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Who is the most hated Steeler in Baltimore?

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

It would not be the best rivalry in the NFL without villains on both teams. Although the teams have shown more respect towards each other in recent seasons, especially since the Bengals have provided them with a common enemy, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers do not like each other. Over the years, fisticuffs on the field and soundbites in he media have intensified the dislike between the players and fanbases.

The Steelers owned the Ravens for much of their history, delivering them multiple morale crushing defeats in the regular season and playoffs. The tide has turned dramatically since 2013, with the Ravens winning four in a row and six of the last seven games in the series, including a playoff victory on the road.

Despite the NFL's attempt to remove violence from the game, the Steelers still attempt to bully and intimidate their opponent on a weekly basis. John Harbaugh's success in getting the Ravens to avoid penalties after the whistle, maintain their composure and focus, while letting their pads do the talking has certainly aided the Ravens cause. Still, with the Week 15 matchup essentially providing a division championship game, fireworks are probable on Christmas day.

So, who is the most hated Steeler in Baltimore?

Hines Ward:

The main agitator in the golden age of the rivalry, Ward was know as a tough, physical receiver who relished the opportunity to make crack back blocks on unsuspecting defensive backs. Quick to jaw with Raven defenders after the whistle, Ward infuriated the Ravens fans with his constant grin. The Ravens defense was finally able to wipe the smile off his face in 2011 when Jarrett Johnson de-cleated him in the first matchup and Ray Lewis knocked him out of the second annual game with another punishing hit.

Joey Porter:

Porter, who now serves as the Steelers outside linebacker coach, was one of the dirtiest players in the league throughout his 13-year career. He saved some of his most questionable attacks for these rivalry games. In 2004, Porter hit Todd Heap with a blatant cheap shot while the Ravens were spiking the ball so that an injured Heap could receive medical attention on the sideline. Also in 2003, while Porter was nursing a gunshot wound and unable to play, he approached the Ravens team bus and challenged Ray Lewis to a fistfight after the game. Porter has not matured much as a coach, as evidenced by his recent instigation of problems with the Bengals.

Troy Polamalu:

Polamalu was generally respected in Baltimore as a classy player who made some of the greatest plays in his career against the Ravens. Polamalu lost much of this respect in 2011, he was clearly frustrated that his team was being blown out by the Ravens and decided to incite a brawl in the third quarter by taking Ray Rice to the ground and fighting him well after the play was over. Steelers fans insistence that he was better than the legendary Ed Reed, the clear cut best safety of all time, adds to the dislike.

Ryan Clark:

Clark was a minor figure in a rivalry with many bigger personalities. He made headlines with comments in the media that disrespected the rivalry between the teams and downplayed the ability of Joe Flacco. Clark also knocked Willis McGahee out cold with a vicious helmet to helmet hit in the 2009 playoffs.

Mike Tomlin:

The head coach of the Steelers often comes off as arrogant in the pre and postgame press conferences surrounding the rivalry games. He angered Ravens fans in 2013 when he crossed over the sideline onto the field to prevent Jacoby Jones from returning a kickoff for a touchdown. His wry smile after the play added to the insult.

Mike Mitchell:

Mitchell is a relatively new addition to the rivalry, but he carries on the tradition of dirty play in the Steelers secondary. Last season, Steve Smith Sr. accused Mitchell of spearing him in the back after a catch and then gloating about the hit as Smith winced in pain. This unnecessary hit caused Smith to miss time with broken ribs. Mitchell has insinuated that he has a bounty on Smith for the upcoming game this Sunday.

{Correction - The original version of this article stated Ray Lewis ended Hines Ward's career with a big hit in 2011. Ward did return to the field in his final season, but was unable to finish either of the games against the Ravens that season.}

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