Why is the Steelers/Ravens rivalry so heated? A short working theory I have is this;
1. “Styles make the match.”
Just like in boxing or MMA, the way the combatants go about their business of busting up opponents dictates whether or not you have a bruiser or a snoozer of a battle. Read Mike Tomlins’ words;
“They play ball the way we desire to play ball.”
Both teams, defenses especially, attempt to leave their logo imprinted on their opponents DNA.
2. “Familiarity breeds contempt”
The Ravens became the Ravens in 1996, but they were around a long time before that.
The Ravens are really the Browns which were started and first coached by Paul Brown who coached Chuck Noll who was born in Cleveland and was also the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Colts under Colts head coach Don Shula. The 1968 Colts won the NFL championship by stomping the Cleveland Browns 34-0 in Cleveland, therefore the Ravens are the “Da Vinci Code” equivalent of the bloodlines of the fierce battles that followed including Joe “Turkey” Jones suplexing the blond bomber Terry Bradshaw and Jack Lambert brawling on the sidelines after knocking Browns QB Brian Sipe out of bounds all the way to Ravens DB James Trapp stomping on Plaxico Burress’ head and Joey Porter challenging Ray Lewis to a fight after the game was over.
3. “Ask no quarter, give no quarter.”
Forget the forget-me-not flowers and any apologies at home when you pack your bag for this game. These kind’a games are fun because there’s no need to say “I’m sorry that I just knocked you out. It was an accident.” Both teams know this a donnybrook about to happen.
As the longtime voice as broadcaster and observer of the Pittsburgh Steelers/Baltimore Ravens melees, Bill Hillgrove, who likes to say “It’s a pier-six brawl.” You betch’a.
Read Hines Ward speaking about this game a few years ago;
“The players hate each other … they don’t like us, and we don’t like them … there’s no need to hide it. They know it and we know it.”
Need I say more?