It’s already a fearsome rivalry. Each year when I am taking a look at the Steelers schedule I think to myself, “well, we have to play so-and-so before the Ravens, and then so-and-so after the Ravens. Boy, that’s going to be a tough stretch.” Or, “such-and-such a team could really sneak up on the Steelers since they’ll be playing the Ravens the week before.” If that’s not the definition of respect, I don’t know what is.
And you know what, I’d bet you $100 that Woodley thinks the same way.
Yeah, these guys get pumped up to play each other, but it’s about the whole picture. To the Steelers, the Ravens present an opportunity beat a division opponent, or lose and quickly have a harder time at winning the division. In simpler terms, it’s a big game every single time they play, and no one on the Steelers takes that lightly. Least of all LaMarr Woodley.
Woodley knows it’s a big game, and he knows the Ravens well. He knows his words will spark fury in the hearts of Ravens fans and in the steroid juiced heart of Mr. Ray Lewis himself.
Bring it on.
You see, Woodley wasn’t just spouting off something ridiculous akin to Rex Ryan guaranteeing a Super Bowl win or John Kitna guaranteeing a 10 win season by the hapless Lions. This the the Steelers we’re talking about. We’ve been to three Super Bowls in the last 5 years. Woodley is right. Most likely, the Ravens will have to go through the Steelers to make it to the Super Bowl. We’re not just talking playoffs here either, to get a better road in the playoffs, it will likely come down to whether the Ravens can beat the Steelers in the regular season as well, and as I recall, they’ve never beaten the Steelers with Big Ben at the helm, and nearly lost with the recently bankrupt Batch behind center.
Ravens fans can bitch and moan all they want about Woodley’s comments, but come on, until you can show me that you can win when it matters, Steelers players and fans are going to keep talking like this, so deal with it.
Personally, this is why I love this rivalry so much. It’s an incredible game won by 3 points or less almost every time they play, and then the fans get to talk so much crap throughout the entire season until the Steelers eventually beat the Ravens in the playoffs. What’s not to love? I’m usually a little less confident when it comes to the Steelers. I usually toe lightly around guaranteeing wins and predictions, and I will try to do that here, but what the hell, its the off season and I’m bored.
History has showed us that Big Ben has the Ravens’ number. Not too much unlike how Tom Brady has had the Steelers number since the Steelers ended their ridiculous win streak in 2004, their first meeting with Big Ben at the helm. I have to suffer through that, and you have to suffer through this. Historically speaking, the Steelers are awesome. They are just simply awesome, and the Ravens…fall short. It’s a great rivalry, but I have to assume that I only like it this much because the Steelers usually have the upper hand.
Until that changes, I’ll remain steadfast in my belief that Woodley will undoubtedly back up his words, and that the refs will blow the GD whistle when Ben gets punched in the face by a Raven. I suppose I should be relieved that it wasn’t Ray Lewis stabbing Big Ben instead. That crazy emeffer is bound to strike again. I imagine that the more times Ben beats up on the Ravens, the farther up Ray’s hit list he moves. Somebody lock that guy up!
I’m not gonna lie, football has been in the background of my mind for the last few weeks. I’ve been touring Europe with a band without internet for much of the trip and have been widely disconnected from the goings on in football (not that there are any). So, when I read the Woodley interview, I was immediately catapulted back in to super-fandom. I love it. I love that he’s out there pumped up to play the Ravens when the season is still months away if we have a season at all. I love that he’s fueling the fire, and I can’t wait to see him back it up in a few short months.
Bring it on.