Sunday, January 11, 2009

Steelers or Ravens? It's oh so easy
Ten years ago, I probably would have sided with the Steelers in a game of this magnitude.

Times have changed.

Art Modell (and his son) are out of power. So is the arrogant Brian Billick, condemned to the fired coaches retirement home (otherwise known as the NFL Network). I don't hate new coach John Harbaugh. I don't yet hate quarterback Joe Flacco.

In fact, of the 53 guys on the Ravens roster, the only one I don't care for is Ray Lewis. Just seeing a purple and black uniform doesn't make me cringe anymore.

A yellow and black one does.

The Steelers have beaten the Browns 11 consecutive times. At the end of most of those games, Pittsburgh players could be seen on the sidelines yucking it up and grinning.

Ben Rothlisberger comes across as super-arrogant. Hines Ward is a great receiver, and acts like he knows it.

But it really boils down to this. The Steelers are Cleveland's closest rival, and they are a much better team than the Browns.

It took me a few years to understand why my father hated Pittsburgh so much. Now, I understand. Like the 70s, the Browns are mediocre at best and the Steelers are always at the top of the league.

It's like watching your chief rival in social studies class always taking the cheerleader to the prom.

I hate the Steelers. I just don't hate the Ravens. I have rarely cheered for them, but in next Sunday's AFC championship game, I'm willing to make an exception.

For one day, I'll be hoping the Ravens win. And I think they will.



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