 21-7 at halftime. I was actually a little nervous still when the score moved to 29-7 early in the third quarter.
But that quarterback never did really make a big play, did he? He just kept dropping back to pass, and he just kept getting hit by our resident bully, Terrell Suggs. Maybe I’m overstating that a little bit. He didn’t get hit by Suggs every time he dropped back. No, sometimes he threw an interception to Ed Reed, instead. For the record, he’s a pretty good safety, too.
Yikes. I almost sounded like I was gloating there, didn’t I? I apologize profusely. That certainly wasn’t my intention. I was just pointing out that I almost felt sorry for you fans. When you got all decked out in your yellow and black that morning you certainly didn’t see this coming, did you?
You were excited to see your beloved Steelers engage in a close game with your hated (oops, almost said “rival”) opponent, and then break the hearts of the Ravens players and fans with a big play at the end of the game to seal the deal. Like taxes and death, you just knew that was inevitable.
But please don’t hang your heads, Steelers fans. There’s nothing wrong with being absolutely humiliated by a foe. It’s a character-building experience for you. On this particular day, the Ravens were just a little bit better than the Steelers. It could have gone either way, really. A big interception here, a few long passes there, and a key penalty being called in another spot could have made the score something like 28-10.
See? Doesn’t that make it all better?
I really do hope you guys can get it back together. It’s fun having a “rivalry” with a team that is in your division and you know in advance the teams will match up at least twice a year. If this recent trend of dominating performances by the Ravens continues, well, this feud will just kind of lose its luster.
Keep your heads up, Steelers fans. You have a proud tradition that you love to talk about every 17 seconds, and it’s good to have a little history on your side. Just ask the Romans.