Like a lot of Steelers fans, I faced a conundrum in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVII between the 49ers and Ravens. Who would I root against more and why?
Was it more important that San Francisco not equal the Steelers in Super Bowl victories, or was it more critical to see the Ravens, Pittsburgh's number one rivals, go down in flames? I honestly didn't know which direction I would go until I sat down in my comfy recliner this past Sunday evening.
They say a person learns a lot about him or herself when put in a difficult situation, and the 47th Super Bowl was a good experiment for yours truly. I discovered just how deep my disdain for the Purple Browns really is.
I wanted the 49ers to whip Baltimore something fierce. I wanted to see Ray Lewis go out a loser. I wanted to see Joe Flacco throw a few picks and fumble in each quarter. I wanted John Harbaugh's brother to have eternal bragging rights.
I thought I was going to get my wish, too. Oh, not early on when Baltimore jumped out to a 28-6 lead early in the third quarter. However, once the 49ers started their comeback, it looked like they weren't going to be denied. After scoring 23 points in the second half to close to within five points at 34-29, San Francisco had the ball inside the Ravens' 10 yard line late in the fourth quarter and four downs to complete the epic comeback.
And it would have been epic, too. I had a blog post practically written in my head. I had planned on stating that Baltimore making it to the biggest stage and blowing the largest lead in Super Bowl history was almost as good as the Steelers winning a seventh Lombardi. I had visions of Mr. Malor, the legendary Baltimore Beatdown contributor, suffering a meltdown so severe, he would have switched allegiances, burned his Ray Lewis jersey and had "Steelersfan4life" tattooed on his left forearm.
I was almost giddy at the thought of the escalation in agony that Baltimore fans were about to suffer over the course of three seasons:
Losing to the Steelers in '10 after blowing a 21-7 second half lead in the divisional round, losing to the Patriots after Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff team up to give away the AFC Championship in '11, and of course, blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history this season.
How sweet it would have been.
Unfortunately, it didn't happen, and the Ravens held on for a 34-31 victory. Steeler Nation can forget about listening to a year of "Hey, we're the top dogs in the AFC North." Now, we have to hear about the Ravens being the top dogs in the entire NFL.
I know Baltimore is in the AFC North, but I get no satisfaction from saying, "Hey, the World Champs reside in the same division as Pittsburgh, and Charlie Batch beat them last year."
You know how some rivals garner respect? Siblings and best friends can be fierce rivals who compete hard against you, but at the end of the day, there's still admiration. I don't feel that way about the Ravens. Baltimore is like that rival who steals your chips when you get up from the poker game to hit the bathroom.
Better yet, the Ravens are like the next door neighbors who have their house assessed and make you take your fence down because, as it turns out, it's two inches over their property line.
I learned a lot about myself this week.
I realized I hate the Ravens so much, I could have lived with San Francisco having the same amount of Super Bowl victories as the Steelers.
Now that's a rivalry.
If you'll excuse me, I have to go call someone to complain about my AFC North neighbors. They've had this shiny, silver looking thing sitting on their lawn since Sunday. I don't want to have to look at that all summer.