Steelers vs. Ravens: Watching these games takes on a life of its own

Justin K. Aller

Anxiety, energy and pure emotion permeates the entire house before watching Steelers/Ravens games mostly in seclusion, writes Neal Coolong

I remember a long time ago hearing Vikings running back Robert Smith talk about the Vikings/Packers games being "just another game."

From a holistic perspective, it makes sense. Each game is important in the NFL, as each season ends with several teams saying "if we had just beaten Team X," and "we missed the playoffs because we lost to Team Y."

It's hard to follow the NFL from a holistic approach, though. Not to suggest Smith was lying, but a game against a team's arch rival is not just another game. Fans are more amped, fights break out more often and adrenaline runs much higher.

There's a reason why the Steelers and Ravens play at least one game a year on prime time. Fans want this game across the country, and the physical and often nailbiting drama goes through four quarters.

I associate Cris Collinsworth's voice with Steelers/Ravens games. I flash back to memories involving Polamalu's forced fumble and James Harrison's general destruction of that team over the years with prime time football, watching it in my living room.

I simply don't trust myself in public during these games. It's not as much a tradition to watch the Steelers/Ravens Sunday Night Football game at home as it is a point of not having to apologize for venom-dripping malice-driven language flowing out of me like demonic possession.

Wanna bet I'm not alone in this description?

Paint peeled off my living room walls after The Gutless Coward gave Heath Miller a cheap shot two years ago. I still refuse to write his name. Fortunately, he's one of the least noticeable players in the league, so I don't have to in order to fulfill my job requirements.

Anxiety is as much a part of my pregame preparation as anything else. Games against the Baltimore Ravens, dating back to immediately after Kris Brown missed four field goals against the defending champions in 2001.

That was the true birth of this rivalry (no, they are not the Cleveland Browns, and in fact, that game officially marked their establishment as a different team, in my opinion).

I'll likely watch this game in the confines of my own home (Pittsburgh Steelers tickets), and my pregame ritual will be based around absorbing the best rivalry in sports for all the emotion, excitement and energy it represents.

It's a pity Robert Smith never admitted to feeling the same kind of way before Packers games.


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