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Ratbird Week

Know Thy Enemy: Baltimore Ravens

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If I was from Baltimore, I’d hide my face, too. Who’d honestly enjoy cheering for a team named after a depressed alcoholic?

It’s hard to believe only two months have passed since the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers first met. When last we left the Ratbirds, they were riding high after handing the Black and Gold one of the most embarrassing losses in Steeler history. Through the first month of the season, Baltimore was 3-1 with dominating wins over both participants in last year’s AFC Championship game. Meanwhile, the Steelers were 2-2 and generally playing unimpressive uninspired football.

How quickly things change over the course of an NFL season.

In the past month, the Steelers have gone undefeated. Even more to the point, they’ve played their two best games of the year the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the Ravens went into their bye week anointed by many the odds on favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. And it almost seems like the down time disrupted whatever mojo they had working for them. Following a win over Houston, they put on one of the worst performances you’ll ever see in losing to the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. Last week, miscues in all three phases let Arizona get out to a commanding 21 point lead before the shoddy Cardinals defense allowed the Ratbirds to mount a furious comeback.
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Terrell Suggs Talks Sh*t, Calls Out Hines Ward

I hate Terrell Suggs. I hate him because he’s the perfect embodiment of everything wrong with the Baltimore Ravens. He plays dirty, beats up women and cries when they lose. During the pre-season, he refused to utter the words “Pittsburgh Steelers” in a childish act of defiance after getting owned in the playoffs yet again. He’s cocky, arrogant, and walks around with a self-important swagger despite having never won a damn thing.

I also hate him because he absolutely tortures Steelers.

Granted, our offensive line has made mediocre players look like world-beaters on more than one occasion. However, Suggs has taken it to whole other level. It doesn’t matter who lines up at tackle, it doesn’t matter if they keep a back in to block, T-Sizzle always finds a way to wreak havoc. Loudmouths like Ed Reed and Stabby McStabberson routinely write checks their ass can’t cash. Suggs talks a big game then goes out and plays even bigger.
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Week 1 Recap: Ravens Humiliate Steelers

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Who saw that coming?

The [intlink id=”141″ type=”category”]Baltimore Ravens[/intlink] handed the [intlink id=”21″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers [/intlink]one of the most humiliating defeats in franchise history yesterday afternoon. The final score of 35-7 doesn’t even begin to accurately describe the level of domination the Ratbirds displayed in humbling the defending AFC Champions. This was the team’s first opening day loss since 2003 and their worst opening defeat in 14 years.  The Steelers had seven turnovers, the most in any single game going all the way back to September 24, 1995.

This was the Ravens’ Super Bowl and they played like their season depended on each and every play.  I’m only shocked they didn’t dump Gatorade on their coach when the final whistle blew. Speaking of head coach John Harbaugh, what a shameful display of showboating. Refusing to call off the dogs when the game was comfortably in hand is one thing, fist pumping and acting the fool is absolutely uncalled for. When he dialed up a fake kick/2 point conversion when an extra point would have sufficiently put them ahead by three scores, the message was clear. Then, late in the fourth quarter with the game clearly over, he had Joe Flacco throwing bombs in to the end zone in an obvious effort to run up the score.

I’m not going to complain about that or the thuggish Ravens going after Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor inciting a near brawl in the third quarter (which somehow ended with only Ike getting a penalty although I’m sure the Ginger Dictator will find some way to fine the entire defense).  The word “class” is associated with Baltimore about as often as Justin Beiber is associated with masculinity. The Ratbirds swagger and boast when the Steelers are dominating them, what should we expect when they actually win for once?
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Know Thy Enemy: Baltimore Ravens

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If ever there was a post which writes itself, this would be it.  The [intlink id=”20″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] versus the [intlink id=”141″ type=”category”]Baltimore Ravens[/intlink].  Really, what more needs be said?  It’s the marquee match-up in the NFL.  Two teams, same division, same hard-hitting style of play.  And what’s more, same level of hatred.

I often talk about the differences between the average fan and the average player.  Fans tend to take things a lot more seriously.  To wit, see my bulletin board material post a few entries down.  Fans (and I consider the media to be fans, especially here in Pittsburgh where they’re basically the team’s unofficial PR department) make a big deal about bulletin board material, I doubt most players worry about what Peter Whippersnapper said in some interview on Tuesday when they’re in the heat of battle on Sunday.

But the Ravens and Steelers truly do not like each other. The heat between the two fanbases is more than matched by the intensity on the field.  I’m sure there is a level of mutual respect but there is also definitely a level of mutual animosity.  The two teams are in each others’ heads.  From the moment Hines Ward waltzed off the ballroom floor with the Mirror Ball Trophy, he’s said his focus has been squarely on the Ravens. For their part, the Ratbirds have become so rattled by the Steelers recent domination of them, they’ve now refused to even utter the word “Steelers.”

Buckle up your chinstraps, folks.  It’s time for World War Armageddon.
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Hate Is Strong Between Ravens And Steelers

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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.”
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