The Baltimore Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10 on Sunday Night Football and there were many fans who felt the Ravens should have won by a lot more than the three-point final margin. Pittsburgh was down to their backup QB and when the news that starter Ben Roethlisberger would miss the game, the odds-makers switched the point spread from favoring the Steelers by at least a FG to the same in Baltimore's favor.
Although the game was the typical nail-biter, the thought was that the Ravens would shut down the Steelers while pulling away as the game progressed. They didn't and it came down to the last few seconds before the Ravens victory was assured.
However, history could have told you this was a virtual certainty long before the game started. Since Ravens QB Joe Flacco became the Ravens starter in 2008, the first season under head coach John Harbaugh, the two teams have played five times in the regular season at Heinz Field. All five games have been decided by exactly three points. Not two, not four, but exactly three points.
Three of the games have been by the same score, 23-20, one was 17-14 and of course, last night's 13-10 game. The Ravens lost there in 2008 and 2009 but have won the last three on the road, all by that slim margin of just a field goal.
This trend is part of the reason that the Ravens and Steelers are arguably the best current rivalry in the NFL. There are others that have obviously been longer, but none come close to the consistent scores and style of the street-fight that is guaranteed when these two teams step out onto the same playing field, especially in Pittsburgh.
The players names change on the backs of the jerseys, star players miss the game due to injuries, players retire and sign with other teams, but regardless, the outcome hasn't waivered in the past five years. The more things change, the more they stay the same.