Nov 072011

On Saturday, I got snookered into watching what was laughingly dubbed “The Game of the Century” between Alabama and LSU. The media’s desperate efforts to convince us that sloppy snoozefest was an “instant classic” doesn’t change the fact there were five good offensive plays in the whole thing, four of which were by lineman. The latest chapter in the epic rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers invited comparisons to that game by the blabbering fools in the the booth, which is like comparing a Porsche to a Kia. Last night was a true Game of the Century.

Unfortunately, the Steelers came out on the losing end.

Ninety-two yards. Those three words will live in Steeler infamy alongside Tim McKyer, Joe Nedney and SpyGate. Ninety-two yards. How does the most vaunted defense in the NFL allow a team to drive almost the length of the field in less than two minutes with the game on the line?
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NFL Network Calls Ravens-Steelers Football’s Best Rivalry

 Posted by at 6:02 am  Circle of Hate, Ratbirds, Training Camp, Videos  Comments Off on NFL Network Calls Ravens-Steelers Football’s Best Rivalry
Nov 042011

Those of you who’ve been reading my stuff since my days over at the Site That Shall Not Be Named are no doubt aware of my utter dislike for the Baltimore Ravens. At the same time, you also probably know I consider their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers to be the best in all of sports. The Celtics and Lakers battle for championships but you can count their encounters on one hand. Yankees and Red Sox have a storied history which has been completely dominated by New York. Ditto with the Bruins and the Canadiens.

NFL Network is finally getting with the program. They produced a fantastic NFL Films piece on the Steelers-Ravens rivalry which you can watch by clicking here. I’m sent a bunch of these clips every week and I usually don’t bother pimping them here because most are pretty trite and dull. This one, however, is notable for the on-field audio (Stabby’s whining at 1:12 is classic) and the soundbites from head coaches Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh comes across like a sleazy little prick (which he is). Pretty much the perfect coach for Baltimore. Tomlin, however, is in prime form. His speechifying never fails to crack me up. For the GenXers out there, he is the real-life version of a Damon Wayons character from “In Living Color.” And I don’t mean Homey D. Clown.

“There is immeasurable value when you come out on the victorious side.” Seriously, Mike? You can’t just say, “Winning is awesome?”

Also, if any of you are reading this at Happy Hour, here’s a fun drinking game. Take a shot every time you hear a Tomlinism. Off the top of my head, I caught at least four:

-Iron sharpens iron
-The team that wins imposes their will
-Opportunity to measure yourself
-First team that blinks, loses

Anything I missed?

Sep 122011

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

 Posted by at 6:28 am  Big Ben, Game Preview, Offensive Line, Ratbirds  Comments Off on Know Thy Enemy: Baltimore Ravens
Sep 092011

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

 Posted by at 12:31 pm  Big Ben, Casey Hampton, Hines Ward, LaMarr Woodley, Ratbirds  Comments Off on Hate Is Strong Between Ravens And Steelers
Sep 072011

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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