Seriously. No bull. This week has been without a doubt the absolutely best by far in the entire season. The anticipation of this game far outweighs anything you can think of for any game, even the previous two matchups between these teams. There is also no question that the next one, regardless of who wins, will be significantly anticlimatic compared to this week. And for all of that, Ravens fans send their heartfelt thanks to the Steelers and their fans.
Seriously, is there any other team that would evoke the pride, loyalty and support of your team in this manner? Perhaps the Cleveland Browns would bring out some of the same feelings, but get real, that ain't happening in anyone's fantasies outside of the "Mistake by the Lake!" No, if this game was the Ravens-Chargers or the Steelers-Titans, it still would not be close to the level of dislike, disgust and hatred that both teams fans are absolutely loving to see. I certainly hope the game lives up to the hype that we've seen here at the Beatdown as well as over at Behind The Steel Curtain. I can't speak for everyone else, but I haven't seen anything like this and that includes the Ravens Super Bowl Championship season of 2000-01. Of course SB Nation and Baltimore Beatdown wasn't around back then, but still.
It doesn't matter who's right (we are) and who's wrong (they are), but the simple fact that we're both in this position while 28 other NFL teams are either checking this back-and-forth out or sitting on their sofas and watching us. Don't even begin to try to tell me that the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals are throwing the smack around like this on their sites! Puh-lease, perhaps if the NFC Championship was between the Eagles and Giants, you might have some similarities, but the Eagles-Cards!? NFW. Perhaps it's just the fact that both teams play similar hard hitting defense or that they are both considered blue collar towns. Better yet, it is more than likely because we play each other twice per season and are very familiar with each other and have battled for the supremacy of the AFC North for years. A lot of the so-called experts have labeled the NFC East or the NFC South the best division in football. Hmmm, I don't see any NFC South teams left in the playoffs and there is only the second place 9-6-1 regular season Eagles left playing. I believe I see two teams from the AFC North in the conference championship game and although this conference is held down by the Browns and Bengals, there is no other conference with two teams like the Ravens and Steelers, who have bruised and battered all the teams that they have played, win or lose (props to the Giants and Colts, who beat us both this season-but where are they now?).
Therefore, to the Steelers and their fans, I say "thank you!" Thanks for reminding me why I love football so much. Thanks for giving me the best possible distraction from the reality of life, the shitty economy, war in Iraq, the screwed up Middle East and the tons of idiots I seem to run into every day out there. I keep telling myself it's just a game, but it consumes my thoughts more than any of the things I just mentioned in the realities of life. However, I love it and just can't wait for the rest of the week and the game itself. Unfortunately, in a couple of weeks we will have what I call the "Void." It is the time between the end of the season and the start of the next one. Luckily we have the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio, as well as the Combine, the Draft and then OTA's and Training Camp.
Until then, we still have four more days until the game and let's continue to throw down the trash talking and other smack, while never fogetting that we have each other to "thank" for all of this!