Things That Require Very Little Effort: Hating the Ravens

The Steelers are 3-0. That’s three wins in three games without Ben Roethlisberger. Troy Polamalu is the most important player on this team and you can’t convince me otherwise.

During the summer, we all offered up pretty much the same first-month-of-the-season qualifications: “If the Steelers can somehow manage to go 2-2, then they’ll be fine once Ben returns from exile, and the playoffs are a very real possibility.”

Well, Pittsburgh accomplished that after Week 2. And as is often the case with fans, we’re a greedy bunch. The Falcons and Titans were tough opponents so to sweep them was, frankly, hard to imagine. And after last week’s Bucs beatdown, the Ravens are now coming to town. The Steelers might be on quarterback No. 4, but we all want 4-0.

Not so much because of the down-the-road playoff implications, but because it’s the Ravens. If, say, the Steelers were playing the Packers Sunday and didn’t face Baltimore for another month, we would certainly want them to win, but we would also settle for 3-1 heading into the bye week and the Return of Ben.

The thing is — and this happens every time these two teams get together — I have no idea what to expect. The Steelers could win by 31 like they did in 2007, they could get absolutely demolished like they did in 2006, or it could end on a controversial touchdown … that was, in fact, a touchdown (quit hatin’, haters — and, yes, I’m 12 years old).

I was talking to my father-in-law about general sports fandom last week. He has worked in the restaurant business since he was like eight and has never followed sports. He found it both mystifying and borderline insane that usually normal people could get so invested in a game that, in the grand scheme of things, has no consequence on their daily existence.

I didn’t even try to explain it because, well, I can’t. No, it isn’t rational for a grown man to yell at his television for three hours on Sundays. But that’s what I do. It’s gotten to the point where my wife takes our three-year-old son to grandma’s house on game days because there’s way too much chaos — the gesticulating, the fist pumps, me shit-talking players who apparently can’t hear me through the TV despite my screaming. I get the sense my dog would like to join her on these field trips. And if it’s unbearable against a Bucs team that has absolutely no history with the Steelers (‘paper champions,’ aside), imagine how absurd it’ll be this Sunday.

Of course, you know this, perhaps better than I do. I mean, seriously, can you imagine going to watch a Steelers game with a bunch of people you didn’t know, many of whom aren’t even football fans?

Hell no.

A sports bar is one thing — nobody shows up at 1PM on Sunday for the karaoke. But when we first started dating, my wife couldn’t comprehend why there was so much yelling and screaming and gnashing of teeth over a football game. Even after three years in Pittsburgh and seven more in DC and now Middle-O-Nowhere NY, I’m still not sure she gets it. Whatever, that’s her cross to bear.

I bring this up for no real reason other than to point out that even though every week is THE MOST IMPORTANT WEEK OF THE NFL SEASON, Ravens Week is even more important than that. It’s the “Animal Farm” of the Steelers schedule — “All games are created equal, but some games are more equal than others.”

And even without its franchise quarterback — and worse — a 35-year-old has-been replacement under center, we expect Pittsburgh to win. (For the record, I do think Chaz is a “has-been.” As I mentioned on SLP #5, I think he’d be the No. 2 anywhere else in the league.) The fact that they’re 5-5 since 2005 is what makes this a rivalry. Well, that and guys like Brian Billick, Bart Scott, Chris McAlister, and now Ray Lewis, Houshyomamma and T-Fizzle. Unlike the sad-sack Browns and the you-can’t-really-hate the Ochocinco Bengals, the Ravens are a loathsome bunch.

That’s why this Sunday will be awesome. But you already knew that.

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  • Cols714

    Yep. I hate it that Ben isn’t playing in this one. One question, how did the Browns run the ball against the Ravens? The Steelers never have any success at this.

    • dennisonschili

      probably surprise more than anything lol. i don’t think most of the ravens knew hillis was on the roster. the ravens d won’t role over like that for the steelers.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan
  • countertorque

    If the Steelers went 2-14 and the 2 wins were against the Ravens, I would get some satisfaction from that.

  • eyespy

    Hating the Ravens is like breathing.

    I’ll know I’m still alive as long as it’s still happening.

  • steeler junky

    I must confess, I don’t hate the Ravens. I just hate to lose to them. Same with Cincy.

  • http://twitter.com/SteelerBill13 Bill Pintsak

    I love playing the Ravens and admit that I do respect that team…..but not only do I want to beat them…I don’t want them to win any games and I really don’t like hearing about how much their defense is ‘feared’….

    • Matt

      I hate the ravens! gah.

      You know what kills me the most? They won a superbowl under billick with trent dilfer. and now i get to see him on tv talking up like he’s a great qb.

      Dilfer was terrible. and for the record, we beat the ravens twice that year. Punks.

      • drinkingclub

        Have the Ravens got the most mileage out of a single super bowl win than any other team? Sure they won one years ago, but what have they done lately?

  • Wildbill99

    When Ben returns we start to lose games. Ben loses games—-period!

    been a great season so far. to bad this is the last week for it, then Ben returns and we have to wonder what he will screw up next. A loss to Cleveland? very likely, if Ben plays.

    • Lol

      Go troll somewhere else.

    • Nonjackass00

      Hey man, you shouldn’t be talking like that about your team. Ben didn’t lose us games last year, the 4th qtr defense did. I guess you forgot that a certain someone is back( Polamalu), and our D is playing lights out. You should be ashamed of yourself when the rest of us real fans are eager for Ben’s return. Oh and by the way Big Ben is 60-26 regular season. 8-2 postseason 2 Superbowls. Not bad for a guy that loses games—-period!

    • Nonjackass00

      Hey man, you shouldn’t be talking like that about your team. Ben didn’t lose us games last year, the 4th qtr defense did. I guess you forgot that a certain someone is back( Polamalu), and our D is playing lights out. You should be ashamed of yourself when the rest of us real fans are eager for Ben’s return. Oh and by the way Big Ben is 60-26 regular season. 8-2 postseason 2 Superbowls. Not bad for a guy that loses games—-period!

      • Wildbill99

        Not talking bad about the team. Talking about how Ben will make us a bad team.

        See you in a few weeks after Ben loses us some games.

        • Anonymous

          You are absolutely correct. Ben loses games. He also wins games. Very few NFL players never lost a game, and those few who always won played in only a few.

    • Hatethisguy

      Big Ben has the most comeback wins in the NFL. the steelers did not lose because of him last year. They lost in spite of him. He had some of the best numbers out there, better accuracy than peyton, most yards in steelers history, on and on. Give me a break. Go away.

      • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

        Just a heads-up, but I edited Hatthisguy’s comments because, well, they were a bit much. Avoid name-calling and it’s all good. Otherwise, Big Brother will censor you.

      • Wildbill99

        See you in a few weeks when Ben loses us some games and drives the morale of the team to an all time low.

        Funny how that guy does that.

        Oh yeah! because he loses games.