Perhaps no football cliche is overused more than than the dreaded “Bulletin board material.” The term amuses me for several reasons. First, there is nothing more boring than the canned responses the traditional media frequently receives from athletes. When a player finally steps outside that comfort zone and says something like “I think we’re gonna win,” the reporters gasp at their audaciousness. Then the next day, we see any number of talking heads rant excitedly about said player providing “Bulletin board material” to his opponents.
Which is why the Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry with the [intlink id=”141″ type=”category”]Baltimore Ravens[/intlink] is so refreshing. The teams hate each other and they aren’t shy about it. Terrell Suggs famously showed up to training camp wearing a shirt which proclaimed his hatred of the Steelers. Ray Lewis crowed about the “bounties” collected for taking out certain Steelers, most notably [intlink id=”34″ type=”category”]Hines Ward[/intlink]. More recently, the teams spent the entire off-season sniping at each other in 140 characters or less on Twitter, culminating in [intlink id=”60″ type=”category”]Ryan Clark[/intlink] stating the rivalry “isn’t really a rivalry” until the Ravens actually win a game. An infuriated Baltimore coach Jim Harbaugh angrily responded, “I don’t care what Ryan Clark says about anything.”
This week, [intlink id=”131″ type=”category”]Casey Hampton[/intlink] has continued the war of words by telling the Post-Gazette, “They talk a whole lot. They don’t like us. I think they don’t like us a lot more than we don’t like them. I think they have to talk themselves into it, kind of, know what I mean? Since I’ve been here, we’ve beat them a lot more than they beat us. They have to talk about it a whole lot.”
True ‘dat, Big Snack.
Since Ben Roethlisberger’s arrival in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are 7-5 against the Ratbirds. However, only two of those losses are with Big Ben behind center (both occurring in 2006 when Ben was still hampered by having his brain scrambled in his motorcycle accident). Since then, Ben is a perfect 8-0 against Baltimore including two post-season victories. This leads credence to [intlink id=”70″ type=”category”]LaMarr Woodley[/intlink]’s prophetic vision that the Ravens will never win a championship during his (playing) lifetime because try as they might, they simply can’t beat Ben.